Where is Justin Amash’s Plan for Recreating American Politics?

You don’t beat political partisans—those who place party loyalties above the good of Americans—by abandoning the fight to the partisans. I fear Justin Amash has done just that.

I applaud Amash for denouncing partisanship and calling for political reform. “The two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions,” Amash writes in the Washington Post.

What I do not find in Amash’s article is anything resembling a realistic plan to reform American politics. He writes, “Today, I am declaring my independence and leaving the Republican Party.” Okay, but how will that accomplish anything good?

Continue reading “Where is Justin Amash’s Plan for Recreating American Politics?”

Reasons to Be Skeptical of Colorado’s Red-Flag Bill

I am provisionally for some version of a red-flag law, which allows authorities to temporarily disarm people deemed by a court to be a threat, even if those people are not convicted of a crime. The Colorado legislature currently is considering red-flag legislation.

I say “provisionally” because I am not yet sure that a) red-flag legislation is actually needed to solve the problem at hand or that b) such legislation can be written to meet the requirements of due process of law.

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The Bias against Ascent Classical Academy

Ascent Classical Academy is a proposed charter school within the Boulder Valley School District. The district rejected Ascent’s application on January 22. The Colorado Board of Education will hear and vote on Ascent’s appeal on February 14 (2:00 pm).

Regardless of what one might conclude about the details of Ascent’s application, abundantly obvious is that that certain actors are biased against Ascent because of its ties to conservative Christians. The dispute over Ascent is fundamentally about ideology.

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How to Make Colorado’s Choice for President Not Count

Let’s say that we as Colorado voters support Joe Blow in a future presidential race by 60 percent, and we give Bill Prill only 35 percent of our support (with minor-party candidates picking up the rest). Maybe Joe Blow is a Coloradan and most of us really like him because he speaks to our values.

The obvious approach is to give our electoral college votes to the candidate supported by Colorado voters, right? Wrong, at least sometimes, say many Democratic leaders, including Secretary of State Jena Griswold.

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Will Libertarians Hand the Colorado Senate to the Democrats?

Update, November 10, 2018: Never mind! Democrats crushed Republicans so badly this year that no Libertarian candidate came close to being a “spoiler.” But I anticipate that the Republican Party will do better in the future, so the problem described here remains. In terms of approval voting, I support that regardless of how frequently minor-party candidates “spoil” a race.

By running candidates in several of the most-competitive Colorado Senate races, Libertarians substantially increase the odds of Democrats seizing the reins of state government and passing numerous bills that Libertarians (as well as Republicans) are sure to hate. Continue reading “Will Libertarians Hand the Colorado Senate to the Democrats?”

Why the Discrimination of Y and Z Matters

Colorado ballot measures Y and Z are legally and morally wrong because they blatantly discriminate against members of minor parties by excluding them from proposed redistricting commissions.

I have written about this problem before, but here I want to address more fully the claim that Y and Z are not really (or not substantially) more discriminatory than the status quo. Continue reading “Why the Discrimination of Y and Z Matters”

Overbroad Amendment 74 Could Bring Litigation Catastrophe to Colorado

When I first heard about it, I thought the Colorado ballot measure Amendment 74 was a slam-dunk. That government can reduce or destroy the value of your property by prohibiting you from developing it is profoundly unjust (excepting cases where a property use would violate others’ rights). I would welcome well-crafted reforms to prevent (or at least to require government to compensate) such “regulatory takings.” But the stupidly drafted Amendment 74 is a cure far worse than the disease—if interpreted broadly by the courts, it could spell catastrophe for economic activity and governance in Colorado. Continue reading “Overbroad Amendment 74 Could Bring Litigation Catastrophe to Colorado”

Reflections on the Discriminatory Ballot Measures Y and Z

Amendments Y and Z on the Colorado ballot this Fall seek to end gerrymandering by putting Congressional and legislative redistricting processes in the hands of independent commissions. So far, so good. The problem with the measures is that they discriminate against members of minor parties by totally excluding them from the proposed commissions. Continue reading “Reflections on the Discriminatory Ballot Measures Y and Z”