Oregon Adopts Automatic Voter Registration

Oregon has become the first state in the nation to adopt universal automatic voter registration.

votehere

Oregon is set to become the first state in the nation where virtually every eligible voter will be automatically registered to vote:

Oregon became the first state to automatically register Americans to vote on Monday.

A new bill signed into law by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown “puts the burden of registration on the state instead of voters,” according to the Associated Press.

The law makes it so that anyone over 18 who is not registered to vote in Oregon but who has dealt with the state’s Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division since 2013 will be mailed a ballot 20 days before the next statewide election. Oregon predicts that this new system will bring 300,000 more eligible voters to the polls.

To implement the new law, Oregon’s DMV will share the information it has stored — such as age, address and citizenship — with the state’s secretary of state to automatically register those eligible to vote.

The new law passed the Oregon Senate last week 18-12, with all Republicans and one Democrat voting against it.

Higher turnout in Oregon will likely benefit Democrats — and Republicans worry it will increase voter fraud and costs. ”Simply because it makes us unique or makes us first does not necessarily mean that it actually improves on what we’re doing,” State Senator Jackie Winters (R) told the AP.

This isn’t the first time that Oregon has led the nation in reforms to voting procedures designed to make the process easier. In 1998, the state was the first to move to a system whereby all elections are essentially conducted by mail. Under this system, every voter in the state is mailed a ballot some weeks before Election Day. They can either fill the ballot out at home and drop it in the mail prior to Election Day, or they can drop the ballot off at a local Election Office by a designated time on Election Day itself. In 2011, neighboring Washington State adopted a similar vote-by-mail system, and Colorado followed suit in 2013. In the 2014 election, Ohio followed a similar procedure even though the law had not actually changed when the Secretary of State, a Republican, decided to mail an application for an  absentee ballot to every voter in the state. By all accounts, the Oregon, Washington, and Colorado programs have been successful in increasing voter turnout and have proven to be easy to implement. There’s no reason to expect that the new change to Oregon’s law would not be similarly successful.

There are some caveats to the approach Oregon is taking, of course, but they are ones that seem to be minimal and easy to overcome. Most important, of course, is the fact that not every person who has a driver’s license is eligible to vote, either because of age or because of citizenship status. As in most states, drivers in Oregon can obtain a license before they reach the age of 18 and people who are not United States citizens can receive license provided they have the appropriate paperwork. Obviously, any system that registers people who have “interacted” with the DMV to vote is going to have to ensure that these groups of people don’t get inappropriately registered, but assuming that things like age and citizenship status are properly noted in DMV records that should be easy enough to do.

It will be interesting to see how this system works out as Oregon implements it over the coming years. To a large degree, the process that people have to go through to register to vote has become unnecessarily cumbersome and bureaucratic, so anything that makes that process easier would seem to be a good thing. The anticipation, of course, is that it’s likely to help Democratic candidates but given the fact that Oregon is already very much of a “blue” state, especially in Presidential election years, though, it’s unclear whether that will be noticeable. No doubt, some opponents of this idea will raise the spectre of immigrants, legal and illegal, being able to vote as a reason to oppose a reform such as this but that threat seems to be overblown as long as there is proper record-keeping. The goal of this bill is to get more people to vote, and it’s likely to accomplish that goal at least in some respect. In the end, that seems like a good idea no matter which political party you support.

FILED UNDER: General
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mu says:

    Makes you wonder how long until someone manages to get that instituted nationwide via a federal court order because certain voter suppressing states don’t provide equal access to all citizens.

  2. I seriously doubt you’ll find a Federal Court willing to issue such an order, and I don’t think they would even have the legal authority to do so.

  3. Vast Variety says:

    I wish Iowa would do this. I’ve been voting via absentee ballot since I returned home from the Air Force, almost 20 years now. It’s so much simpler.

  4. C. Clavin says:

    Well that’s just stupid…how are you ever going to suppress minority voting this way?

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    but assuming that things like age and citizenship status are properly noted in DMV records that should be easy enough to do.

    I read somewhere that in Oregon, they do. Of course, if I read long enough I will read that the OR DMV is staffed by monkeys…

    Anyway, this really is a no-brainer as is voting by mail.

  6. al-Ameda says:

    A distinctly non-Republican approach, which means it will not soon be adopted in about 30 states.

