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Category Archives: Libertarian

Amash decides against Libertarian campaign for president | TheHill – The Hill

Posted: May 19, 2020 at 5:53 pm

Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashThe Hill's Campaign Report: DOJ, intel to be major issues in 2020 Amash decides against Libertarian campaign for president The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - In reversal, Trump says he won't disband coronavirus task force MORE (L-Mich.) announced Saturday he will not run for president as a Libertarian, saying the circumstances do not lend themselves toward a successful third-party campaign.

Ive spent nearly three weeks assessing the race, appearing in media, talking to delegates and donors, watching the Libertarian Partys convention plan unfold, and gathering feedback from family, friends, and other advisers, Amash tweeted. After much reflection, Ive concluded that circumstances dont lend themselves to my success as a candidate for president this year, and therefore I will not be a candidate.

After much reflection, Ive concluded that circumstances dont lend themselves to my success as a candidate for president this year, and therefore I will not be a candidate.

Amash maintained that a third-party candidate could contribute a fresh outlook on politics for American voters, but said the intensely partisan atmosphere surrounding the 2020 race would hinder a successful Libertarian campaign.

I continue to believe that a candidate from outside the old parties, offering a vision of government grounded in liberty and equality, can break through in the right environment. But this environment presents extraordinary challenges, Amash said. Polarization is near an all-time high. Electoral success requires an audience willing to consider alternatives, but both social media and traditional media are dominated by voices strongly averse to the political risks posed by a viable third candidate.

Amash teased a third-party campaign late last month when he launched an exploratory committee to seek the Libertarian Partys presidential nomination. The Michigan lawmaker, who formerly belonged to the Republican Party, had been toying for months with the prospect of launching a third-party White House bid.

Known as a conservative with an independent streak, Amash began souring on the GOP after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump slams Fox after hydroxychloroquine warning: 'Looking for a new outlet' Trump threatens permanent freeze on WHO funding without 'major' reforms within 30 days Schumer: Trump's statements on hydroxychloroquine 'is reckless, reckless, reckless' MOREs inauguration, accusing the party of abandoning fiscal conservatism and turning a blind eye to misbehavior to appease the president.

His national profile steadily rose with his increasingly vocal barbs against the president and some of his House colleagues, which came to a head when he said hewould back Democratsin their impeachment effort and formally left the Republican Party.

This president will be in power for only a short time, but excusing his misbehavior will forever tarnish your name. To my Republican colleagues: Step outside your media and social bubble. History will not look kindly on disingenuous, frivolous, and false defenses of this man, Amash said before supporting the Houses impeachment resolution in October.

If he had run, Amash easily would have been the highest-profile third-party candidate in the race, with no candidate thus far this cycleenjoying the name recognition of the Green Partys Jill Stein or the Libertarian Partys Gary JohnsonGary Earl JohnsonAmash decides against Libertarian campaign for president The Hill's Campaign Report: Amash moves toward Libertarian presidential bid Amash launches exploratory committee for Libertarian presidential run MORE in 2016.

Amash expressed concerns over the Libertarian Partys organizational footing in the 2020 race, citing struggles to get on the ballot in all 50 states in November and unity around an ultimate nominee. However, he said he was optimistic about Libertarian candidates chances down the ballot and said he will help the party make electoral gains.

Ive been speaking directly to delegates about this opportunity for only a short time, but these conversations have solidified my belief that the Libertarian Party is well positioned to become a major and consistent contender to win elections at all levels of government, he said. I remain invested in helping the party realize these possibilities and look forward to the successes ahead.

Amashs decision frees him up to focus on reelection in his Michigan House district, which the GOP is eager to flip. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates Amashs seat as Lean Republican.

Updated at 2:36 p.m.

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Libertarian Group Sues Ohio Again On Behalf Of Closed Gyms – WOSU

Posted: May 14, 2020 at 5:33 pm

A group of 35 independent gyms and fitness centers is suing the state, saying they could reopen for business safely but theyre not being allowed to.

In a May 11 filing with the Lake County Court of Common Please, attorney Maurice Thompson argued that gyms "pose a significantly lower risk of harmful infections than nearly any alternative operation."

He said the gyms maintain private memberships, control who can come in and often operate by appointment. He added that, while "nearly 100% of deaths" from COVID-19 are people over 60, the same percentage of his clients' customers are under that age.

Thompson argued these gyms should never have been closed because they could have been operating safely all along.

"In prohibiting healthy behavior through exercise at Ohio gyms, Defendants continue to obstruct rather than advance Ohioans health, all the while having continuously overinflated the risk of harm to the general public," the complaint reads.

The lawsuit names Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton and the Lake County General Health District as defendants.

Thompsons libertarian 1851 Center for Constitutional Lawfiled an earlier suit for a Columbus bridal shopclaiming it was unfairly shut down as a non-essential business. Thompson lost that case, but says this one is even stronger because the original stay-at-home order has changed.

The newStay Safe Ohio order, in basically opening80% of the economyand leaving gyms out, is much more arbitrary and much more unequal," Thompson says.

Asked about the lawsuit, Gov. Mike DeWine said he gets "sued a lot." On Thursday, the governor announced that gyms and fitness centers would be able to reopen May 26, with new guidelines developed by a state working group.

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Libertarian Group Sues Ohio Again On Behalf Of Closed Gyms - WOSU

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The Libertarian Party Critique of Justin Amash – Reason

Posted: at 5:33 pm

With less than two weeks left before 1,000 or so Libertarian Party delegates select their 2020 presidential and vice presidential nominees in an unprecedented online-only vote, you could probably forgive Jacob Hornberger for being a little irritable.

Hornberger, the 70-year-old founder of the Future of Freedom Foundation, has, after all, won a clear majority of the party's presidential primaries and caucuses, nonbinding though they may be. He has been in and out and back in Libertarian politics for more than two decades now. And yet ever since Rep. Justin Amash (LMich.) threw his hat into the ring on April 28, Hornberger has been all but ignored by the mainstream media, while Amash galivants on cable news networks and HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher.

