Politics

Why Don’t Democrats Pay Their Interns?

Every year, thousands of young progressives descend on Washington to intern for Democratic lawmakers.

And around the country, thousands more take internships on state and Congressional races each election cycle.

For many young Progressives, an internship like this is the surest way to get a feel for politics.

Perhaps it’s that campaign fellowship with the local Democratic committee that leads to a lifelong interest in political organizing.

Or perhaps it’s that summer stint with a Democratic representative in Washington that sparks a commitment to fight for progressive causes.

That’s how it was for me.

When I first took a serious interest in politics, I was a freshman in college.

That summer, I volunteered with a Senate race in my home state of New Jersey and was immediately hooked on campaign organizing.

That position led to another, and eventually I landed an internship with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Of course, as is common with these positions, they were all unpaid.

Since then, I’ve been able to find work in the private sector – as a paid consultant for some of the very groups where I once worked for free.

Interns. Like a tiger standing in the subway, they are easy to spot. And they often don’t get paid. Photo Credit: IAEA Imagebank/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

While I was privileged enough to take an unpaid position for several semesters – and never worry about having to pay bills thanks to the generosity of my parents – others aren’t always so lucky.

Guillermo Creamer had an unpaid internship with a Democratic member on the Hill, and later with the DC Mayor’s office.

For him, it wasn’t always easy making ends meet.

“The lack of funds really put me against the corner at times when it came to eating lunch, dry cleaning and even paying for rent,” Creamer said in an interview. “I was working 40 hours a week while being required to work a minimum of three days a week. If I ever had a gig that would come up, I’d call out of my internship because it is really hard to turn down money.”

Having had enough, Cramer, and several other Washington, DC students founded Pay Our Interns, a bipartisan campaign dedicated to pressuring more organizations to offer paid internships.

Guillermo Creamer Jr is the chief of staff for Pay Our Interns. Photo Credit: Guillermo Creamer Jr/ Facebook

So far they’ve has some success in getting Democrats to listen.

Several of the candidates currently in the running to be the next DNC chair have since pledged to create a paid internship program if elected.

Hopefully these actions will spur other Democratic organizations to do the same.

Yet challenges remain.

“We worked really hard in this internship and all we got was this lousy cake. Gee, thanks.” Photo Credit: Eden, Janine and Jim/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Hardly any Democratic members of Congress offer paid internships.

Neither do most campaigns or state parties.

Though there are a few exceptions.

Bernie Sanders pays interns at his Senate office $12 an hour as do Senators Martin Heinrich and Heidi Heitkamp.

For a party that claims to fight for the rights of workers, not paying interns is especially hypocritical.

In fact, it’s downright embarrassing.

The Republicans certainly don’t have a problem paying their interns.

The Republican National Committee runs the Eisenhower program, which pays a cohort of students to work at the party headquarters every summer.

Meanwhile, the DNC doesn’t even have an established budget line-item for its College Democrats and didn’t even have a full-time staffer dedicated to supporting these students in the midst of the 2016 campaign.

While some may say that a lack of resources are an issue, I find that argument hard to believe.

The DNC raked in $372 million in the 2016 cycle alone, while members of Congress have office budgets that run into the millions.

It costs less than $5,000 to hire an intern for a 10-week semester.

Meanwhile, there always seems to be enough money lying around for multimillion dollar ad buys, or lavish fundraisers at fancy D.C restaurants.

If the Democrats are going to be a party that stands for economic justice and the next generations of young leaders, it needs to first stop profiting from free millennial labor.

Disclaimer: Conor McGrath is a graduate student at the George Washington University and Finance Director of the DC Federation of College Democrats.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: SUARTS.ORG/CAMPAIGN

If Liberals Really Believe In Science Then They Have To Stop Attacking GMOs

My Facebook feed is littered with posts, articles, and opinions of my liberal friends posting about the overwhelming science that supports that climate change is real, and that the deniers need to look at the proof.

However, many of these same friends will turn around and post article after article on why GMOs are terrible for you and how they harm your body.

But where’s the actual science that supports that?

Seems like a problematic double standard.

The vast majority of scientific research points to the fact that GMOs are not harmful to the human body nor the environment.

In fact, the National Academy of Sciences just released a report of a review of hundreds of research articles, testimonies, and questions about the safety of GMOs.