    Seriously though, I think this type of system is easily adopted in small states, there are not insurmountable problems for larger states to overcome in implementing such a system.

  7. superdestroyer says:

    But to point out that in Oregon, the Democratic Party is the dominant party and the Democratic Party primary is a closed primary. Unless all of the people who are automatically registered are registered as Democrats, those new voters will be unable to vote in the only relevant elections in Oregon.

  8. gVOR08 says:

    Actually trying to run a small d democratic government. What a concept. And another example of how liberals can succeed by doing good things, while conservatives need to do bad things to succeed.

  9. humanoid.panda says:

    @superdestroyer: Also of note: Oregon is one of the whitest states, so it nicely refutes your entire minorities bring along one party America thesis.

  10. Rafer Janders says:

    Higher turnout in Oregon will likely benefit Democrats — and Republicans worry it will increase voter fraud and costs.

    See, this is a case where the reporter acting as a stenographer actually spreads a lie and serves to confuse their readers — because, in point of fact, Republicans don’t sincerely believe that higher turnout “will increase voter fraud and costs”. The believe, instead, that it will benefit Democrats. But they don’t want to say that, so they come up with a BS rationale, and then the reporter duly types that up and presents it as fact. But what the Republicans claims to worry about isn’t what they actually worry about, and to present it that way is to present a lie.

  11. superdestroyer says:

    @humanoid.panda:
    Oregon is a good example of what the future will look like: one dominant political party, a closed Democratic Party primary which will leave out the least active voters, and more power flowing to the establishment.

    That the Republicans are not competitive in Oregon and that Oregon is happy being a dominant party state with few, if any, competitive elections, shows the future. Of course, that automatic voter registration will have no effect on policy or governance in Oregon is a feature of the policy change.

  12. Rafer Janders says:

    One of the standard GOP responses when accused of voter suppression was to say “well, you need a driver’s license for everything else in life, so why not to vote? You should have to show a driver’s license.”

    Now that Oregon has replied to that with OK, if you have a driver’s license you can vote, suddenly the GOP is complaining that just having a driver’s license shouldn’t be enough.

    Why, it’s almost as if securing the franchise wasn’t their real goal after all….

  13. humanoid.panda says:

    @superdestroyer: But your argument is that the REASON we will have a one party states is because minorities love big government. How does your theory account for the fact has hardly any minorities and is a one party state? I mean, clearly, there is an error here somewhere.

  14. gVOR08 says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    But what the Republicans claims to worry about isn’t what they actually worry about, and to present it that way is to present a lie.

    Not entirely true. Conservatives seem to always come to believe their own bull pucky. Only way to resolve the cognitive dissonance between their self image and their constant lies.

  15. gVOR08 says:

    @humanoid.panda: See @gVOR08: They also change the subject a lot.

  16. Tillman says:

    To a large degree, the process that people have to go through to register to vote has become unnecessarily cumbersome and bureaucratic, so anything that makes that process easier would seem to be a good thing.

    I remember back before the Tea Party derailed my state in 2011 and on how I registered to vote: one History class near the end of the senior year in high school would be “Register to vote! And if you’re male, register for this Selective Service thing which is totally not the draft!”

    And this actually reached a bunch of people. The public schools in my county that I was reared in were a model for socioeconomic/racial integration up until 2011 when they switched it out for a neighborhood school plan due to “long bus rides.” Certainly a real issue, but not compared to the results it achieved.

    On-topic: since one of the ways they check your identity at the polls is to ask your address and compare it against their records, voting by mail makes the most damn sense. Voting fraud charges come up against every datum that disproves the need to address it; cost issues are by far lower contrasted with open polling places for early voting. The only real argument is the stamp needed for it could be a poll tax, and in that case the government could suck up the fiscal hit.

  17. al-Ameda says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Why, it’s almost as if securing the franchise wasn’t their real goal after all….

    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.

  18. Scott F. says:

    @Tillman:

    The only real argument is the stamp needed for it could be a poll tax, and in that case the government could suck up the fiscal hit.

    In Oregon, mail-in ballots can also be dropped off at an official drop box, so even the poll tax argument doesn’t hold.

    Frankly, nation-wide Vote by Mail and Instant Runoff Voting are two election reforms the country desperately needs to step back from the oligarchical abyss. The powerful will never let that happen, of course.