So it came as little surprise Saturday night that when the formerly Republican and independent congressman participated in his first Libertarian presidential debate, it was Hornbergerauthor of an eight-part blog series titled, "Justin Amash, LP Interloper"who came out swinging hardest.

"Even the libertarian-leaning conservative members of Congress have websites that direct children to the website of the CIAthe most evil agency in U.S. history," Hornberger charged in his opening statement, reiterating his critique of a student resource page at "Conservatives love free enterprise, but have long supported the evil, immoral, socialist, central-planning, Republican/Democratic system of immigration controls, which has brought death and suffering to countless people, as well as a brutal police state consisting of highway checkpoints and other initiations of force against innocent people."

Running as he is a "campaign of principle for the party of principle," in a cycle where many Libertarians seem particularly eager to shed their image as a refuge for ideologically alienated and/or politically opportunistic ex-Republicans, Hornberger portrayed Amash as someone merely tinkering around the edges of the welfare/warfare state.

"Conservatives love to 'reform,'" he said. "But reform of tyranny is not freedom. Freedom is a dismantling of tyranny.In this election Libertarian Party members are asked to trade away our principles for a conservative/progressive/libertarian mush, all for the sake of big publicity and the hopes of garnering votes. If we make that trade, we become like them. We become conservatives and progressives. We become the party of expediency."

Those who assume Amash will waltz to a first-ballot nomination over Memorial Day weekend should take a look at the Libertarian Party of Kentucky's post-debate voting exercise among one-quarter of confirmed L.P. convention delegates. In the first round of polling, Amash received just 33.3 percent of the vote, compared to runner-up Hornberger's 21 percent. (The party requires winning candidates to earn 50 percent plus one vote, using an instant runoff process in which the last-place finisher in each round, and everyone under 5 percent, gets lopped off for the next.)

Amash eventually won the informal vote, but it took him six rounds. Here's how the totals went, as reported:

Round 1: Amash 33.3 percent, Hornberger 21 percent, Jo Jorgensen 16.6 percent, Vermin Supreme 7.7 percent, Judge Jim Gray 6.6 percent, Adam Kokesh 6.2 percent, John Monds 5 percent, Arvin Vohra 1.5 percent.

Round 2: Amash 35.1 percent, Hornberger 23.3 percent, Jorgensen 18.5 percent, Supreme 9.3 percent, Kokesh 7.7 percent, Gray 7 percent.

Round 3: Amash 37.3 percent, Hornberger 22.4 percent, Jorgensen 21.6 percent, Supreme 10.1 percent, Kokesh 8.6 percent.

Round 4: Amash 39.3 percent, Jorgensen 24.8 percent, Hornberger 22.9 percent, Supreme 13 percent.

Round 5: Amash 43.8 percent, Jorgensen 30.5 percent, Hornberger 25.7 percent.

Round 6: Amash 55.6 percent, Jorgensen 44.4 percent.

Jorgensen, the 1996 Libertarian vice presidential nominee who caught Hornberger from behind in Round 4 and eventually elbowed him out, is campaigning in a sort of third lane between the no-holds-barred radicalism of Hornberger and anarchist Adam Kokesh, and the more pragmatic approach favored by Amash and Judge Jim Gray. "I'm offering something that's principled and practical," she said in her closing statement Saturday night.

Jorgensen was the only other debate participant to significantly challenge Amash, albeit in a much less abrasive way than Hornberger (who said that he could not commit to endorsing the congressman should he win the nomination). In her opening statement, she asked Amash a series of questions, most of which he didn't address.

"Would you use your authority as commander-in-chief to end our involvement in foreign wars, stop subsidizing the defense of wealthy allies, and bring our troops home? I will," Jorgensen said. "Would youuse your pardon power to free people convicted of exposing government corruption, violating unconstitutional laws, or committing so-called crimes when there's no victim? I will. Would you immediately stop construction on President Trump's border wall boondoggle, and work to eliminate quotas on immigration so that anyone who wishes to come to America could do so legally? I will. And last, where do you stand on one of the most divisive issues in America: abortion? Do you support the Libertarian Party platform? I do. It's not enough to be better than Trump or Biden. Our nominee must be deeply principled with a long commitment to our party."

Amash did address abortion in the debate, saying at first: "I'm pro-life. I believe that the pro-life position is a Libertarian position, and my goal is to work outside of the Libertarian Party to convince people of that. I work with pregnancy resource centers, for example, here in West Michigan, to try to get the message out and spread the message about life. I don't think that the government is most effective at doing that sort of thing. As a president, the Libertarian Party supports the idea of not funding abortion providers. So, the Libertarian Party is aligned with my position on that."

Hornberger then grilled the congressman further:

Hornberger: You of course pride yourself on being a strict constitutionalist, a supporter of the Constitution. And you supported a bill that calledI think it was in the past couple of yearsthat called for a nationwide criminal ban on abortion, in which people who were caught engaging in an abortion would be convicted of a federal felony involving a five-year jail sentence. Can you tell me where in the Constitution you rely on to support this federal felony offense for abortion?

Amash: So I'm not sure about the particular bill you're referencing, because it was in the past and I don't know exactly which bill

Hornberger: It's House bill 36.

Amash: But I can answer the question. The 14th Amendment provides the power to have the federal government address state violations of people's rights. And as someone who's pro-life, I believe that a baby inside the womb is a life. And if I believe that that person is a life, then I think it's appropriate for the federal government to tell states that it is not okay to discriminate against these lives.

Now, as a presidential candidate, as a presidential nominee, I won't be making the legislation; the legislature will decide that. Congress decides on the legislation and sends things to my desk. With the parties very divided over this issue, nothing's going to come to my desk that does that.