So where is the disconnect – and why do so many liberals acknowledge the majority of scientists that support climate change, but not the majority that supports that GMOs are not bad for you?

If you look at political demographics, you see that 70% of Democrats trust scientists to research climate change, while only 15% of Republicans support that.

Many progressives are distrustful of GMO’s. Photo Credit: Donna Cleveland/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Alternatively, 56% of Democrats believe that GMOs are unsafe to eat, while 51% of Republicans say the same – with only 43% of Democrats and 38% of Republicans saying that they are safe to eat.

When you examine the perception of GMOs in the United States, you’ll see many arguments against GMOs – from the “evils” of the Monsanto Chemical company, to people boycotting and protesting Roundup Ready crops.

This opposition stems from scientific research that is full of fraudulent misinformation, and they don’t examine the good that GMOs are able to accomplish, like the papaya crop success in Hawaii ten years ago, or the fact that scientists are trying to modify cows to produce less methane gas to, ya know, reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The latter bit would help combat climate change in a real way. 

Now, personally, I identify as a liberal, and I am 110% for questioning scientific research and letting new discoveries and inventions be properly vetted before being released into the public.

But at some point, the line needs to be drawn.

And to my liberal friends – I only have one message: Get. It. Together.

If we’re going to promote and support the majority of science that says climate change is a reality, then let’s stay constant and support the majority that says GMOs are not bad for you.

If we’re going to fight to save this planet from drastic climate and environmental change, then support the people who are actually trying to do that.

You want to make sure that the projected 9.7 billion people on this world in 2050 are going to have food?

Photo Credit: Daniel Arauz/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Then let’s support the scientists who are trying to feed people.

Let’s support the science and the research that is going towards trying to make food more affordable, more nutritious, more accessible, and more easily grown.

The population of the world isn’t going to magically go stagnant or go down, and if you didn’t know, growing food is hard.

We are able to feed 155 people per farmer currently.

In 1960, that number was 25.8.

If y’all want to be able to affordably eat within the next 50 years, if you want to help feed those less fortunate than you, and if you want to protect our planet, then start supporting and trusting the scientists who know what they’re doing.

Be consistent.

If we’re going to say we support science and validated research, then hold up that promise and start supporting all the validated science, not just the ones you want to.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Paul Sableman/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Florida State Students Vote Overwhelmingly To Become A Sanctuary Campus

Florida State University students voted overwhelmingly to make their campus a “sanctuary” for undocumented immigrants.

The vote, which is not binding is a strong indication of student opinion on the issue of whether to allow campus officials to aid in the potential deportation of students who are undocumented.

According to FSU News, it is unclear whether the FSU SGA will lobby the university to make the decision binding.

According to the student newspaper, if FSU became a sanctuary campus then the Immigration Customs Enforcement would not be allowed to conduct operations on FSU grounds.

66.9% of students who voted in the referendum, voted to make FSU a sanctuary campus.

Here was the language put to the student body:

“We the students of Florida State University believe in maintaining equality of access to higher education for all students. We therefore support the classification of Florida State University as a sanctuary campus for undocumented students. In particular, we want the FSU administration to guarantee that no FSU agencies will release the immigration status of students to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or allow ICE to come on campus. We also want the FSU administration to guarantee that undocumented students residing in Florida will continue to receive instate tuition waivers. We also want the FSU administration to guarantee that any tuition assistance for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or undocumented student that has already been awarded will not be withheld or revoked on the basis of their legal status.”

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: librarianfinsen/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

RFK Jr And Donald Trump Might Team Up To Undermine Vaccinations

By William B. Miller, Jr, M.D.

Only a few weeks into a new administration and with it comes unwelcome medical news.

The age-old debate about the safety and appropriateness of vaccination has been renewed and a vocal stage has been delivered to a small group of anti-vaccination zealots.

Reports have circulated that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, a highly visible critic of vaccination, has been invited to chair a commission on vaccination safety by the new administration.

If it comes to pass, one result can be accurately predicted.

It will become a confused platform of ideological rhetoric that will diminish trust in those scientific bodies charged with making sound judgments for the public welfare.

This inevitable outcome is particularly unfortunate since there has never been any advance in medical history that has had a more positive impact on our lives than vaccination.

Humanity has been in eternal conflict with infectious disease throughout history.

