Politics Ilhan Omar 'Worried About Democratic Backsliding', Suggests Removing 'Racist' Electoral College
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The Texas Republican appeared to be flying to Cancun, Mexico, for a family vacation on Wednesday, while millions of Texans are without heat and water due to severe winter weather. © Greg Nash/Getty Sen, Ted Cruz (R-TX) was criticized Thursday after photos appeared to show him traveling to Mexico during an ongoing winter crisis in Texas. Here, Cruz speaks during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on January 27, 2021.
Democratic Representativeof Minnesota has said that she and many others are worried about "democratic backsliding" in the nation. She added that the nation needs to "remove other relics from our racist history, like the Electoral College and the filibuster" in order to preserve democracy.
Omar made these comments in the opening minutes of a Thursday evening virtual town hall where she addressed constituents through aand livestream.
Ilhan Omar seeks sanctions reform in her new foreign affairs leadership role
As Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. seeks to become a major voice on U.S. foreign policy, she is looking to make sanctions one of her hallmark issues. Earlier this month, Omar, one of the members of “the Squad,” was named vice chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, providing her with a platform to oversee legislation on foreign military deployments, aid and diplomatic policy. On Feb. 11, the same day her position on the subcommittee was announced, Omar joined a group of Democrats who sent a letter advocating President Joe Biden and his administration to broaden their review of existing sanctions on foreign governments.
At the town hall's outset, she mentioned the House's upcoming votes on theJustice and Policing Act, which addresses racial bias in policing, and the For the People Act, a voting access reform bill also known as HR 1.
"In addition to passing HR 1, we also need to remove other relics from our racist history, like the Electoral College and the Senate filibuster," Omar said, "and we continue to advocate for that."
Omar said that the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol made the need for "fundamental reforms to our democracy" especially clear. During the insurrection, supporters of former Presidentrioted to try to stop from certifying President 's Electoral College victory.
"Many of us are worried about the risk of democratic backsliding," Omar said, "and it's going to be really essential for us to try to do everything that we can to make sure that our democracy is sustainable and it can withstand the difficult and challenging times that we are living through."
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The Electoral College was adopted in 1787 as a concession to slave-owning southern states. At the time, slaves were considered three-fifths of a white person. Because southern states had large populations of enslaved Black people, the states generally ended up with large numbers of electoral votes. As a result, southern states became more influential in presidential elections than northern states with smaller Black populations.
Even though slavery has since been abolished, critics say that the Electoral College continues to dilute the power of Black voters. Large concentrations of Black voters in the American South often prefer Democratic presidential candidates, but they're outnumbered by white southern voters who statistically prefer.
Since most states have a "winner takes all" system where the winner of the popular vote receives all of a state's electoral votes, Black southern votes for liberal candidates are effectively rendered void by white people who vote in greater numbers, according to Wilfred Codrington III, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School who has written about the Electoral College's racial underpinnings.
How to fix democracy: Break up the Democratic and Republican parties, experts say
A record number of Americans says the two major parties are doing such a poor job that a third one is needed, polling shows. But the zero-sum, winner-take-all dynamics of U.S. elections makes it nearly impossible for third parties to gain electoral traction, despite survey data that shows fully half of Americans don’t identify with any party and label themselves independents. It also was underscored this past weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference, when former president Donald Trump ruled out creating a third political party to promote his brand of nationalist conservatism.
In the modern era, the Electoral College awarded the presidency to two Republicans who lost the national popular vote:in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016. In 2012, Trump called the Electoral College "a disaster for democracy." In 2019, he said it's "far better for the U.S.A."
Critics of the Electoral College also say that it encourages presidential campaigns to focus on a few states that don't represent the country at large. As a result, two-thirds of Americans live in states where presidential candidates don't campaign, according to FairVote.org, a nonpartisan electoral reform organization.
The filibuster, on the other hand, was effectively created in 1805. At that time, Vice President Aaron Burr revised the Senate rule book and accidentally got rid of a rule allowing a simple majority to cut off debate to force a vote on a bill, according to political scientist Sarah A. Binder.
The filibuster was reformed in 1917. That reform created the modern-day rule requiring two-thirds of the Senate to end debate on a bill and move it to a vote. By the 1920s, southern segregationist politicians began using the filibuster to block all civil rights legislation for Black equality, according to political writer David Litt.
Oregon secretary of state joins nonprofit backing abolition of the Electoral College
Oregon will get a seat at the table for a conversation on how the nation elects presidents, represented by none other than Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, the state's top elections official.Fagan, a Democrat and former state lawmaker, will advise the National Popular Vote, a nonprofit behind a bipartisan movement to amend the U.S. Constitution allowing voters to elect the president through a popular vote.
"Today, the filibuster continues to hold back progress on civil rights," Litt wrote in a 2020 Atlantic article. Litt argues the filibuster gives rural white states with smaller populations disproportionate power over legislation proposed by senators from larger and more diverse states.
Supporters of the filibuster, however, say that it allows the minority party in the Senate additional power to shape legislation. Senators includingand Kyrsten Sinema have voiced their opposition to removing the filibuster.
Newsweek contacted Omar for comment.
Ilhan Omar: 'Really disappointing' that Democrats are sending stimulus checks to fewer people than Trump .
Rep. Ilhan Omar expressed disappointment that Democrats are sending coronavirus stimulus checks to “less people” than former President Donald Trump did. © Provided by Washington Examiner "I see it as a really disappointing development,” the Minnesota Democrat said Friday. “We obviously are now ultimately sending money to less people than the Trump administration.”LIBERALS PRESSURE KAMALA HARRIS TO IGNORE SENATE REFEREE ON MINIMUM WAGE HIKE“And so, ultimately, it is a failure when we compromise ourselves out of delivering on behalf of the American people and keeping our promises," Omar added.