That's my view of it, and when I'm voting in Congress, that's how I would vote. But as a presidential candidate, with respect to people who are concerned within the party because there is a split within the party between pro-life people and pro-choice people, the president will have very little opportunity for that kind of thing, because there is a huge divide within the party. So the only thing that is likely to come to my desk as president is a bill to not fund abortion providers, no federal funding for abortion providers, and that is something that all Libertarians within the party agree on. At least, the vast majority of them agree on that.

Hornberger's most influential backers, at the Libertarian Party Mises Caucus and on the podcasting airwaves, have dinged Amash for backing the "Deep State" in the impeachment of President Donald Trump (despite Amash's lead role in nearly de-funding the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance operations back in 2013), and for potentially being another in a lengthening line of ex-Republicans who fail to ignite a lasting ideological fire.

"I even think that in some scenarios 1 percent might be better than 4 percent," libertarian comedian Dave Smith said to Hornberger on an episode of his Part of the Problem podcast last month. "I think those votes are worthless if you didn't actually convert people or introduce them to liberty or change their way of looking at the world at all."

Or as Ludwig von Mises Institute senior fellow and popular podcaster Tom Woods, with whom Smith taped an Amash-criticizing podcast last week, said at a Mises Caucus-sponsored event down the street from the 2018 Libertarian National Convention: "So yeah, we won't get the 70 million votes, but maybe we get 1 million people who say, 'I never looked at the world the same way again after I listened to those people.'"

Amash's answer to the broad critique is to remind people that most Americans are not self-identified libertarians, no matter how intrinsically libertarian they may be without knowing it, and that political actors wishing to have any kind of influence need to acknowledge the fallen world around them.

"I've been a libertarian my entire life, a small-l libertarian," Amash said Saturday. "And I believe that when you work within government, you have to make those changes that will convince people to come to your side.You have to present libertarianism to them with the issues that they care about or are concerned about right now. It can't be some kind of overnight experiment where we re-work all of society or re-work all of our government."

"In fact," Amash continued, "that's arrogance in the form of central planning of another sort, to come in and say, 'We're just going to throw out everything we have overnight and start anew.' We have to do things gradually and carefully, and we have to trust the people to make decisions through our constitutional system of government."

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Third Parties Unlikely to Wreak Havoc in 2020 Election – New York Magazine

Posted: at 5:33 pm

Justin Amash may not have that big an effect on the presidential contest after all. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

Its a vast understatement to say that the 2020 presidential contest is being haunted by what happened in 2016. For one thing, it helps explain the widespread belief that Donald Trump will win despite considerable evidence inimical to his cause, whether that belief is based on mistrust of polls, or observation of the enthusiasm of his base, or the suspicion that he sold his soul to the Infernal Lord Satan in exchange for earthly power.

There is one particular element of the 2016 experience, however, that may be less compelling than others looking ahead to November: the strength of minor political parties, which had a boffo year last time around. As I noted recently, there are multiple reasons for expecting a considerably diminished showing by the Greens, the Libertarians, and other minor parties in November, ranging from less-well-known presidential candidates to the impact of the coronavirus on ballot access in states where numerous petitions must be gathered. Justin Amashs recently announced Libertarian candidacy could boost that partys vote a bit, particularly in his home state of Michigan. But as Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman argue in a new analysis at Larry Sabatos Crystal Ball, theres another big reason we can expect minor-party voting to decline: The major parties are significantly more united than they were in 2016:

[T]he top election on this list [of strong third-party performances] 1912 is the cleanest example of a divided party leading to the rise of a big third party vote. Theodore Roosevelt, upset with the performance of his Republican successor, William Howard Taft, tried to win the GOP nomination. He was rebuffed, so he created his own party and ran for president. The Republican vote splintered, and Democrat Woodrow Wilson won the presidency easily despite getting only 42% of the vote.

But we can also see this phenomenon in some of these other elections.

George Wallace, the conservative, segregationist Democrat who ran third party in 1968, ran strongest in the South, the conservative region that had once formed the backbone of the Democratic Party but was in the midst of breaking away from its ancestral party over the partys leftward evolution on civil rights and other issues. This process did not happen overnight: The presidential candidacy of Strom Thurmond two decades prior, in 1948, also represented a backlash spasm by southern conservatives against the growing liberalism of the Democrats.

Indeed, some of the biggest third-party showings preceded major-party splits or transitions, including Wallaces (four years later the once-solid Democratic South had become solidly Republican in voting to reelect Richard Nixon). And there was quite a bit of noisy intraparty opposition to both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton four years ago. In the current race, that has mostly subsided:

Donald Trump had only nominal opposition in the Republican primary, and he dispatched that opposition with impressive ease. After early stumbles, Joe Biden effectively knocked out his rivals over the course of a few weeks in March. While there is a portion of the left that is supportive of Bernie Sanders and highly skeptical of Biden how seriously someone is taking Tara Reades sexual assault allegation against Biden is a good test of Biden skepticism on the left Biden and Sanders themselves seem to get along well, and Biden performing better head-to-head against Sanders than Clinton did suggests more acceptance of his nomination among Democrats.

This naturally removes some of the oxygen for third party candidates, and the lack of major intraparty strife makes this election, to us, more reminiscent of 2004 and 2012, when George W. Bush and Barack Obama won second terms in competitive elections that featured very low levels of third party voting. Indeed, in 2012, Florida was the only state were neither major party candidate took a majority of the vote by 2016, there were 14 states where both major candidates polled under 50%.

Theres another factor that may strengthen party unity while discouraging protest votes. Just about everyone expects a close election, and those who thought Clinton had it in the bag in 2016 and voted third-party (or stayed home) may be particularly immune to minor-party siren songs. The above-mentioned Democrats who are still shocked by what happened four years ago may put on the party harness and never even consider taking it off:

This time, even though Trump generally trails nationally and in at least some of the most important swing states, he still is favored by betting markets, and he usually does better in polls asking people who they believe will win as opposed to those that ask who voters are supporting. Democrats, burned by expectations in 2016, likely will remain guarded no matter what the polls say.

