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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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Trump running mate Vance to deliver 'the most important speech' of his career at Republican convention tonight; Alabama group receives grant to boost FAFSA submissions; Bilingual, multicultural staff needed for NJ addiction treatment; Toledo plant to manufacture EVs with federal funding.

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The Republican National Convention connects crime to migration. Kari Lake and delegates from Texas, Florida, and California talk about border issues. Desantis pokes fun at President Biden and Nikki Haley gives the night's big speech.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Expert: America's erosion of democracy has accelerated

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Monday, July 1, 2024   

A political expert known for his research on authoritarian regimes says American democracy is threatened by minority rule, which is enshrined in the U.S. constitution and institutions like the Electoral College.

Harvard University Government Professor Steven Levitsky blamed much of the dysfunction and the erosion of civil discourse on the GOP.

He said he believes some mainstream politicians have set aside a commitment to democracy in order to get ahead and win at any cost.

"There are a lot of sources of dysfunction in U.S. democracy," he said, "but I think the principle threat right now is that one of our two major parties has turned away from democratic rules of the game."

Levitsky argued that parties must accept the results of elections and reject the use of political violence, even as others claim Democrats have also ramped up political rhetoric to match the GOP.

In 2020, New Mexico was one of the seven states involved in a fake elector scheme - an effort to help overturn the election results in favor of Donald Trump.

Experts have said short-term solutions include more investments to safeguard election administration, but are also calling for more long-term fixes such as reforming the way business engages with U.S. politics.

Levitsky said the United States is what he called the most "counter-majoritarian democracy" in the world.

He said it is the only established democracy where partisan minorities can thwart and sometimes even govern over majorities.

He reminded people that despite former President Donald Trump losing the popular vote in 2016, he still became president, and the party that won fewer votes in the Senate gained control.

Levitsky claimed that shows institutions at the highest level are out of whack.

"That president and that Senate went on to appoint and confirm three Supreme Court justices which means that if we were like other established democracies, and the parties that one the most votes won the most power, we'd have a 6-3 liberal majority on the Supreme Court today," he said. "That is how out of whack our institutions are."

More than 80% of Americans feel elected officials are out of touch with their needs and wants, according to the Pew Research Center. Only 4% of Americans think the country's political system is working extremely or very well.

And, about a quarter hold unfavorable views of both former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.

Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.




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