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Peru, term limits, Trump

Trump Should Look to Peru

Democracy can degrade into other things, even strong-man rule. To avoid such degradation, we have a ready prophylactic. Term limits. Which hamper would-be dictators-for-life, including entrenched oligarchs in the legislature. Many countries illustrate the point. But take Peru, where the new head of state, Martin Vizcarra, has been combatting political corruption by supporting a referendum to impose

nothing, Washington, pay raise, Tim Eyman,

The Seinfeld Referendum

There is an unmistakable connection between Washington State initiative guru Tim Eyman and New York City comedian Jerry Seinfeld. Mr. Seinfeld gave viewers what they wanted for nine seasons as the star of the self-named 1990s hit television sitcom, Seinfeld. It was slyly defined as “a show about nothing.” Meanwhile,

Regnat Populus, Arkansas, term limits, initiative

Suppressed Measure Woulda Won

Arkansas politicians and their cronies were terrified by Issue 3. So when this tough state legislative term limits measure was approved for the ballot, foes of citizen-controlled government sued to kill it. Agreeing that thousands of already-approved signatures of bonafide registered voters must be tossed because of new, legislatively-imposed, byzantine,

domino, power, election, term limits, initiatives

Electing a Better Way

For the seventh time in the last 22 years, the Metro Nashville Council put a measure on the ballot to weaken or abolish their own term limits. And for the seventh time voters said no.  Term limits were under attack elsewhere in Tennessee — along with Ranked Choice Voting. The

Gender, neutral, term limits, Memphis, City Council,

Seventh Time’s the Charm?

“You have to give the public something,” explained termed-out former Councilperson Emily Evans, a few years ago. She was referring to a 2015 initiative she had pushed. The unsuccessful measure had tempted voters with a smaller council in exchange for weakened term limits. On Tuesday’s ballot, voters find lame attempt

money, global warming, carbon, tax, climate

The Green in the Evergreen State

We’re told of the scientific consensus on global warming. Whatever you may say about that consensus (I’ve expressed extreme skepticism), no such consensus exists for what steps would be best to take to deal with the identified problem — which is usually understood in terms of the “carbon footprint,” of

libertarian, spoiler, porcupine, snake, politics

Spoiler Season

“Libertarians poll high enough to tip key races,” informs The Washington Times — citing contests for governorships and both houses of Congress.* Libertarian Lucy Brenton is one example, running for U.S. Senate in Indiana. She grabbed 7 percent in a recent poll, greater than the margin between incumbent Democratic Sen.

Memphis, City Council, term limits, lie, cheat, steal

Lie, Cheat AND Steal

Sometimes lying just isn’t enough. But dishonest politicians have additional weapons at their disposal. There’s cheating. And stealing, too. Meet the Memphis City Council. Apparently fearful that their official fibbery through deceptive ballot wording on three council-referred measures won’t be enough to successfully hoodwink a majority of voters, the council

Arkansas, term limits, corruption, rules, regulations, initiative, democracy

Corruption, Arkansas-Style

On Friday, the Arkansas Supreme Court struck Issue 3, a citizen-initiated measure to restore legislative term limits, from Arkansas’ November ballot. The Court declared, 4-3, that there weren’t enough “valid” signatures. This, despite opponents never disputing that more than enough Arkansas voters had signed the petition. In recent years, legislators

initiative, petition, power, money, elections

Three Bad Propositions

Two propositions on this November’s California ballot, Propositions 8 and 11, have found an opponent. “Both would have voters decide very narrow union-management conflicts in two relatively small medical service sectors,” explains Dan Walters, long the dean of California columnists. Unions are sponsoring Prop 8, which “purports to limit profits

Paul Jacob, Rome, term limits, inititative, ballot

The Perfect Couple

A marriage made in . . . democracy?  Last Thursday, at the 2018 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, held at the Palazzo Senatorio in Rome, Italy, I talked about term limits. And initiative and referendum rights. Italy’s populist Five Star Movement, the leading party in the new ruling coalition,

Memphis, ballot, instant runoff, term limits

Intentionally Confounding Incumbents

The three issues on the ballot in Memphis this November are “not complicated,” writes Commercial Appeal columnist David Waters, “unless you read the actual ballot questions.” Which is all most voters will see. All three directly affect the self-interest of members of the Memphis City Council, which placed them on

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