Theres a lot of uncertainty going into this election, much of it associated with how little we know about the trajectory of the coronavirus, the economic damage it has wrought, and how COVID-19 will affect voter turnout. But the odds are higher than ever that any swing vote late in the game will be oscillating between the Donkey and Elephant brands.

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Third Parties Unlikely to Wreak Havoc in 2020 Election - New York Magazine

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Modest meat reforms would help Americans stay fed during the pandemic – The Maine Wire

Posted: at 5:33 pm

Recent stories of farmers euthanizing livestock and dumping milk have startled many Americans, particularly those of us attempting to weather the economic shutdown by staggering trips to the grocery store every two weeks, or longer. These troubling stories are leaving many to wonder about the state of Americas food supply chains.

Arising from the displacement of food supplied to large-scale distributors such as restaurants, hotels, and schools, which have been forced to close or restrict operations during the pandemic, this supply chain is separate and distinct from food stocked by grocery stores and supplied directly to the consumer.

Although we are already seeing the effects of the government-ordered shutdowns ripple throughout the economy, there are some reforms in the short-term that can help both producers and consumers of local meat.

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (ME-01), a long-time organic farmer and liberal Democrat, is pairing up with Congressman Thomas Massie (KY-04), a libertarian-leaning Republican who built his own in-ground greenhouse on his off-the-grid homestead in northeast Kentucky. The unlikely bipartisan duo both raise cattle and have ongoing concerns about the nations meat supply, even before the economic shutdown threw it off the rails.

Massie and Pingree, along with Democrats from California, Republicans from the Deep South, and Congresss lone Libertarian, are sponsoring the PRIME Act to allow states to relax their rules on the transfer of custom-slaughtered meat within their borders. This is the third Congress in which Massie and Pingree have submitted the bill, and they are hopeful that this crisis will help many other members of Congress finally see its value.

Currently, some custom-slaughtered meat must follow federal meat packaging rules, requiring it to travel through a USDA-inspected facility. Only those cuts for farmers and ranchers personal, household, guest, and employee use are exempt from this requirement. The PRIME Act would broaden this exemption to allow slaughterhouses to serve consumers directly, as well as establishments that prepare food for the public, as long as each party follows state law.

The press release from the Pingree and Massie offices describes the problem:

in order to sell individual cuts of locally-raised meats to consumers, farmers and ranchers must first send their animals to one of a limited number of USDA-inspected slaughterhouses. These slaughterhouses are sometimes hundreds of miles away, which adds substantial transportation cost, and also increases the chance that meat raised locally will be co-mingled with industrially-produced meat.

At the state level, Amanda Beal, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DACF) recently sent a letter to the head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Program, requesting the department waive federal rules on the transfer of meat over state borders if it has passed a state inspection.

In her letter, Commissioner Beal describes how this will help consumers and food pantries acquire locally-inspected meat during the shutdown imposed over the spread of COVID-19:

Allowing state-inspected meat to temporarily cross state lines will greatly support regional market expansion opportunities, smooth out bottlenecks in the local food chain, reduce the need to cull healthy livestock and poultry, and support our food-insecure during this extremely difficult time.

Making these two changes at the federal level, one to give states more leeway, and one to promote interstate commerce by relaxing federal rules, would help consumers better acquire locally-raised meat, no matter from which state it comes. While Commissioner Beal is calling for the USDA to temporarily waive inspection requirements, there would be little justification for reapplying this restriction on the food supply in whatever the post-pandemic days look like.

I have written previously on the difficult situations in which farmers may find themselves when onerous government regulations run up against real life. Unruly food rules harm not only farmers, but consumers as well.

Americans, today more than ever, need assurances that they will have access to nutritious food. The two modest reforms mentioned here can do much to provide those assurances, and give broader access to locally raised meats for people across the nation. It could also help farmers close gaps in their own faltering supply chains, enabling them to sell more of their products directly to the people.

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Modest meat reforms would help Americans stay fed during the pandemic - The Maine Wire

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Senate votes to reauthorize intel programs with added legal protections | TheHill – The Hill

Posted: at 5:33 pm

The Senate on Thursday passed legislation reauthorizing three intelligence programs that lapsed earlier this year amid a GOP stalemate.

Senators voted 80-16on the bill, which pairs the reauthorization of the USA Freedom Act provisions with some changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also known as the FISA court.

The Senate changed the bill, which originally passed the House in March,as part of a two-day floor debate. Senators addedmore legal protections for some individuals targeted by the court.

The proposal, which was spearheaded by Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeIn win for privacy hawks, Senate adds more legal protections to FISA bill Trump looms as wild card in Senate surveillance fight This week: Senate juggles coronavirus with surveillance fight MORE (R-Utah) and Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyIn win for privacy hawks, Senate adds more legal protections to FISA bill Lawmakers look for ways to add to annual spending bills Trump looms as wild card in Senate surveillance fight MORE (D-Vt.), would increase the role of outside legal experts in FISA court hearings, including allowing them to weigh in on some FBI surveillance requests.

Because the Senate changed the bill, it will now have to be sent back to the House, which is expected to return on Friday. House Democratic leadership has not said if or when they will take up the amended bill.

It also remains unclear if President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Judiciary chairman hints at subpoenaing Barr Florida election supervisors urge DeSantis to 'act immediately' to make voting safe amid pandemic Paul claims Biden 'caught red-handed' eavesdropping on Flynn MOREwould sign the bill should it reach his desk. The president has railed about his campaign being spied upon and has sent mixed signals to lawmakers about if he supports the legislation.

Some supporters of the original House bill warned that letting the Senate make changes could open up the door to progressives and libertarian-minded Republicans in the House trying to reopen negotiations on the bill once it returns to the lower chamber.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate GOP to press for Biden, other ex-Obama officials to testify on Flynn Buttigieg PAC rolls out slate of endorsements The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The American Investment Council - Pelosi touts T bill as Fauci stresses go-slow openings MORE (R-S.C.) said that while Lee had some good ideas, sending the bill back to the House could shut things down on reauthorizing the intelligence programs.