  19. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @humanoid.panda: Oh, that’s ones easy. If one conflates (as superdestroyer probably does) poverty and race then poor white people might as well be considered non-white. Ergo, minorities seeking entitlements will run the one-party government and it doesn’t even matter what skintone or ethnicity they have.

  20. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @al-Ameda: @Rafer Janders: Securing the franchise is still the goal. What could possibly make the franchise more secure than preventing minorities from electing Democrats (h/t; superdestroyer)?

  21. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    They don’t, but Congress does 😀

  22. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Scott F.: I’m not sure that I understand how enacting a law that declares that my vote doesn’t really count until I’ve voted D or R (IRV) protects us from the oligarchical abyss (considering that the oligarchs here are all Ds and Rs), but if you really want to go that route, just outlaw third parties. There are laws and rules now that prevent fringe candidated from taking up space on the ballot, just make the fringes bigger.

    For example, moving the vote threshold from 1% (my states validation threshold) to 3% would eliminate the Libertarian Party inb most states.

  23. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker:

    I’m not entirely sure that ballot access is the reason that third parties aren’t viable in the US.

  24. C. Clavin says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker:
    But poor whites tend to be dupes of the Wealthy Republicans that run the GOP and for whom it is structured to benefit.
    https://cerebellumtellum.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/republican-agenda1.jpg

  25. grumpy realist says:

    @HarvardLaw92: There was a very good analysis many years back in the Economist about why third parties rarely get off the ground in the US. Basically, as soon as a third party looks to be gaining traction, one or the other of the two main parties essentially co-opts said position, taking the wind out of the sales of the third party.

    If a modern third party were to run now on an anti-oligarchy, pro-working party platform, it would be interesting to see what would happen….

  26. Gavrilo says:

    What about the poor, elderly, disabled, minorities who have no ID? You think they’ve dealt with the DMV since 2013? They’re too poor to take time off work to go to the DMV. Plus, the DMV is too far away and there is no public transportation. Plus, they don’t have the proper documents and obtaining a copy of a birth certificate costs money which = POLL TAX! How are they going to be automatically registered to vote? This plan is RACIST!!!

  27. Steve Z says:

    I know I am old-fashioned, but I prefer that the people who vote be the ones who truly want to be there, regardless of party, rather than those who do it only when it is made this convenient. It’s the same reason I always hate the GOTV efforts. Why should we be begging people to vote who clearly don’t care enough about the issues without being pressured, bribed, or lured to the polls.

    There should not be “barriers” to voting, and surely we can make exceptions for those unable to make their way to a polling station for physical reasons, but I don’t see why asking people to register, and requiring people who are physically able to vote at a nearby polling station where identities can be verified is such an evil, anti-democratic thing. When you see what people in some corners of the world do or risk to vote, this small amount of effort doesn’t seem to much to ask to participate in democracy.

  28. superdestroyer says:

    @humanoid.panda: Because demographic changes will eventually turn current red states like Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma, to blue but there is nothing that the Republicans can do to covert a blue state to red. When the Democrats have a lock on over 300 electoral votes, have a majority in both the House and Senate and when very few of the Democratic Party incumbents are in competitive districts, the U.S. will be a one party state.

    That the Republicans are not competitive in Oregon shows why the U.S. will be a one party state and why there is a limit to the amount of the white vote that Republicans can win.

  29. gVOR08 says:

    @superdestroyer: I suspect that if the Koch Bros and their ilk had significant drilling, mining, or refining activities in Oregon, you’d soon see a flood of GOP money and a viable, if not dominant, Republican Party.

  30. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @superdestroyer:

    You mean other than getting out of bed with the religious fanatics and the teabaggers?

    I’m pretty socially liberal, but fiscally moderate to conservative. You give me an Eisenhower Republican type candidate who hews to those characteristics and I’ll easily vote Republican. Hell, I used to BE a Republican.

    I didn’t leave the Republican Party. It left me. …

  31. C. Clavin says:

    @superdestroyer:

    there is nothing that the Republicans can do to covert a blue state to red.

    That’s just utter nonsense.
    If Republicans had some ideas beyond tax cuts for the rich and that single cells are people then they could easily turn blue to red. Unfortunately…they do not.
    Conservatism has much to offer.
    Republicanism…nothing.