Perhaps no disease better illustrates the vast range of impacts of epidemic disease than smallpox, which resulted in the deaths of more than 7 million people.

Similar horrific mortality was experienced with smallpox.

In 18th Century Europe, at least 400,000 people died annually from smallpox.

One-third of the survivors went blind.

Mortality rates were as high as 60% in some communities.

Infant mortality was even more frightening, approaching 80%.

The ultimate success of smallpox vaccination is credited to Sir Edward Jenner in England.

In 1796, he successfully introduced the technique of cowpox vaccination demonstrating its subsequent protective effect against smallpox.

Today, due to the effectiveness of worldwide smallpox vaccination programs, that disease has been effectively eradicated from the planet.

However, this is not the case for other consequential infectious diseases.

Two years ago, a whooping cough epidemic swept through California where vaccination rates are steadily lagging.

Contrary to any ordinary expectation, it is often the most affluent parents who are shunning immunization.

Some of these anti-vaccine proponents are highly educated people being misled by social media.

The trend appears to have originated with a fraudulent report in a British medical journal linking vaccination with autism.

This report was subsequently revealed to have been based on fraudulent research and was retracted by that scientific journal.

Similar rumors that vaccine stabilizers, such as thimerosol, contribute to autism have also been refuted.

Nonetheless, damage has been done by ill-informed repetition.

There is no doubt that those parents that refuse to vaccinate their children are well meaning.

However, their actions are ill advised on two levels.

The first is that refusing to appropriately vaccinate themselves or their child exposes both of them to the risks of deadly infections that can be entirely avoided.

Yet, although vaccination is safe and highly effective it does have its limits.

This links to the other critical factor that makes universal vaccination so crucial.

No vaccination ever devised provides 100% protection and some individuals in any population cannot be vaccinated.

This includes very young infants whose immune systems are not yet mature enough for vaccination and members of our community that are immunosuppressed due to diseases that weaken their immune system from a variety of illnesses including cancer.

Their protection is through our actions.

When there are high levels of vaccination within any community, the infectious agent is unable to find enough hosts to reproduce and sustain itself within that population.

This level of community-wide protection is termed herd immunity.

It is our joint responsibility, all of us together, to be part of the process of achieving this level of immunity both in our own interests and for the protection of the other members of our community.

The next outbreak of a preventable infectious disease with its incumbent tragedies is always lurking.

A political committee to examine the evidence based on ideological biases is not needed.

Instead, our policies should rely on the expertise of already existing scientific organizations such as the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS), an independent expert clinical and scientific advisory body, as well as our own Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health.

The critical ingredient to the success of vaccination programs is education.

Therefore, there needs to be a concerted program to recover our eroded memories of the consequences of now distant epidemic diseases that have been conquered or reduced through vaccination.

The success of vaccination programs depends on being familiar with the bitter lessons of our continuous struggle with epidemic disease. Such an educational process must be ever ongoing.

Dr. Bill Miller has been a physician in academic and private practice for over 30 years. For more information on him you can visit, www.themicrocosmwithin.com.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Johnny Silvercloud/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The Republicans Won. Why Are You Surprised?

The presidential election is a little over three months past us and Americans all over the country are still in denial and angered, left feeling hopeless— well the Americans that voted for the Democratic ticket of course.

But to be quite frank, why are Democrats so upset?

Did they really think they had a shot at winning the presidential elections when time after time, America seems to be making progress just to be set back in a time frame of our turmoil filled past.

Did American voters truly think that a liberal women on a Democratic ticket would win against a wealthy white man who claims to have a conservative ideology?

The idea of being a Liberal is a stance on being open to change and progression, being able to embrace ambiguity, while excepting new ideals and concepts.

Liberal policies generally highlight the need for the government to step in and often solve some of our biggest issues to ultimately get rid of society’s problems while ensuring equality for all people; this most often aligns with views Democratic voters.

This sounds attainable right?

Well what is our America today without opposition, and the opposition to Liberal America is indeed Conservative America, where the stance is on upholding America’s core values, traditions, and emphasizing on the need for the government to protect the freedoms that allow us to solve our own problems.

This more often than not aligns with the views of Republican voters.

READ MORE: “I had to lock my door at night to prevent him from breaking in and raping me…This is the sort of thing I have done for science.”

If you look at America’s history there has always been more red states then there are blue states, and their equivalents even before political parties were created.