I want to promise Sen. Lee and everybody else, this will not be the last word on FISA reform, he said.

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneIn win for privacy hawks, Senate adds more legal protections to FISA bill Trump looms as wild card in Senate surveillance fight Senate GOP crafting wishlist for next coronavirus package MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, added that it was the preference of leadership to pass the House bill without changes.

"I think the leader's position is that it's much simpler to pick up the House passedbill, pass it, send it to the president," Thune said.

The House bill would reauthorize two expired programs: One dealing with lone wolf suspects who are not tied to any known terrorist organization and another on roving wiretaps that allow the federal government to track a suspect across multiple devices.

The House bill also reauthorizes Section 215, which allows the government to request tangible things such as documents relevant to a national security investigation, but makes changes, including ending a controversial phone surveillance program.

And it also makes some changes to the FISA process, including requiring the attorney general to sign off on applications tied to an elected official.

While senators agreed to add the Lee-Leahy bill, they also rejected two other amendments: one from Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPaul claims Biden 'caught red-handed' eavesdropping on Flynn Overnight Health Care: Ousted Trump official will warn of 'unprecedented illness and fatalities' | Experts tell coronavirus panel that more testing needed to reopen US | Pelosi pushes to unite party on coronavirus bill despite grumbling from left In win for privacy hawks, Senate adds more legal protections to FISA bill MORE (R-Ky.) preventing FISA warrants from being used against Americans and one from Sens.Steve Daines(R-Mont.) andRon Wyden(D-Ore.) preventing law enforcement from obtaining internet browsing and search history without a warrant.

The Senates vote comes amid growing concerns about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) after Inspector General Michael Horowitzfound 17 inaccuracies and omissions in the warrant applications related to Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

An interim report on a broader FISA review that looked at 29 applications found issues with each of them.

The House has to pull its initial bill from a scheduled vote in the Judiciary Committee over pushback from progressives and libertarian-minded GOP lawmakers that it did not go far enough to address privacy concerns or legal protections for those targeted by the court.

Fourteen Democrats voted against the bill:Sens. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinPoll: Biden leads Trump by 3 points in Wisconsin Senate Democrat presses meat processors on worker protections Five factors to watch in the meat supply chain crisis MORE (Wis.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn The Money: Unemployment rate spikes to 14.7 percent as 20.5 million lose jobs | Trump, White House pumps brakes on next relief bill | Senate GOP resistant to new round of stimulus checks An evidence-based response to rising child poverty reform and expand the Child Tax Credit Hillicon Valley: Uber to lay off thousands of employees | Facebook content moderation board announces members | Lawmakers introduce bill to cut down online child exploitation MORE (Ohio), Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellWe can't afford to let local news die Key Republican senators to introduce coronavirus-related data privacy legislation GOP, Democratic senators call for more assistance to local media in coronavirus stimulus MORE (Wash.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinObama criticism gets under GOP's skin Senate Judiciary Committee calls for national safety guidelines amid liability hearing Bipartisan senators seek funding for pork producers forced to euthanize livestock MORE (Ill.), Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichBottom line GOP sounds alarm bell over coronavirus-fueled debt Free-flowing rivers help ecosystems, wildlife, people and the economy MORE (N.M.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoHillicon Valley: Experts raise security concerns about online voting | Musk finds supporter in Trump | Officials warn that Chinese hackers targeting COVID-19 research groups Democrats introduce legislation to ensure internet access for college students Esper escalates war of words with Warren, Democratic senators MORE (Hawaii), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOvernight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil Trump administration to buy 1 million barrels of oil for national stockpile Democratic bill would require cash refunds for all canceled airline tickets during pandemic MORE (Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil Trump administration to buy 1 million barrels of oil for national stockpile Hillicon Valley: Uber to lay off thousands of employees | Facebook content moderation board announces members | Lawmakers introduce bill to cut down online child exploitation MORE (Ore.), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Zeldin says Congress must help states; Fauci's warning; Dems unveil T bill The Hill's 12:30 Report: Fauci testifies, discusses students returning in August GOP senator: US 'not as prepared as we should have been' on coronavirus MORE (Wash.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzCoronavirus drives record number of complaints to consumer bureau More than 70 lawmakers join suit challenging Trump power plant rollbacks Trump says he will sign executive order temporarily suspending immigration into US MORE (Hawaii), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSenators request emergency funding for postal service in next coronavirus bill On The Money: Black workers may face disproportionate COVID-19 risk | Trump pick for pandemic response watchdog vows independence | Stocks inch higher as oil prices rise Trump pick for pandemic response watchdog pledges independence amid Democratic skepticism MORE (Mont), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior sued over temporary appointments of top officials | Watchdog to probe why tribal stimulus was steered to corporations | EPA's independent science board, critics push for stronger lead rule Interior watchdog to probe why tribal stimulus was steered to corporations Democratic senators demand answers on US involvement in foiled Venezuela plot MORE (N.M.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenIt's time to invest in America's future Democratic bill would require cash refunds for all canceled airline tickets during pandemic The Memo: Fauci at odds with Trump on virus MORE (Mass.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenIn win for privacy hawks, Senate adds more legal protections to FISA bill Trump looms as wild card in Senate surveillance fight Experts sound alarms about security as states eye online voting MORE (Ore.). On the GOP side, Paul and Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrFBI serves search warrant on Sen. Richard Burr amid stock trading controversy: report Our privacy is on the clock Burr's brother-in-law sold stock on same day as senator in lead-up to crisis MORE (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, voted against the bill.

Paul railed against the bill from theSenatefloor ahead of Thursdays vote.

The Patriot Act, in the end, is not patriotic. The Patriot Act makes an unholy and unconstitutional exchange of liberty for a false sense of security. And I, for one, will oppose its reauthorization, he said, referring to the post-9/11 bill that predated the USA Freedom Act.