  32. Scott says:

    @Gavrilo: I’m glad you agree that these are terrible things. I’m sure you would support measures to alleviate these conditions and facilitating the right of all to register and vote.

  33. Scott says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I didn’t leave the Republican Party. It left me. …

    Me too

  34. anjin-san says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I’m pretty socially liberal, but fiscally moderate to conservative. You give me an Eisenhower Republican type candidate who hews to those characteristics and I’ll easily vote Republican. Hell, I used to BE a Republican.

    Ditto. Nothing would make me happier than a sane, healthy GOP. The current imbalance in the two party system is doing serious harm to our country.

  35. gVOR08 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: @Scott: @anjin-san: You guys sure?

    I tend toward believing the Rs have become this bad because of a unique confluence of RW media, Movement Conservatism, and essentially unlimited billionaire and corporate money. But there’s a good case to be made that the GOPs have always been awful, see Jeb Lund at Rolling Stone None Dare Call it Treason: Tom Cotton, Iran and Old GOP Ideas.

    Can anyone explain to me how they got away with Iran-Contra without being laughed off the continent? My theory is that it’s because a) they painted it as macho, and b) it was so absurd no one could believe they were actually that horrible.

  36. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Same. I come from a long line of Rockefeller Republicans from northern New England on both sides. My generation (Gen X) is the first generation on both sides to switch from R to D.

    In my 20s and early 30s, I held out hope that a Christie Todd Whitman or a Bill Weld would gain national traction, but instead they kept getting dressed down by the national GOP (in the case of Weld, quite literally, but Jesse Helms, in front of Congress). But I’m a smart boy and learned quickly enough to switch teams.

  37. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @gVOR08:

    The Republican Party of Eisenhower began to die in the early 1980s, when Falwell and the religious right co-opted it. You can not hope to have a rational discussion with people whose lives are entirely and fundamentally governed by strict allegiance to an irrational belief system.

    At this point I’m not sure that it can be saved, but I’m certainly willing to be proven wrong on that point. The ball’s in their court.

  38. @HarvardLaw92:

    I’m not entirely sure that ballot access is the reason that third parties aren’t viable in the US.

    Indeed. While there is plenty of room to critique ballot access laws in the US, you could make it radically easier and we would still have the same party system.

    Our party system is predominantly driven by a combination of single seat districts and the primary system.

  39. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I was leaning more towards the “third parties in the US tend to be outliers with respect to where the majority of the population is situated on a whole host of issues”.

    To wit, things like the “Fair Tax” and the gold standard, just to name a few. They appeal to the dim witted looking for simplistic answers to incredibly complex problems.

    Third parties tend not to be electorally viable in the US, IMO anyway, because they tend to be a tad nutty and they tend to nominate candidates that are a tad nutty as a result.

  40. @HarvardLaw92: I take the point, but part of what I am getting at is that the rules of competition themselves incentivize two large parties. Change the rules and the coalitions that are the two major parties would break up.

    Further, the primary system allows various factions to capture a mainline party in ways that disincentivize serious third party formation (think the Moral Majority in the 1980s and the Tea Party of late).

  41. superdestroyer says:

    @gVOR08:

    I doubt that since money is the most overrated part of politics these days. Progressives keep talking about money because it lets them propose policies that will make them unbeatable such as restricting politics speech except for the established media.

  42. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I always find it odd that progressives keep claiming that the way for the Republican Party to survive is to become some form of Democratic-lite that surrenders on virtually all issues except budget issues. The Democrats know that they can demagogue budget and fiscal issues and thus, that leaves the so called “Eisenhower Republicans” with nothing. All one has to do is look at states like Rhode Island so see that there is no place for moderate Republicans in politics.

  43. superdestroyer says:

    @anjin-san:

    Since you live in California, you should be used to it by now. There is nothing that a conservative can do to get elected to statewide office. That is why the Repubilcans will fade away. There is no need for a second political party when the only disagreements allowed are over how to fund the government.

  44. gVOR08 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: IIRC Hacker and Pierson in Winner Take All Politics get into this. Basically, a third party in the U. S. can’t get any traction because as a small party, they can’t provide any cheddar to their supporters. Something like 22 parties are currently contending in Israel. If they can get a few seats, they can bargain to help form a ruling coalition and get some concessions. If the Libertarians managed to get five seats in congress, they still couldn’t get anything. They’re better off to call themselves Republicans and bargaining in the caucus.

