FROM Eric McGhee
SCOTUS takes up gerrymandering The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to legislative gerrymandering in Wisconsin. The argument is that district boundaries have been drawn by Republicans to give them more seats than they deserve. Eric McGhee, research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, traces the history of gerrymandering and a case that could change common practice going back almost to the beginning of political parties.
Is California's Democratic Party Keeping Up with Voters? California's Democratic Party will convene tomorrow night in Los Angeles to hear speeches and endorse candidates in this year's elections. A majority of the party is black, Latino or Asian and under 54. But their leaders are old, white people. US Senator Dianne Feinstein is 80; Barbara Boxer is 73; Governor Brown is 75; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is 73 and Party Chairman John Burton is 81. We talk about pent up ambition, the super-majority in Sacramento and the rise of the Independent voter.
Gerrymandering and Political Gridlock on Capitol Hill Republicans warned about voter fraud in last year's elections, while Democrats said the big threat to a fair outcome was voter ID. But the real crime was gerrymandering, the re-drawing of Congressional district boundaries so that Republicans got a much bigger majority than they deserved. That's according to a Princeton scientist who wants the task of reapportionment every ten years transferred from state legislatures to independent commissions. Are the Red States of the South less Red than they appear to be? Is gerrymandering the reason Congress can't get anything done?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.