Democrats Must Stand Up for Single Payer Healthcare, Sacramento Bee, January 25, 2018

If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that too many voters have lost faith in key civic institutions such as the news media and political parties. If we are going to rebuild public trust, legislators need to become more partisan. You might be surprised to hear someone like me, who has spent most of his career with nonpartisan good government groups, advocating for more partisanship. But that’s precisely what America needs right now. Done correctly, political parties can serve as vehicles for volunteers and small donors to band together around a set of ideas – a platform. Party endorsements inexpensively inform voters of candidates’ positions on the issues, but only if endorsements go to the candidate who most closely sticks to the platform. (read more)

California Democrats should unite against corporate money
Sacramento Bee, May 30, 2017

Eric Bauman emerged as the new chairman of the California Democratic Party this month by a razor-thin margin that revealed deep divides among Democratic activists. If Bauman wants to unify progressive Berniecrats and longtime party stalwarts, he should lead an effort to ban corporate contributions to state parties and candidates.

Delegates interrupted Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez at the California convention with shouts decrying so-called corporate Democrats. The party has responded by voluntarily swearing off oil company donations under pressure from R.L. Miller, head of its environmental caucus. Several 2018 gubernatorial candidates similarly signed pledges from the Sierra Club to forgo oil money in their campaigns. (read more)

Congress should approve or reject Trump’s foreign financial conflicts
Sacramento Bee, January 17, 2017

With leading ethics experts of both major parties agreeing that Donald Trump’s plan to retain ownership of this business empire while serving as president will violate the U.S. Constitution, Congress must decide if his proposal to minimize his personal profit from foreign governments is sufficient. While many would disagree with a congressional move to sanction Trump’s arrangement, myself included, it would at least preserve compliance with our Constitution. …

What Congress must not do is simply look the other way. Allowing a president who has demonstrated authoritarian tendencies to openly flaunt the Constitution on his first day of office is a road that we dare not travel down. (read more)