    Bernie Sanders can be an Independent because everybody understands that for all practical purposes he’s a Democrat. I grew up with the Non-Partisan League, but they were the same deal, basically Democrats.

    I tend to see the Republicans, with all the resources that go with being seen as the party of business, as the Harlem Globe Trotters, to the Democrats as the Washington Generals. The Dems exist because there have to be two, and only two, teams.

    As I recall, we’ve had third parties rise only when the Federalists and later the Whigs collapsed.

    Quick comment from memory. Open to correction.

  45. @gVOR08: Israel is an excellent counter-example as it is almost diametrically opposite to the US in terms of electoral rules (one national district with a very proportional system for allocating seats).

  46. Tyrell says:

    @HarvardLaw92: It wasn’t too long ago that our county office did not have a Republican registration book. It didn’t need one. The last time a Republican won anything around here was during Reconstruction. Today a Republican wouldn’t get elected assistant dog catcher.

  47. James P says:

    Oh, good grief. No, no possibility whatsoever that this will enable illegal aliens to vote, is there?

    Illegal aliens can get driver’s licenses – that’s the first loophole right there.

  48. Scott F. says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker:

    I’m not sure that I understand how enacting a law that declares that my vote doesn’t really count until I’ve voted D or R (IRV) protects us from the oligarchical abyss (considering that the oligarchs here are all Ds and Rs), but if you really want to go that route, just outlaw third parties.

    Most of what I’ve seen would indicate the IRV is better for third parties, not worse, but perhaps you’ve got data that says otherwise. I agree that left with a choice between only Rs (the Wholly Enthusiastic Corporatists) and Ds (the Somewhat Reluctant Corporatists) is the problem. I contend more choice and a more vested electorate are the way out. Citizens United gave the game to the 1%, but the 99% still have the numbers, if only there were ways to activate that advantage.

  49. David M says:

    @Scott F.:

    I don’t consider voting 3rd party instead of Democratic unless there isn’t a Republican in the race. IRV would allow me (and others) to consider other options to the Democratic candidate without indirectly helping the GOP candidate.

  50. Tillman says:

    @David M: Yes. Finally, all those political quizzes online could stop telling me to vote Green for naught!

    (To conservatives: you know that slight razor edge in the tone of your voice whenever you say “Democrat” out loud? That’s the Greens. The Greens did that.)

  51. John425 says:

    The rules, which are the fine print and too often disregarded, distort, and in one case up here in WA state, swung the election to Democrats illegally. Our laws said that the voters address MUST list an actual physical address, not a PO box. It is even OK for a homeless person to have a physical address such as the Federal Court building. I have no problem with that.
    However Seattle counted PO boxes as addresses and that was fraud.
    WA state Democrats model themselves after Hillary in that they think the rules are for little people and don’t apply to them.

  52. David M says:

    @John425:

    Care to link to a news report?

  53. C. Clavin says:

    @John425:

    However Seattle counted PO boxes as addresses and that was fraud.

    Seriously?

  54. C. Clavin says:

    @superdestroyer:
    There are no moderate Republicans…they do not exist…ipso facto there can be no place for moderate Republicans.
    Republican efforts at voter supression is radical. Conservatives would not embrace it.
    Republican denial of science is radical. Conservatives would never embrace it.
    Saying that people should be free to love who they wish is a Conservative position. Republicans want to prevent an entire group of people from being equal.
    Obamacare is a Conservative program. Republicans want to eliminate it with no plan to replace it.
    Supply-side economics is a radical Republican economic theory. Conservatives would never embrace it…which is why I assume Reagan raised taxes after Laffer made him look like an idiot.
    Invading and occupying Iraq was a radical foreign policy blunder. Conservatives would never have embraced it.
    There is plenty of room for Conservatism.
    Hopefully you are right and there is no room for radical Republicans.

  55. george says:

    @superdestroyer:

    I always find it odd that progressives keep claiming that the way for the Republican Party to survive is to become some form of Democratic-lite that surrenders on virtually all issues except budget issues.

    Why odd? After all, the Democrats became Republican-lite to survive, and consistently surrendered on just about every important issue.

