Eliza Newlin Carney

Eliza Newlin Carney is a weekly columnist at The American Prospect. Her email is ecarney@prospect.org.

 

Recent Articles

Republicans Abandon Election Security

democracy_rules.jpg Russian attacks on the U.S. election infrastructure in 2016 were even more serious than reported at the time, recent disclosures show, and intelligence officials say they are bracing for more aggressive attacks from a wider array of foreign adversaries in 2020. Yet instead of moving to shore up the nation’s vulnerable voting machines and databases, the Trump administration is sabotaging efforts to enhance election security at every turn. Trump’s determination to portray Russian interference as a hoax has made it taboo for members of his own administration to even talk about foreign meddling, and has derailed the leading bipartisan election security bill on Capitol Hill. To make matters worse, Republicans have signaled that they don’t even plan to hold a single hearing on election security legislation—despite a growing list of bills introduced in recent weeks to block foreign interference on multiple fronts , many of them bipartisan . The...

FEC Dysfunction Now Threatens Democracy

democracy_rules.jpg Of all the Federal Election Commission’s many chronic breakdowns in recent years, its failure to take the slightest action to either stave off or respond to Russian meddling in the 2016 election is the most damaging to American democracy. The FEC repeatedly considered but never approved straightforward new rules to require internet advertisers to better identify themselves, a move that could have helped deter Russian disinformation on social media. And now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has concluded that the Russian government interfered in the election “in sweeping and systematic fashion,” the FEC remains missing in action. That the FEC is precisely the gridlocked and ineffectual agency that Congress intended it to be is nothing new. What’s new is that the FEC’s well-documented partisan stalemates have become so routine, and its staff so hollowed-out and demoralized, that the commission has moved from dysfunctional to...

“Total Exoneration?” Not So Fast.

Andrew Harnik/AP Photo
President Donald Trump and his team are spinning the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted Russia report as a harmless distraction that will do nothing to sway voters, and some analysts appear inclined to agree. The 400-page report’s release “won’t change the basic calculus” that Republicans and Democrats are entrenched in their positions, wrote Peter Nicholas and Elaina Plott in The Atlantic this week , adding that “some Democratic strategists believe that their party shouldn’t fight to keep the issue alive.” But Trump remains vulnerable, particularly on the campaign finance front. Several ongoing investigations point to clear-cut political money violations related to his hush-money payments, to his inaugural committee, and to his now-shuttered foundation. And the question of whether Trump’s campaign received illegal foreign contributions from Russia—which election law defines as “anything of value...

Another GOP Voter Fraud Claim Falls Apart, and Democrats See an Opening

democracy_rules.jpg The latest overblown Republican claims of voter fraud have been thoroughly debunked, now that a federal judge has blocked a massive voter purge in Texas, and accused GOP election officials there of creating a “mess” that intimidated vulnerable voters. But instead of eating crow, Republicans are doubling down. In Texas, even as a federal judge intervened, Republican state senators were advancing a bill that would erect fresh barriers to registration and voting. And President Donald Trump, having tweeted in January that the supposed illegal voting in Texas was “the tip of the iceberg” told GOP officials this week that they needed to be “careful” in upcoming elections, “because I don’t like the way the votes are being tallied.” Nevertheless, GOP voter fraud claims and voter restriction efforts could come back to haunt Republicans in 2020. In Texas, the debacle that began when GOP Acting Secretary of State David...

Voter Turnout Is Surging -- And Mitch McConnell Is Terrified

democracy_rules.jpg Recent findings that voter turnout broke a century-old record last year and could cause another “100-year storm of voters ” in 2020 must play on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s worst fears. Not only did the annual America Goes to the Polls report, put out by Nonprofit VOTE and the U.S. Elections Project, show historic jumps in Latino and youth voter turnout. The report also found that voter-friendly policies, such as same-day and automatic voter registration, are vastly boosting turnout. The top ten states with the highest turnout—averaging 61 percent—were also the ones that made it easiest for voters to cast ballots. By contrast, the ten lowest-ranking states had turnout averaging in the low forties. This is one of the leading reasons McConnell is so hostile to HR 1, the package of democracy reforms that House Democrats recently approved unanimously, with nary a GOP vote. The legislation does far more than facilitate voting,...

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