America has historically been a conservative country.

The ideologies and foundations of America have always been to uphold tradition and to be cautious of change.

Change causes unpredictably and un-comfortableness, and just as “America runs on dunkin”,America thrives on being conformable.

When you are comfortable in situations there is less of a chance that conflict will arise, and when conflict does arise, it is usually because someone is calling for progression, change, or something new.

If this were not the case, we would not have such turmoil when passing laws state by state as oppose to nation wide.

READ MORE: Milo Isn’t Going Away

Why would we need check and balances if everyone had the same ideologies and concerns for those around them?

So Democrats, it may not be ok that we have lost the country for the next four years, and the progression and positive change that America was moving towards despite little glimmers of historical repetition may indeed be undone, but although we are sad, we should not be surprised because we must never forget that is extremely hard for Democrats to win elections, you do not even need various electoral maps to know that in this past election alone there were only five Democratic candidates whereas there were seventeen Republican presidential candidates.

We must not be so hard on ourselves for not allowing giant leaps of history to take place made possible by a Democratic female taking the cake, because America has always been a Conservative country and the majority vote likes to be comfortable.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Just some dust/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

In Canada, Trudeau Is Meeting Fear With Progressive Strength

In the wake of Donald Trump’s election as President of the land of the theoretically ‘free’, and home of the allegedly ‘brave’, a series of hate crimes broke out throughout the United States.

Young children exposed to hate speech at home, began imitating it in elementary schools throughout the country, bullying children whose skin tones were different from theirs, and insisting that they “go home”.

Any naïve hopes that Trump would change his ways once elected—that a year of bigotry, misogyny, and explicit racist behaviour would change once he became president—came crashing down with the White House’s announcement that Muslims from seven nations would be banned from entering the United States.

The slamming of the door to innocent Muslims created a gust of wind so strong, that it made its way up to Quebec where once again, we saw that hate inspires hate.

Canada, which has experienced very few acts of terror on its home soil, was faced with a devastating one last month.

A young, Trump and Le Pen supporting, Quebecois male decided to open fire on a room filled of innocent Canadians.

While no borders were closed in Canada—no bans were mindlessly ordered—the feelings of exclusion, hatred, and division were undoubtedly felt by Canadian and American Muslims alike.

It was with great pride and relief to watch Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, say in the aftermath of the attack “this was a group of innocents targeted for practicing their faith. Make no mistakes, this was a terrorist act.”

Too long, have acts of violence perpetrated by Muslim individuals been distinctively classified as ‘terrorist acts’.

Justin Trudeau at a 2013 event. Photo Credit: John McCallum/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

But what precisely, distinguishes an act of violence committed by a Muslim individual versus one perpetrated by a non-Muslim individual?

Read More: Rory, Obama, And Me

Why are certain individuals’ acts of violence categorically different?

If every shooting in the US got the same press coverage as a ‘terrorist’ attack—if every white-skinned American murderer was labelled a terrorist—islamophobia may not have seeped its way into the homes of millions of American and Canadians; Racism may not have been so rampantly contagious.

Trudeau stayed quiet after the election of Donald Trump.

But since his inauguration, Trudeau has been subtly standing up to our southern bully by supporting Women March protestors, demanding that FOX NEWS rectify false information victimizing Muslims, and by reminding Trump in his speech last week, that violence against minorities is an act of terrorism.

Justin Trudeau is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

As a self-proclaimed feminist, whose socially liberal ideals have defined his leadership, he is faced with the difficult task of navigating relations with a racist President who stands for everything Trudeau ideologically condemns.

Meanwhile, healthy relations with the United States is pivotal for a stable Canadian economy.

Trudeau is faced with a difficult task.

Photo Credit: trumpvstrudeau/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Either he stays quiet, embodying the Canadian stereotype of being polite to a fault or he takes a far scarier path, and refuses to surrender in the face of hatred.

Read More: Here’s How Trump’s Gaslighting Reminds Me A Lot Of My Abusive Ex

Although his future actions are unknown, perhaps Trudeau has already unveiled his plan for the next four years.

Last week he said simply, “we will not meet violence with more violence. We will meet fear and hatred with love and compassion, always.”

Maybe hate—which divides and alienates—can be overcome when met with love and compassion, which unifies.