  56. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin: You left out SDs favorite. He has said the Rs must remain the white peoples party. Apologies to any self described conservatives here, but that is, unfortunately, a traditional conservative position.

  57. C. Clavin says:

    @David M:
    Crickets…no surprise

  58. J-Dub says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I didn’t leave the Republican Party. It left me. …

    Me too. I was a late bloomer, voted for Dub-yah the first time around. Probably became a Democrat when he banned stem cell research, made it official shortly thereafter and haven’t looked back. I can only imagine how different the country might be if we had elected Al Gore. I wish now that I had voted for him.

  59. David M says:

    @J-Dub:

    Didn’t vote, but would have supported W in 2000 as well. Bought into the “both parties do it” nonsense and the fake Clinton scandals from the 90s and didn’t really think there was a difference between the two. Kerry in 2004 was the start of my straight ticket D voting, it’s hard to think about how much better Gore and Kerry would have been compared to the incompetent weasel who was in office.

    Realized the GOP deficit concern was nonsense when their only policy prescription was tax cuts for the 1%, no matter what the economic conditions were. Realized the lack of sincerity about spending with Iraq and Medicare Part D. I’m basically left with a single choice in most elections now, as I don’t support political parties I consider wholly unfit for any political office, no matter how minor.

  60. Paul Hooson says:

    While this may translate into a slight advantage for the Democrats, it is by no means certain that many of these newly included voters will even bother to vote, despite the very easy vote by mail system. – The current system has a number of flaws, for example, I own a $2 million nightclub property, but usually live out of motel rooms right now. Without a residential mailing address and only a business address, Oregon law denies me the right to vote. By, contrast homeless people have some special rights within Oregon law where they can cast votes. – So flaws in the system deny voting rights to some wealthy property owners who pay extensive taxes, but allow votes by those who pay little to no taxes.

  61. al-Ameda says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I’m pretty socially liberal, but fiscally moderate to conservative. You give me an Eisenhower Republican type candidate who hews to those characteristics and I’ll easily vote Republican. Hell, I used to BE a Republican.

    I grew up in Marin ‘effing County, a place that now reliably votes over 70% Democratic – it’s a lot more affluent now than when I grew up there. Back in my early off-to-college days, Republicans and Democrats were elected in roughly equal proportion, and liberal Republicans were regularly elected. Now, there are no liberal Republicans, and there are virtually no elected Republicans in the west side of the San Francisco Bay.

    I know plenty of people who are liberal on social issues and moderate to conservative on fiscal issues These people vote for school parcel taxes but generally turn down wider less specifically targeted taxes. They have nowhere to go these days but the Democratic Party.

  62. Tyrell says:

    @grumpy realist: How about this: maybe there are powerful interests and organizations that control entirely the political process and manipulate the outcomes. People think they are getting a voice. Look at the last several presidential candidates: none dared to tell the people what is really happening. The “debates” are clear evidence: scripted, choreographed, rehearsed, with meaningless questions.
    “Tweedle dee and tweedle dum”

  63. al-Ameda says:

    @Tyrell:

    How about this: maybe there are powerful interests and organizations that control entirely the political process and manipulate the outcomes. People think they are getting a voice. Look at the last several presidential candidates: none dared to tell the people what is really happening.
    “Tweedle dee and tweedle dum”

    So, what happened to “Wisdom of The People?”

  64. C. Clavin says:

    @David M:
    Agreed…not happy about no decision…but currently there is no decision.
    I wish Republicans would become rational…but don’t see it happening soon.

  65. An Interested Party says:

    Why odd? After all, the Democrats became Republican-lite to survive, and consistently surrendered on just about every important issue.

    This, this, this…a million times this! The idea that the Democrats (the ones in charge and making policy anyway) are so liberal is a sick joke…the center of the political landscape in this country has moved so far to the right that the Democratic Party is now comparable to the Conservative Party in the UK…teabaggers and their ilk wouldn’t know what to do with themselves if real liberals had real national political power in this country…unfortunately, it takes catastrophes like the Great Depression to scare enough people to take a chance of real liberal policies, which, by the way, helped to create a thriving large middle class…

  66. Slugger says:

    I may be too old. I remember when the Governor of Oregon was Vic Atiyeh and the Senators Hatfield and Packwood; all good Republicans. Things change.

