Eliza Newlin Carney

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

 

Recent Articles

House Democrats Want to Reorganize Congress. They Shouldn’t Stop Halfway.

democracy_rules.jpg When the House approved a package of rules changes at the beginning of this year aimed at making Congress work better, not many people took notice. It’s easy to see why. House Democrats unveiled their new rules alongside a sweeping democracy reform bill that would overhaul the political money, ethics lobbying and voting rules. Inevitably, Democrats’ “For the People Act” overshadowed their new procedural rules, as did the government shutdown that dragged on for 35 days. But Democrats’ efforts to improve Congress as an institution, making the House more efficient, productive, transparent, and accountable, could prove as important in their own way as their more ambitious anti-corruption package. These House rules changes look more timely than ever in the wake of the recent shutdown, which has left lawmakers eager to find some way—any way—to escape their predictable and never-ending cycle of budget brinkmanship. One measure...

House Democrats’ Anti-Corruption Push Resonates Well Beyond the Beltway

democracy_rules.jpg House Democrats’ sweeping anti-corruption bill may be dead-on-arrival in the GOP-controlled Senate, but HR 1 is already having an impact outside the Beltway. New York legislators who just approved a slate of election reforms, including early and absentee voting and curbs on corporate political spending, had one eye on the democracy reforms that Democrats have placed front and center on Capitol Hill. Still further reforms, including statewide public financing, are now on the agenda in New York, which is just one of several states pursuing voting and campaign-finance changes in 2019. These follow hard on a string of democracy-related ballot wins in November. The success of the democracy movement at the state level demonstrates why HR 1 matters well beyond messaging and symbolism, and regardless of its fate in the Senate. The ambitious omnibus bill would expand voting rights, boost small donors and transparency in campaign financing, and curb gerrymandering and...

Democrats Have Promised to Clean Up Washington. Can They Deliver?

democracy_rules.jpg A key question for House Democrats who plan to vote on a sweeping package of democracy reforms as their first order of business is whether they will be content to stop at scoring political points, or will press on to genuinely fix what’s broken in public life. Inevitably, the House’s pending vote on the reform package known as H.R. 1 will be at least in part symbolic, given the likelihood that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will refuse to bring it up for a vote. McConnell’s foreseeable opposition will put the GOP on record as the Party of No—no small-donor matching funds, no disclosure, no fixes to voting rights, ethics or gerrymandering—a stance that places Republicans at odds with most Americans , and that hands Democrats a politically potent talking point. But Democrats could face their own political backlash if they cast themselves as change agents without actually following through. Democrats say the ethics, campaign-...

Republicans Who Slap Voters in the Face May Be in for a Nasty Surprise

democracy_rules.jpg Republicans in Michigan and Wisconsin who have moved aggressively to steamroll voters and strip power from incoming Democratic officials appear confident that they will pay no political price, and many analysts seem to concur . After all, state legislators won’t face re-election for another two to four years, and electoral maps gerrymandered to heavily favor Republicans won’t be redrawn until after 2020. That’s a long time in politics, and it would be easy to assume that protesters now crowding the state capitals in Lansing and Madison will by then have moved on. But that assumption overlooks two powerful lessons from the recent midterms: One, that gerrymandering can backfire , particularly when the political winds shift dramatically. And two, that voters are increasingly fed up with assaults on democracy. The more Republicans take aim at voting rights , judicial independence , campaign-finance disclosure , and popularly-approved ballot...

Read It and Weep: Georgia Lawsuit Paints Stark Portrait of Voter Suppression

democracy_rules.jpg Emory University freshman Phoebe Einzig-Roth took three IDs to her Atlanta polling place on Election Day, determined not to let anything block her from voting for the very first time. Einzig-Roth had accompanied her parents to the polls as a little girl, and had “always dreamed of the day” when she could vote herself, she later recalled. But when she handed her driver’s license to a poll worker, Einzig-Roth—who was born in New York and grew up in Boston—was told that “she might not be a citizen of the United States,” and was directed to a supervising official. That official ultimately handed her a provisional ballot, but gave her no receipt, and no instructions on how to ensure that it would be counted. Einzig-Roth’s confusion turned to anger when she later tried to verify her eligibility, and was rebuffed for the lack of a receipt. “THIS is what voter suppression looks like in Georgia,” she fumed in a...

Pages