Eliza Newlin Carney

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


Recent Articles

Can This Census Be Saved?

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
democracy_rules.jpg The Commerce Department’s decision to ask about citizenship on the census typifies the way the Trump administration does business: It’s hasty and sloppy, disregards expert opinion, is calculated to hurt Democrats and immigrants, misstates the facts, wastes taxpayer dollars, and may violate the Constitution. Opponents of the decision, which was announced at the eleventh hour with none of the years-long testing usually conducted for questions added to the census, are seeking redress both in the courts and on Capitol Hill. Recent lawsuits filed by the attorneys general of California and New York make a strong case that the move violates both the constitutional requirement for an accurate population count and the Administrative Procedure Act’s bar on government decisions that are “arbitrary” and “capricious.” But Congress may get the last word. Democrats in both the Senate and the House have called for hearings to examine the...

Hush Money May Prove Trump's Biggest Campaign-Finance Problem

(AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Alleged campaign-finance violations keep piling up against President Trump, but the ones that involve the paltriest sums—two payments of less than $200,000 apiece to silence women who claim affairs with Trump—may cause him the most trouble. In one sense, Trump’s entanglements with a porn star and an ex-Playboy Bunny look like seedy side shows compared with special counsel Robert Mueller’s finding last month t hat a foreign power disrupted American democracy. By far the most serious campaign-finance allegation against Trump remains that he and his team illegally solicited help from and provided assistance to Russians who meddled in the 2016 election. Trump’s hush money payments also may prove less corrosive, in the grand scheme of things, than the millions being raised and spent by a secretive nonprofit set up by officials from his campaign and his administration. That organization, America First Policies, has drawn little notice but netted $26 million in...

The Move to Politicize Churches Is Back, and Conservatives Should Be Outraged

democracy_rules.jpg There are a lot of reasons why President Trump’s plan to let churches wade directly into partisan politics, which Congress may now approve as part of a must-pass spending bill, is a colossally bad idea. Reversing the so-called Johnson Amendment, which bars churches and other charities from direct campaigning, would drag churches into the profane world of electioneering. It would damage public trust in charities, which could dry up their contributions. It would blow a hole in the election laws , by ushering in “pop-up” churches that come and go with the political cycles, boosting undisclosed expenditures, and letting donors write off purely political contributions. But the best argument against politicizing charities, ironically enough, may come from conservatives themselves—in an unrelated Supreme Court challenge known as Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees . In that challenge, which the High Court heard...

How Long Will Gerrymandered GOP Congressional Maps Stand?

Republicans’ loss in a Pennsylvania case may signal a turning point in the redistricting wars.

Corey Lowenstein/The News & Observer, File via AP
democracy_rules.jpg If Republican strategist Karl Rove was right when he predicted in 2010 that “he who controls redistricting can control Congress,” then the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s newly drawn congressional district map spells very bad news for the GOP. It’s not just that the new map, which Republicans fought tooth and nail and continue to challenge in court , gives Democrats a shot at winning up to six additional seats in the 2018 midterms. The problem for Republicans is that their failure to block the Pennsylvania map may signal a turning point in the redistricting wars, and in the GOP’s eight-year campaign to manipulate district lines to keep their seats. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to throw out the previous GOP-drawn district map was just the latest in a string of court rulings around the country that rejected Republican maps as unlawfully gerrymandered along partisan lines. In January, a federal court in North Carolina...

The Kremlin Is Back, and U.S. Elections Aren’t Ready

AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File
President Trump may dismiss Russian interference in the U.S. election as “fake news,” but top officials in his own administration are not so sanguine. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson already sees signs that Russia is trying to interfere in the 2018 midterms, he told Fox News this week. Tillerson’s disclosure came on the heels of an equally bleak assessment from CIA Director Mike Pompeo last month. Asked by the BBC whether Russia would target the U.S. midterms, Pompeo replied : “Of course. I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that.” One might expect such high-level warnings to spur action on Capitol Hill, where foreign election interference has historically alarmed both parties. Instead, Republicans have become so consumed with protecting Trump from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe that they’ve effectively scuttled several common-sense bills that would help secure the nation’s elections. On Thursday...