  67. bill says:

    @C. Clavin: i’m sure some zealot will say it”s still too hard for “some people” to figure out without some help from their “friends”.

  68. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Off-topic breaking news – Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) is resigning from Congress effective March 31st amid evidence that he falsified mileage reimbursement claims to the federal government.

    IL’s governor will have 120 days from that date, including any primaries, to schedule a special election to replace him. AFAIK, IL law does not permit the governor to select an interim replacement.

  69. superdestroyer says:

    @george:

    Not true. As Hillary runs in 2016 she will be making proposals and supporting policies that George McGovern would have been comfortable with in 1972. How can you call a party that is calling for depolicing, racial quotas for arrests, and for punishing individuals for thought crimes a Republican-lite Party

    It would be easier is everyone admitted that as politics become about entitlements, who gets them, and who pays for them that one party, such as the situation in Oregon, is more than enough to do the job.

  70. superdestroyer says:

    @gVOR08:

    What I actually believe that for any form of conservative party to pursue a significant portion of black or Latino voters that the conservative party would would have to move far to the left. In changing positions to appeal to the two most liberal groups in the U.S, Republicans would have to throw blue collar and middle class whites under the bus and support race-based government programs, a much larger entitlement state, and more social engineering.

    Thus, conservatives are faced with choosing their own demise, they either pander to the left and just submit to being buried under a demographic avalanche or they try to hang on and let the slow tide of demographics destroy them. However, no matter what the Republicans do, there is no hope for a conservative party in the U.S.

  71. superdestroyer says:

    @David M:

    If deficits were really a concern for anyone who votes straight Democratic Party, then there would be candidates in the Democratic Party who were really interested in taking on the deficit and finding a combination of tax increases and spending cuts to balance the budget. However, there appears to be no one in the Democratic Party who is really interested in deficits and thus, the Obama Administration will manage to budget the federal debt in 8 years.

    Also, if all of those people who the Republican Party really believed what they were saying, there would be a large number of moderate Democrats who would be at odds with the progressive, black, and Hispanic caucuses. However, since there seems to be no room for policy or governance issues disagreements inside the Democratic Party, I assume that most people who claim to have formerly been Republicans are exaggerating their previous politics beliefs to make a point.

  72. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @gVOR08: Good point. In fact, when the Whigs fell apart, the American Party (aka Know-Nothings) looked as though it might take their place. However, the Free Soil Party had more energy and, over time, transitioned into the Old Republican party (old Republican because it was “the party of Lincoln.”)

  73. C. Clavin says:

    @superdestroyer:

    If deficits were really a concern for anyone who votes straight Democratic Party, then there would be candidates in the Democratic Party who were really interested in taking on the deficit and finding a combination of tax increases and spending cuts to balance the budget.

    You mean like the Simpson Bowles commission…which Republicans walked away from?
    Or the Grand Bargain negotiated between Obama and Boehner…which Republicans walked away from?
    Republicans have been a position to reap gains from Obama who has been more than willing to compromise…but their our-way-or-the-highway approach has left them empty handed.

  74. gVOR08 says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You give me an Eisenhower Republican type candidate…

    Eisenhower took no active role in politics until the Republicans recruited him out of fear their frontrunner, Taft, wasn’t electable. There’s a claim he’d never even voted until he voted for himself. After he left office, as far as I’m aware, he took no very active role in politics. Was there a significant “Eisenhower Republican” faction in the Party, or was there mostly just Eisenhower himself? And a Democratic congress.

  75. Blue Galangal says:

    @Tyrell: I’m seriously unclear as to why you got downvoted for this. I think it’s exactly what’s happening; and you’re making no value judgments here, just relating the current state of affairs. There are no debates that mean anything; no one has to answer a tough question and no one gets to hold anyone’s feet to the fire to make them answer a question they don’t want to. If a moderator does try to do so, there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth the next day, and she or he is vilified and held up as more evidence of the “liberal” mainstream media (cf Candy Crowley). In fact, if it was an egregiously stupid enough thing they said, they turn around and fund raise off it (cf Palin).

    This is what happens; it’s what passes for politics. Is that to say that voting doesn’t matter? Of course not. The President gets to appoint SC justices; I think that’s ample reason right there to get out and vote.

