The Case for Unions

Published: The Daily Dot (October 9, 2015)

On Wednesday morning, Huffington Post employees sent out a letter to their colleagues calling for them to unionize. “We believe organizing is the best way both to preserve what’s already working and to bring about positive change,” they argued. “Simply, a union will give us a voice in our newsroom’s future.”

The Huffington Post writers may be making headlines right now with their movement to unionize, but they are hardly the first online publication to work toward that goal. Gawker’s media staff made the decision tto unionize back in June, followed swiftly by Salon, Vice, the Guardian, Al-Jazeera America, andThinkProgress. Considering that increasing numbers of Americans are receiving their news and political opinions from the Internet, the digital media unionization trend is noteworthy. read more

The worst thing about Uber’s predatory surge pricing is that everyone is doing it

Published: The Daily Dot (October 6, 2015)

Since early 2012, the mobile company Uber—a ridesharing app that helps consumers request cabs and other transportation services with their smartphones—has employed a form of price gouging known as “surge pricing.” The controversial and often costly practice uses an algorithm to increase the price of service during peak hours—when there’s high demand and low supply. Because Uber’s software allows the company to keep track of how many drivers are on the road (compared to how many potential customers are in need of its services), the company can automatically jack up or reduce fare rates. read more

Here’s the real reason Scott Walker dropped out of the 2016 presidential race

Published: The Daily Dot (September 22, 2015)

On Tuesday morning, Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisc.) announced what many had widely speculated, following a nationwide drop in support: He is dropping out of the presidential race. Walker emphasized in a Facebook post that he hopes his withdrawal will encourage a more “positive” race. That’s a nice message, but optimism isn’t entirely the reason for his withdrawal: The presidential hopeful simply ran out of money.

According to the New York Times, “Walker was among the most successful fundraisers in his party, with a clutch of billionaires in his corner and tens of millions of dollars behind his presidential ambitions.” However, this didn’t allow his campaign to cover all of its expenses, as running for president is increasingly expensive. “Super PACs, Mr. Walker learned, cannot pay rent, phone bills, salaries, airfares or ballot access fees,” the Times’ Nicholas Confessore wrote. read more

5 Reasons Why the U.S. Election System is On Life Support

Published: Question of the Day (August 11, 2015)

The United States election system may not be fatally flawed, but in many ways it’s on life support.

Here are five reasons why that is the case:

1. We make it harder for people to vote.

For one thing, as Eric Black explained in an article for MinnPost, most democratic nations don’t require citizens to register to vote — it happens automatically. “In general, the governments know the names, ages and addresses of most of its citizens and — except in the United States — provide the appropriate polling place with a list of those qualified to vote,” Black writes. By requiring citizens to register, the American government adds an extra step to voting that increases the likelihood busy eligible citizens won’t bother to turn out on Election Day. In addition, Voter ID laws and the Supreme Court’s overturning of Sections 4(b) and 5 of the Voting Rights Act (which required states with a history of discrimination in voting to obtain federal preclearance before changing their voting laws) has even further reduced voter turnout. In the 2014 midterm elections, the first to be held since the Supreme Court ruling, only 41.9 percent of eligible citizens turned out to vote, the lowest number since the Census started collecting voting activity in 1978. The decline was strongest among racial minorities and individuals with low incomes. read more

Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian have more in common than you think

Published: Daily Dot (June 16, 2015)

Back in 2008, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) released an ad attacking Democratic nominee Barack Obama for being a “celebrity.” To illustrate his point, McCain’s commercial included a picture of so-called “celebutante” Paris Hilton. After all, what better way to make Obama’s bid for the Oval Office seem absurd than to compare his career with that of someone whose name literally appears next to “professional celebrity” in the Urban Dictionary? read more

3 things Americans need to do if they’re sick of money in politics

Published: Daily Dot (June 12, 2015)

A new Iowa group wants to teach the Internet about the evils of money in politics. Called “Iowa Pays the Price,” the Washington Times reports that “the group plans to spend about $500,000 on an educational campaign that will include social media and online videos.”

However, the Internet seems to already share the sentiment. Last week, a comprehensive survey by the New York Times discovered that 85 percent of Americans support campaign finance reform. A whopping 84 percent of the respondents argued that “money has too much influence” in politics today, and 66 percent believe the wealthy have more influence on the political process than ordinary Americans. read more

7 times Bernie Sanders broke the Internet

Published: Daily Dot (May 19, 2015), Salon (May 23, 2015)

Say what you will about the presidential candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), but if nothing else, it has certainly introduced some interesting ideas into America’s political debate. Considering that the most recent polls show Hillary Clinton with a nearly five-to-one lead over her nearest rival, this can only be viewed as a positive thing.

As Reddit’s favorite politician, Bernie Sanders has enormous influence on our political discourse, and his recent policies have been making huge headlines on the Internet. Here are seven ways in which our national discussion on a wide range of issues could be transformed by the Sanders campaign. read more

The real reason Mike Huckabee keeps running for president

Published: Daily Dot (May 6, 2015)

Shortly after Mike Huckabee ended his campaign for president in 2008, he began another career—this time as the host of his very own show on Fox News. If you want to understand Huckabee’s reason for making a recent entry into the 2016 race, you must start by recognizing that being an Also Ran can be very, very profitable.

After all, Huckabee’s chances of actually winning are quite slim. “Mr. Huckabee would seem to face greater obstacles than during his first presidential campaign, when he battled only a couple of rivals for the party’s conservative base,” writes Trip Gabriel of the New York Times. “Now half a dozen or more declared and likely candidates appeal to social conservatives, and Mr. Huckabee’s party has moved further rightward.” read more