Senate votes to reauthorize intel programs with added legal protections | TheHill - The Hill

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Drop off or in person, 8 p.m. is deadline to cast your vote in the primary election – North Platte Telegraph

Posted: at 5:33 pm

Whether theyre voting live or by mail-in ballot, Lincoln Countys registered voters have until 8 p.m. this primary election day to make sure their voices are heard.

If youre among the record 9,278 county voters who had ballots mailed to you due to the COVID-19 outbreak, your best bet is to drop off your ballots in the secure dropbox in the Sheriffs Office parking lot at 302 N. Jeffers St.

West central Nebraska counties in the Central Time Zone have from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to vote live or turn in mail-in ballots. Mountain Time counties will vote from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Lincoln County Clerk Becky Rossell says ballots physically mailed in must be in her offices possession by the deadline to count, even if theyre postmarked on or before Election Day.

No postage is required to use the county dropbox, Rossell said.

In-person primary voting in North Platte will take place at the D&N Event Center, 501 E. Walker Road, or the Berean Church, 202 W. Eighth St.

Precincts outside North Plattes city limits will vote at their usual locations, except for Hall, which will vote at the Berean Church.

Masks will be available for in-person voters who dont have them. Polling workers will wear personal protective equipment, Rossell said.

In North Platte, voters will make their first choice for mayor from among City Councilman Andrew Lee, former Councilman Larry Lee Britton, businessman and homebuilder Lonnie Parsons, Great Plains Health executive Brandon Kelliher and retired business leader John Hales.

The sixth listed candidate, Dave Vigil, withdrew from the race in April due to family health reasons.

The top two vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 3 general election. The same is true in City Council Ward 4, where incumbent Lawrence Ostendorf is being challenged by Mark Woods and Tracy Martinez.

Voters in North Platte Public Schools Ward 2 will advance two candidates for the school board seat being vacated by former board President Mike Morrell. Angela Blaesi, Pat Cullen and Brooke Luenenborg are the candidates.

Besides the mayors office, voters in November will fill a total of four City Council seats and three school board seats.

Because no candidates need to be eliminated in the other three council and two school board wards, all candidates in those races automatically advance to the general election.

Two Lincoln County Board elections will essentially be decided in Tuesdays Republican primary, as no Democrats or Libertarians filed for those seats. Petition candidacies remain possible for the general election.

In the boards District 1, 35-year veteran Joe Hewgley faces a GOP challenge from Irving Hiatt. The length of Hewgleys tenure ranks second among active county board members in Nebraskas 93 counties.

District 4, one of two commissioner districts created by county voters in 2018, features a Republican primary battle between appointed Commissioner Walt Johnson and challenger Chris Bruns.

Jerry Woodruff, appointed District 5 commissioner at the same time as Johnson, faces no primary opposition and automatically advances to the November election.

In federal races, first-term U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, a Fremont Republican, faces a primary challenge from Matt Innis of Crete, a former Lancaster County GOP chairman.

Seven Democrats are running to challenge the GOP winner: Dennis Frank Macek and Andy Stock of Lincoln; Chris Janicek, Angie Philips and Alisha Shelton, all of Omaha; Larry Marvin of Fremont; and Daniel Wik of Norfolk.

Gene Sladek of Omaha is unopposed in the Libertarian Senate primary.

Third District U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith, a seven-term House member from Gering, is opposed for renomination by Republicans Larry Lee Scott Bollinger of Alliance, William Elfgren of Overton, Justin Moran of Atkinson and Arron Kowalski of Grand Island.

Mark Elworth Jr., who lives outside the 3rd District in Omaha, is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Libertarian Dustin Hobbs of Grand Island is also unopposed.

The presidential race also appears on Tuesdays ballot, though President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have essentially wrapped up the GOP and Democratic nominations respectively.

Six Libertarians appear on their partys Nebraska presidential ballot: former U.S. Sen. and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, Dan Behrman, Jacob Hornberger, Jo Jorgensen and Adam Kokesh.

Also listed is New Hampshire state Rep. Max Abramson, who withdrew in March.

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, a former Republican, declared his candidacy for the Libertarian presidential nomination after the deadline to qualify for Nebraskas primary ballot.

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Another ludicrous Thought of the Day from the BBC: The Bishop of Manchester assures us that we have libertarian free will – stopthefud

Posted: at 5:33 pm

And to Walker, as with the bulk of the respondents in the Sarkissian et al. study Ive mentioned several times, you cant have moral responsibility in a world without libertarian free will. Of course, without moral responsibility, you cant be held accountable by God for your sins, sins that may include choosing the wrong savior, or no savior at all. Those who deny that libertarian free will is prevalent must reckon with the vast number of believers who are true libertarians.

(Ill mention again that I believe people must be held responsible for their acts, but not morally responsible if you construe that, as I do, as meaning you could have chosen to do a different thing. But of course I still believe in reward and punishment, though I wont reiterate my reasons for the umpteenth time.)

Now you may try to tortuously parse the good Reverends words to say what he really means is a compatibilistic free will that, deep down, accept determinism of our actions. But I think youd be dead wrong, for Walker states at the outset that he clearly rejects the mathematically-based determinism of science. No, hes talking about pure libertarian free willthe kind that his sheep accept.

Im surprised that, in a country wherealthough theres a state churchChristianity is on a precipitous decline, the BBC still emits a thought for the day that is invariably religious. Seriously, my UK friends, why does this persist? Why dont you write en masseto the Beeb demanding either that it ceases dispensing this goddy pabulum or give nonbelievers a chance to say something not only substantive, but bracing andtrue? Wouldnt it be nice to hear some words that came from science, for instance?