  76. Rafer Janders says:

    @al-Ameda:

    I know plenty of people who are liberal on social issues and moderate to conservative on fiscal issues These people vote for school parcel taxes but generally turn down wider less specifically targeted taxes. They have nowhere to go these days but the Democratic Party.

    Well, that’s because the only moderate / conservative party on fiscal issues IS the Democratic Party — that’s the party that produces balanced budgets, reduces deficits, cuts unemployment, and oversees high stock market returns. The GOP hasn’t been fiscally conservative since the budget-busting days of Ronald Reagan.

  77. C. Clavin says:

    Turns out Super-Dooper is actually Rep. John Fleming (R-LA).
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/john-fleming-single-party-dems

  78. al-Ameda says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Plus, they don’t have the proper documents and obtaining a copy of a birth certificate costs money which = POLL TAX! How are they going to be automatically registered to vote? This plan is RACIST!!!

    If Republicans set up the Oregon system it probably would be ALL of those things.

  79. gVOR08 says:

    @Blue Galangal: I down-voted Tyrell for making it a “powerful interests and organizations” conspiracy thing when it’s mostly just the laziness of the press, who are giving the box-of-rocks electorate what they want.

  80. Slugger says:

    Another thing that I’d like to point out to people worried about the D’s dominance in Oregon’s politics is that the R’s have not done themselves any favors with the slate that they have presented. In recent years they offered us two people for high office without previous political experience, one a former basketball player who does not reside in the state and the second a neurosurgeon with a record of domestic strife that involved the cops.

  81. An Interested Party says:

    As Hillary runs in 2016 she will be making proposals and supporting policies that George McGovern would have been comfortable with in 1972.

    Policies such as…?

    How can you call a party that is calling for depolicing, racial quotas for arrests, and for punishing individuals for thought crimes…

    How’s that?

    …for any form of conservative party to pursue a significant portion of black or Latino voters that the conservative party would would have to move far to the left purge its racist elements.

    Happy to be of help…

    If deficits were really a concern for anyone who votes straight Democratic Party, then there would be candidates in the Democratic Party who were really interested in taking on the deficit and finding a combination of tax increases and spending cuts to balance the budget.

    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s incredibly rich, as Republicans have shown consistently over the past 30 years that they know nothing about balancing budgets (on the federal level anyway)…

  82. gVOR08 says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Republicans have shown consistently over the past 30 years that they know nothing about balancing budgets (on the federal level anyway)…

    Nor, apparently, in WI, KS, and NJ.

  83. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Republicans making deals with Democrats is pointless. Since the Republicans are irrelevant, the only policy proposals that matter are the ones that the Democrats are making. Trying to roll the Republicans on a tax now, cut spending later proposals has been a great hobby for the Democrats for the last thirty years but all we have to show for it is a $16.3 trillion dollar national debt and a standing $500 billion dollar annual budget deficit.

    So, in the future, what the Democrats plan to do in the future is the only thing that matters. One would think that there would be a few moderate, came over from the Republican Democrat who would be pushing for something more than a tax-now, cut-later plan but it does not appear to be. So, as the U.S. drifts to having one dominant party much like Oregon currently has, then one should be anticipating how much taxes will go up to fund the current level of government services along with all of the proposed new entitlements.

  84. superdestroyer says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Of course, the Republicans have done nothing good with the budget, That is one of the main reasons that they are going to fade away. However, if they had focused on the budget, then everyone who votes against them would still hate them but they would also have no money to pass around to friends. No one ever votes for a candidate that proposes cutting their budget. That is why the U.S. will soon not have a functional conservative party: no one is willing to be the adult that tell people they cannot have everything. The Democrats are just telling people that if they tax the rich (read Kochs) enough then everyone else can get what they want.

  85. An Interested Party says:

    Of course, the Republicans have done nothing good with the budget…

    Hmm…

    That is why the U.S. will soon not have a functional conservative party: no one is willing to be the adult that tell people they cannot have everything.

    Well, at least you finally admit that Republicans aren’t conservatives and haven’t been for some time…

  86. superdestroyer says:

    @An Interested Party:

    I have said that many times. Why do you think that Karl Rove wanted to push the Republicans to being the second liberal party and make politics about which special interest group gets goodies from the government and which special interest group pays. Of course, since the college drop out Karl Rove cannot seem to add and subtract or do the simpliest of mathematical projections, he did not understand that virtually all government spending benefits Democrats.