Perhaps Canadian values of politeness & kindness are not so impotent after all.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: John McCallum/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Report: Taxpayers Foot $100,000 Secret Service Bill To Protect Eric Trump On Business Trip

Eric Trump, the son of President Donald Trump took a business trip to Uruguay in January to a hotel bearing the family name.

The trip to support the family’s private business cost American taxpayers nearly $100,000 in hotel rooms so that Secret Service and embassy staffers could be given a place to stay.

The cost of the trip was first reported by the Washington Post.

“This is an example of the blurring of the line between the personal interest in the family business and the government,” Kathleen Clark, an expert on government ethics at Washington University in St. Louis told the Post.

It is not clear whether the Trump family will refund the government for the cost of a Trump family member while on a family trip.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Twitter

Trump Should Fight To Make Voting Compulsory

By Mac Regan

Democracy is at risk when we fail to fulfill basic citizenship responsibilities.

Consider the evidence.

Approximately 40% of eligible voters didn’t vote in the 2016 President Election. Even fewer voted in the last round of Congressional elections.

Only immigrants receive formal citizenship training and are required to pass a test that the majority of our citizens would fail.

The vast majority of citizens don’t communicate with their Congressional representatives. Most cannot even name their representative.

Read More: Arnold Schwarzenegger Just Made Trump Look Silly

Engaged and informed citizens are a necessary condition for effective democracy.

It’s time for a Bill of Responsibilities to re-establish the requirements of citizenship. During his first 100 days, Trump should form a non-partisan panel of citizens (who would be compensated for their work) to develop a citizen Bill of Responsibilities before the end of 2017.

This panel should, at a minimum, provide four sets of recommendations to the President, Congress, and all citizens, that:

  1. Require eligible voters to vote in presidential and congressional elections. Other countries do this. We should too.
  2. Develop common voter rules that will simplify voter registration and voting, provide adequate anti-fraud protections, and unify disparate state by state approaches
  3. Identify primary and secondary school curricula additions that ensure all high school graduates understand citizen responsibilities, engage early on in policy debates, and develop the critical thinking skills to make informed voting choices.
  4. Provide a system of rewards and penalties to encourage citizens to fulfill their responsibilities. Citizenship should be earned. This type of citizen-driven project has immense importance. It can be a foundation for increased public trust in the Trump administration (perhaps turning protesters into focused reformers) and serve notice to Congress that “we the people” demand a more representative, inclusive, and accountable democracy. Congressional representatives would oppose these recommendations at their own peril.

However, in a representative democracy, citizens are only half of the equation.

Elected representatives also need to do their jobs.

Congressional approval levels are at their lowest levels in memory.

Most agree it’s time to “drain the swamp.” Trump must demand these game changing reforms:

Get special interest money out of elections and re-elections. In the first 100 days, form a non-partisan citizen task force to develop options to eliminate campaign contributions from businesses, unions, super PACs or any other organization while limiting contributions by individuals. Canada puts strict limits on campaign contributions while providing generous public funding for candidates. We can do the same.

Reduce partisan gerrymandering. Establish state-by-state non-partisan reviews of voting districts and restore fair representation and competitive congressional elections
Redefine the mission of political parties. Parties need to stand for something other than winning elections at any cost. They will better serve our democracy if they develop and articulate realistic, affordable and clearly differentiated platforms.

Establish congressional term limits. Ensure congressional accountability. Establish national goals with two-way citizen input. Enact a congressional compensation system to attract talented representatives. Provide market-based compensation to reduce the incentive to take outside money.
A Historic Opportunity

President Trump has had a rocky start.

However, as someone who has bucked convention throughout his campaign, he is in a unique position to reform a system that is badly out of step with the needs of its citizens.

Empowering citizen-driven, non-partisan reviews of the responsibilities of citizens and elected representatives will be the most viewed reality television of our time.

These debates and ensuing reforms are necessary to the successful evolution of America’s system of constitutional values, democracy and capitalism.

There is much at stake. This is Trump’s (and America’s) opportunity.

Mac Regan is the author of Global Citizen Patriots.

Cover Photo Credit: Tim Evanson/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Arnold Schwarzenegger Just Made Trump Look Silly

After President Donald Trump made a joke about praying for new Celebrity Apprentice host Arnold Schwarzenegger at the National Prayer Breakfast, Arnold had a response. And it was so savage.