In fact, this happened once. Richard Dawkins was invited to give the Thought for the Day. He didnt mince words: goddy explanations were the stuff of toddlers. After that, a humanistic thought was never broadcast again. Neil reported this:

Any mainstream faith may provide the piece, but humanists are excluded, apart from on one occasionwhenRichard Dawkins was allowed 3 minutes to say his piece, prior to being banned forever for saying we should be more adult in our understanding than accepting simple explanations of the world. You can read his words here:

And heres one bit of Richards talk that surely irked the BBC:

Nerve cells, too, branch like trees. They are so numerous in the teeming forest of your brain that, if you stretched them end to end they would reach right round the world 25 times.

In the face of such wonders, do you fall back, like a child, on God? Its so wonderful, so complicated, only God could have done it.

Its tempting, isnt it. But its not a real explanation. Not the kind of explanation that actually explains anything. And its nowhere near as poetic as the true explanation.

Because the beauty is that humanity has grown up. We now know the true explanation. Its gloriously simple once you get it, and more wonderful than our forefathers could ever have imagined. It makes use of yet another tree. The family tree of life. It began with something smaller than a bacterium, and it branched and branched to give all the species that have ever lived, whether extinct like the dinosaurs, or still hanging on like our own. Evolution really explains all of life, and it needs no supernatural intervention of any kind.

The adult response is to rejoice in the amazing privilege we enjoy. We have been born, and we are going to die. But before we die we have time to understand why we were ever born in the first place. Time to understand the universe into which we have been born. And with that understanding, we finally grow up and realise that there is no help for us outside our own efforts.

Humanity can leave the crybaby phase, and finally come of age.

Now theres a thought for more than just a day!

The crybabies are actually at the Beeb, which apparently cannot stand the idea that there may be no God, or at least dont want to endanger public morals by promulgating such a Dangerous Idea.

Look, I know Britain has a state religion, lacks the equivalent of our First Amendment, and that the BBC is owned and run by the government. But they seem curiously immune to religious freedom and the rising tide of secularism in their land.

If youre in the UK, have you ever complained about this daily insult to our ears and intellect? If not, why not? If a lot of people objected, would they stop it?

Here: have a libertarian free-willer:

The Right Reverend Dr. David Walker, the Bishop of Manchester

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Another ludicrous Thought of the Day from the BBC: The Bishop of Manchester assures us that we have libertarian free will - stopthefud

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Live Blog: Nebraska 2020 Primary Election Results | – NET Nebraska

Posted: at 5:33 pm

The NET News team is providing live coverage of the Nebraska 2020 primary election. The most recent updates will appear at the top of this page.

More coverage at

Most current election results available at

11:50 p.m. Central

In races for the Nebraska Legislature, in nearly every instance incumbents were leading challengers.

That included one senator appointed by Gov. Pete Ricketts, Julie Slama of Peru. But another Ricketts appointee, Andrew LaGrone of Gretna, trailed challenger Jen Day.

There are six seats opened up by term limits forcing out incumbents; of those races, it appears only three will have a registered Democrat running against a registered Republican in the fall. That reduced the chances of a significant change in party registrations in the officially nonpartisan Legislature, which currently has 31 Republicans, 17 Democrats, and one independent.

11:45 p.m. Central

Omaha businessman Chris Janicek won the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Senator Ben Sasse in November.

Janicek, who runs bakery businesses and invests in property in Omaha, outpolled six other Democrats to win his partys nomination. Meanwhile, Sasse easily outdistanced challenger Matt Innis to win renomination for a second term.


11:20 p.m. Central

Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District will run against Democratic challenger KaraEastman in the November election.

Bacon easily beat out Republican challenger Paul Anderson in Tuesdays primary election, with about 90% of the vote. Eastman won about 61% of the vote against fellow Democrats Ann Ashford, with about 32% of votes, and Gladys Harrison with about 6%. (See most up-to-date results on theSecretary of State website.)

The November ballot is a rematch for Bacon and Eastman, who ran against each other in the district two years ago. Bacon won by fewer than 5,000 votes.

Bacon says hes encouraged by high turnout among Republicans this year, but says he wont take his foot off the gas: "Were going to have to work as hard as we can, because this is a purple district."

Eastman said she learned a lot from the 2018 campaign and says a lot has happened in the two years Bacon has been in office.

"People now see that hes not looking out for them," Eastman said. "Hes simply looking out for his party;hes looking out for special interests."


11:15p.m. Central

Voter turnout has already surpassed the 2016 primary election, with 70% of precincts fully reporting and 21% of precincts partially reporting.

About 442,000Nebraskans have voted, according to the partial results. That represents about 36%of the1,216,431 registered voters.

In the 2016 primary election, turnout was 26.9% of the state's 1,165,308 registered voters.

9:10 p.m. Central | Associated Press

The Associated Press declares Kara Eastman the Democratic nominee in the 2nd Congressional District. She will face incumbent Rep. Don Bacon in the general election.

9:05 p.m. Central | Associated Press

The Associated Press declares Chris Janicek the winner in theDemocratic primary for U.S. Senate.

Janicek has 31.18% of votes against six other candidates, with 63% of precincts partially reporting and 5% of precincts fully reporting.

Janicek will run against incumbent RepublicanBen Sasse and Libertarian Gene Siadek in the general election.

8:53 p.m. Central | Associated Press

The Associated Press declares Rep. Adrian Smith the winner in the Republican primary for the 3rd Congressional District.

He has 83.28% of the vote over four challengers, with 38% of precincts partially reporting and 7.6% of precincts fully reporting.

8:40 p.m. Central | Associated Press

The Associated Press has declared winners in two key races:

Kate Bolz wins Democratic nomination for 1st Congressional District, with 79.15% of the vote and 52% of precincts partially reporting.

Rep. Don Bacon wins the Republican nomination in the 2nd Congressional District, with 90.62% of the vote and 65% of precincts partially reporting.

8:30 p.m. Central | Associated Press

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden sailed to an easy victory in the election.

So did Republican U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, who faced a GOP primary challenge because of his previous criticism of President Donald Trump.

8:10 p.m. Central

Results from early voting have been posted on the Nebraska Secretary of State's website.

