Neronha, Woonsocket, Social Media in RI, Looking to the Future
Rhode Island Liberator
by Samuel Gifford Howard
3M ago
I’m going to go very quickly through some thoughts, since it’s National Novel Writer’s Month, and I’m way behind on my word count. Peter Neronha After past vehement denials that he would ever seek the office, it seems there’s an increasing likelihood that the Attorney General will run for governor. This seems to have ramped up after Neronha got increasingly vocal on X/Twitter. There’s no doubt, in my view, that the tweeting transformed Neronha from a sort of distant do-gooder in the AG’s office to someone far more scrutable to the average Rhode Islander. This may or may not be a good thing. No ..read more
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Public Feedback and PVDFest
Rhode Island Liberator
by Samuel Gifford Howard
3M ago
I’ll start this off by saying that I’m not a big fan of PVDFest (or festivals in general). I was skeptical when Jorge Elorza made it a campaign promise, and I was even more skeptical when he really did it. I have gone a few times (one great memory is watching festival-goers mistake the preaching of the right-wing Compassion Party candidates for a sanctioned performance), but for the most part have kind of let it be, separate from my yearly existence. But look, not everything has to be for me. I think, as Rhode Islanders, we often forget this. We build new housing not to block your views, but t ..read more
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Majorities Are Not Mandates
Rhode Island Liberator
by Samuel Gifford Howard
3M ago
A common argument I’m seeing among supporters of runoff electoral reforms is that candidates should have to win a majority. It doesn’t quite matter the reformer or the proposed reform. The assumption is that plurality wins lack democratic legitimacy, as a majority of voters will have opposed the winning candidate. A lot of people from various political points of view have made this case over the years as they advocate for some style of runoff system: “In 2010, former Governor Chafee was elected to our highest office with 36.1% of the vote in a 4-way race. In 2014, Governor Raimondo was electe ..read more
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Lima Out
Rhode Island Liberator
by Samuel Gifford Howard
3M ago
Speaker Joseph Shekarchi has replaced Rep. Charlene Lima with Rep. Raymond Hull as Deputy Speaker, details of which Lima gave to the Globe in a tell-all interview that came out the day before it happened. Lima’s explanation is that she’s a victim of “cancel culture” because she expressed her views, though the article lays out a litany of ways she’s been a pretty bad Democrat, and certainly an unreliable vote for the leadership she’s ostensibly supposed to be part of. Throughout the article, she seems to be at peace with all that. It’s a pretty straightforward case for Lima’s removal though: sh ..read more
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Providence Charter Review Questions: What Do They Mean and Do?
Rhode Island Liberator
by Samuel Gifford Howard
3M ago
Voters in Providence have ten Charter Review questions to vote for. However, most news coverage has simply covered the text of the questions, not the actual changes to the Providence Charter. The problem is that almost all of the questions are written in a way that you would be likely to vote yes: without any context, the questions seem like mostly good ideas. The Charter Review Commission’s work has received minimal coverage by the press and was poorly noticed by the Council (indeed, the fact that you can still edit the English language online survey asking about what should be changed sugges ..read more
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The 2022 Democratic Primaries Are (Almost) Over!
Rhode Island Liberator
by Samuel Gifford Howard
3M ago
We still have some recounts, but it’s mostly wrapped. Let’s get into it. The Co-op Overreached The Co-op promised a whole new government. It promised a slate of 50 candidates. It promised to change RI politics. None of that happened. The Co-op largely failed to bring anyone but the orgs they have the closest relationships with on board with their candidates. They actively antagonized many of the groups in Climate Jobs RI, Rhode Island’s blue-green alliance that’s been very successful with winning action on climate policy (including the Act on Climate). By my count, only one Co-op candidate got ..read more
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The Futility of Attempting to Bind Legislatures
Rhode Island Liberator
by Samuel Gifford Howard
3M ago
Every so often, someone will come along with a reform proposal to reduce the power of the Speaker and the Senate President in Rhode Island (for ease, I’ll refer to these as “presiding officers”). These can range from the ineffective but mostly harmless (the line-item veto) to something that would be likely result in some small amount of chaos (direct election of the presiding officers). Almost all these reform proposals fail to tackle the underlying issues that result in powerful legislative leaders (who currently also act as their chambers’ presiding officers). Nathan Cornell’s call in Uprise ..read more
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How the Invisible Primary for RI Governor Played Out
Rhode Island Liberator
by Samuel Gifford Howard
3M ago
Way back in… October of 2020 (yikes) I decided it would be a good idea to start a spreadsheet of everyone whose name was dropped for governor (and then other major offices) during the long run up to the race. This was inspired by the work of Prof. Seth Masket, who kept a spreadsheet during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary to track this (indeed, mine was based off his). Masket’s purpose was to pay attention to what is referred to as “the invisible primary” – which is the maneuvering for support among party leaders and organizations by candidates. This is a crucial part of running for of ..read more
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