North Carolina Is On The Road To Theocracy

By Ziyi Mai

Since the embarrassing “bathroom bill”(House Bill 2), the state of North Carolina once again has received national attention as the dominating Republicans in the General Assembly called a special legislative session in December introducing bills that could significantly strip executive power from the incoming Democratic governor.

According to The New York Times, Republicans that dominate both chambers of the legislature hastily convened a special session passing bills that require State Senate confirmation of cabinet appointments; sharply cut the number of employees who report to the governor from 1,500 to 300; and shifting the appointing power of the Board of Elections from the governor to the legislature, aiming to keep Republicans in power even if they have lost the gubernatorial race.

Politics in North Carolina has degenerated into a trend of purer partisan battle than serving the public as the end goal.

As Karen L. Cox pointed out in a New York Times op-ed, politics in the state wasn’t always a fierce partisan war.

It used to have civility in both side of the ales and the two parties cooperated toward the same goal for the good of the public.

The rotunda in the North Carolina state capital in Raleigh. Photo Credit: Jim Bowen/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The Old North State has been dubbed as the leading progressive force in the south, which is a blessing given the racial history in the south.

Slow but steady pace of progressive policies have been interrupted since 2010, when Republicans took control of the legislature, and two years later, the governorship.

It is not uncommon in a state that power shifts between parties from time to time.

But the performance of the NC Republicans from the past several years has clearly shown that they tried to move away from a secular government and establish rules of ideology and even religion.

The cumulative effect of all these changes is that our state is moving to a direction of theocracy.

The ideals of Republicans, to a large extent, are more driven by briefs rather than empirics that reflect the reality of the conflicts and problems in a society.

There’s no doubt that some of the ideals are beneficial to the society, such pro-business economic policy and limited the size of government.

Yet these policies are inevitably distorted when it comes to implementation. In social issues, the NC Republicans propose bills that are grounded on Christian beliefs in the name of protecting North Carolinians from liberal influence.

This is the reason that the NCGA has consistently passed eerie laws on which Americans out of the state might not get a clue.

Contrary to what liberals despise, many Christian principles are essentially good moral standards for a civil society, and the foundation of liberty to some extent.

Yet, these principles only work conditioned on individual believers. Christians usually wholeheartedly follow those principles without mandates.

However, any religious principles, no matter how good they are, would become tyrannical once a government implements them and require all citizens to follow.

From this standpoint, it is not difficult to understand why Republicans have a prolong resistance to issues such as gay marriage, abortion and gender equality.

The Republican government in North Carolina has already spent tremendous money and time in defending its effort changing the geopolitical environment and the state’s institutions.

In November, 2016, a three-judge panel of the District Court of North Carolina ruled that the Republican-drawn legislative map were unconstitutional, citing that it is racial gerrymanders that purposefully separated African-American and Hispanic voters into a few districts.

This is one of many examples that the state has been facing legal challenges from civil group and federal government as a result of its peculiar legislature serving not the public interest but the party’s.

The latest move of stripping the incoming governor’s power is the continuation of this direction, that NC Republicans are desperate to exert its religious influence on all North Carolinians.

Conservatives always scoff at liberals so called “overreaction” on such matters.

David French of National Review wrote “… bipartisan election boards and senate approval for gubernatorial appointments are hardly the stuff of which tyrannies are built. ”

It is true that these measures aren’t.

But the due process of making these changes should be questioned.

According to the state Constitution and the general principle of check and balances, the executive and legislature are both branches of state government in which their weight of power should be equal and separate.

Any rearrangement of power between branches is a matter of constitutionality and should proceed with the change of the state constitution.

If the legislation has become all-powerful to strip rights from the executive and the judiciary as lawmakers wish, a state would become a collective tyranny. And this is exactly the situation that the founding fathers want to avoid.

Putting bigotry pieces of legislation such as HB2 should be worrisome, but what is even more troubling is the damage that NC Republicans have done to our state’s democratic institutions that ensure stability and serve the public’s interest regardless of rule from either party.

Unfortunately, the deterioration of these institutions seems unstoppable as the NC Republicans continue to undermine all branches of the state government and the Board of Elections.

Ziyi Mai is a Teaching Assistant at North Carolina State University and a Young Leader columnist. 

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Gerry Dincher/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

 

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