Kate Bolz is leading in the Democratic primary for Congressional District 1, with 79.2% of the vote over opponent Babs Ramsey. Incumbent Rep. Jeff Fortenberry is running unopposed in the Republican primary. Dennis Grace is running unopposed in the Libertarian primary.

In Congressional District 2, Kara Eastman is leading with 61.19% of the vote over opponents Ann Ashford (32.66%) and Gladys Harrison (6.14%). Incumbent Rep. Don Bacon has 90.62% of votes in the Republican primary against Paul Anderson. Tyler Schaeffer is running unopposed as a Libertarian.

In Congressional District 3, incumbent Rep. Adrian Smith has 83.2% of the vote in a race with four Republican primary opponents. Mark Elworth, Jr. is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, and Dustin C. Hobbs is running unopposed in the Libertarian primary.

President of the United States: Democratic Party (45% of precincts partially reporting)

7:30 p.m. Central

Polls across the state will close at 8 p.m. central time.

Election officials hoped polling sites would be quiet after a record number of Nebraskans submitted mail-in ballots.

"I went to vote today," said Gov. Pete Ricketts. "I went right at 8 o'clock, I was the only person there to vote. When I turned around and left there was one other person walking in, and usually there's a line at my polling place. So I am guessing that many people took advantage of the opportunity to send in an early ballot."

Gov. Ricketts signed an executive order allowing the National Guard to serve as poll workers in counties with shortages.

A poll worker disinfects a voting station at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds in Aurora. (Bill Kelly, NET News)

A voter at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds in Aurora. (Bill Kelly, NET News)

Election officials hoped polling sites would be quiet after hundreds of thousands of Nebraskans sent mail-in ballots. (Bill Kelly, NET News)

Casting ballots at the Clay County Courthouse in Clay Center, Nebraska. All voting in Clay County is done by mail. (Bill Kelly, NET News)

A poll worker at the First Congregational Church in Hastings. (Bill Kelly, NET News)

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Will COVID-19 block third-party ballot access? – The Aggie

Posted: at 5:33 pm

The current pandemic is revealing critical flaws in the American electoral system

Howie Hawkins. Jacob Hornberger. Don Blankenship.

Yes, these are real names. But do you know who they are? They are the current leading nominees for the respective Green, Libertarian and Constitution parties.

If youre a political junkie, you are probably familiar with Blankenship. The former West Virginia coal mining executive has experienced occasional cameos in national headlines: first, for a trial concerning a mine explosion that killed 29 people in 2010 and later, for a bizarre 2018 Senate run where he declared himself Trumpier than Trump and ran ads referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as Cocaine Mitch. To a lesser degree, you may also be familiar with Hawkins, the environmental activist who co-founded the Green Party just over two decades ago.

But for most Americans, these names are simply more faces in the crowd.

The national appeal of a viable third-party candidate has increased in recent weeks by the possible entry of two figures with significant name recognition: Justin Amash and Jesse Ventura. Amash, a current U.S. representative from Michigan and frequent critic of President Donald Trump, announced the formation of an exploratory committee aimed at seeking the Libertarian Party nomination. Likewise, former professional wrestler and Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, who has his own complex relationship with Trump, recently voiced his interest in a potential 2020 Green Party run. It is a given that neither candidate will command major support on a national stage, but the general consensus is that they could potentially siphon enough voters to prevent Biden victories in a number of swing states.

Currently, third-party advocates are engaged in a number of legal battles aimed at gaining ballot access come November of 2020. In Illinois, the Greens and Libertarians are engaged in a court case aimed at removing all petitioning requirements for ballot access while a similar lawsuit by the coalition in Georgia aims to reduce the minimum number of signatures necessary.

Meanwhile, the countrys two biggest parties share a vested interest in limiting third-party ballot access. As a result of political polarization, both parties are severely limited by the number of active electors up for grabs, meaning that any significant conversion of swing voters could have devastating effects on their path to the White House.

For Democrats, this issue is especially pronounced. Historical precedence shows that they have the potential to be severely damaged by a strong third-party run. In particular, Jill Steins 2016 Green Party campaign won more votes in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin than Trumps margin of victory in those states. Although its hard to say whether Steins absence would have allowed for a Clinton victory, it certainly played a role in the outcome.

Third-party candidates in 2020 are far less of a risk for Republicans, but there is still a chance that their presence on the ballot could sway a number of states. After leaving the Republican Party and becoming a registered Independent, Amash voted for Trumps impeachment, earning notoriety as a strict non-partisan ideologue. Now a Libertarian, Amashs recondite political ideology may simply be too niche for widespread national appeal.

Rather, Amash could steal more Libertarian-minded voters in Michigan from Trump, a vital state to the presidents re-election path. Lawsuits by the Libertarians and Greens in states like Georgia and Arizona could also put the little known, socially conservative Constitution Party on the ballot, potentially bringing the furthest politically right of Trump supporters with them. The threat seems negligible at first, but when you consider just how close the margin of victory is likely to be in these states, it is a threat worth considering.

Irrespective of the morality of voting for a third party in 2020, the entire scenario at hand reveals a number of fundamental albeit obvious flaws in the American electoral system. Most blatantly, it reveals the fragility of the two-party system. Its a system so fragile and riddled by establishment influence that it promotes candidates uninspiring enough to allow for a few thousand disaffected voters to sway the entire election. Furthermore, the dilemma posed by the lack of ballot access for third parties is part of a broader issue concerning politics in the era of COVID-19. From issues over voter disenfranchisement to a highly politicized debate over the entire logistics of ballot-casting, the predicament has revealed just how unprepared the American electoral system is for a crisis of this magnitude.

In this regard, the battle for third-party ballot access is merely a further indictment of a wildly myopic voting system. Instead of merely arguing over the merits of granting increased access to third-party candidates this fall, we should approach this problem with a degree of introspection, questioning just how we managed to get to this debate in the first place.

Written by: Brandon Jetter

Disclaimer:The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie

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