You are browsing the archive for 2020 August 03.

Avatar of admin

by admin

How the Electoral College Was Nearly Abolished in 1970

August 3, 2020 in History

By Dave Roos

The House approved a constitutional amendment to dismantle the indirect voting system, but it was killed in the Senate by a filibuster.

On September 18, 1969, the U.S. House of Representatives voted by an overwhelming 338 to 70 to send a constitutional amendment to the Senate that would have dismantled the Electoral College, the indirect system by which Americans elect the president and vice president.

“It was the only time in American history that a chamber of Congress actually approved an amendment to abolish the Electoral College,” says Jesse Wegman, a member of the New York Times editorial board and author of Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College.

The House vote, which came in the wake of an extraordinarily close presidential election, mirrored national sentiment about scrapping an electoral system that allowed a candidate to win the presidency even while losing the popular vote. A 1968 Gallup poll found that 80 percent of Americans believed it was time to elect the nation’s highest office by direct popular vote.

Yet just a year later, the Senate bill that would have ended the Electoral College was dead in the water, filibustered by a cadre of Southern lawmakers intent on preserving the majority’s grip on electoral power. Despite widespread bipartisan support for the amendment in both large and small states, the Senate came five votes shy of breaking the filibuster.

“It was a remarkable effort,” says Wegman of the late 1960s movement that came “painfully close” to killing the Electoral College. “We’ve never seen anything like it before, and I fear we may never see anything like it again.”

READ MORE: What Is the Electoral College?

‘One Person, One Vote’

The Electoral College came under fire in the 1960s as part of a larger effort to win full voting rights for Black Americans, particularly in the South. While Civil Rights lawyers fought discriminatory practices like poll taxes that disproportionately barred Blacks from voting, others were challenging a lesser-known phenomenon called “malapportionment.”

Malapportionment refers to the practice—not limited to Southern states—of allotting unequal numbers of representatives to state legislatures based on the population distribution of the state. In theory, the most populous districts in each state should have the most representatives in the legislature, but in practice that wasn’t the case. Starting in the 1920s, a wave of rural Blacks flooded into cities, in both the North and …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

5-day long Russo-Georgian War begins

August 3, 2020 in History

By History.com Editors

On August 8, 2008, a long-simmering conflict between Russia and Georgia boiled over into a shooting war between the small Caucasian nation and the superpower of which it was once a part. The brief Russo-Georgian War was the most violent episode in a conflict that began more than a decade before.

Georgia declared independence from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as the latter was breaking up in 1991. A short time later, pro-Russian separatists took control of two regions composing a combined 20 percent of Georgia’s territory, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. A stalemate ensued. In 2008, American President George W. Bush announced his support for Georgia’s and Ukraine’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a move that Russia viewed as tantamount to putting a hostile military on its borders. Relations between Russia and Georgia had already been tense, with the aggressive Vladimir Putin in power in Russia and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili declaring his intent to bring Abkhazia and South Ossetia back under Georgian control.

After accusations of aggression from both sides throughout the spring and summer, South Ossetian troops violated the ceasefire by shelling Georgian villages on August 1. Sporadic fighting and shelling ensued over the coming days, until Saakashvili declared a ceasefire on August 7. Just before midnight, seeing that the separatists would not, in fact, cease firing, Georgia’s military launched an attack on Tskhinvali in South Ossetia. Russian troops had already entered South Ossetia—illegally—and responded quickly to the Georgian attack. As Georgian troops seized Tskhinvali, the fighting spilled over into Abkhazia. The initial Georgian advance was repulsed, however, and within a few days Russia seized most of the disputed territory and was advancing into Georgia proper. The two sides agreed to a ceasefire in the early hours of August 13.

In the aftermath of the war, Russia formally recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. Russia subsequently occupied them, in violation of the ceasefire. Russia conducted a similar maneuver in Ukraine in 2014, annexing the Crimean Peninsula and backing separatists in the west of the country. The Russo-Georgian War displaced an estimated 192,000 people, many of whom fled ethnic cleansing of Georgians in the separatist territories.

…read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

Dayton, Ohio shooting becomes second mass shooting in 24-hour period

August 3, 2020 in History

By History.com Editors

A mass shooting takes place early in the morning in Dayton, Ohio on August 4, 2019. The killing of nine people and the injuries of 27 was significant in its own right, but this mass shooting was particularly notable for being America’s second in less than 24 hours. Just one day before, a shooter opened fire at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 and injuring 24.

The Dayton shooting, the prior shooting in El Paso, and the nation’s shock at seeing two such events in such close proximity renewed calls for gun control in the United States, but ultimately the double massacres did not bring about such changes.

The Ohio gunman had been aware of the El Paso shooting, in which a white nationalist believed to be targeting Latinos attacked a crowded Wal-Mart. The Ohio shooter had liked social media posts calling the Texas shooter a white supremacist and calling for gun control, but an investigation later revealed that he had harbored violent tendencies for years and been disciplined in high school for planning a mass shooting.

He was seen leaving a bar in the Oregon Historic District of Dayton roughly 12 hours after the El Paso shooting, but returned less than an hour later, around 1 am, and opened fire on the crowd with a modified AR-15. Police who had already been on the scene killed him within 32 seconds of his first shot. Authorities later confirmed that the police had also shot two people, and that the gunman’s sister was among the dead.

Mass shootings were nothing new in the United States. Nonetheless, the back-to-back massacres managed to shock the nation, renewing calls for gun control and momentarily bringing the nascent Democratic presidential primary race to a halt.

…read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

Geraldine Ferraro's 1984 VP Nomination Was Historic, But Failed to Clinch a Win

August 3, 2020 in History

By Lesley Kennedy

With their presidential ticket, Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro made history in 1984. But that didn’t help them win.

When Walter Mondale . “Walter Mondale’s public service was dedicated to opening doors for disadvantaged groups and he constructed his VP selection process consistent with that commitment.”

While previously the only diversity question for the office had been “whether to choose a Catholic for the ticket,” according to Goldstein, Mondale interviewed three women for the job: Ferraro, Mayor Diane Feinstein of San Francisco and Kentucky Gov. Martha Layne Collins. He also considered two African Americans and one Latino mayor, as well as more conventional candidates including Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, Sen. Gary Hart and Gov. Mike Dukakis.

“Mondale took a lot of heat for considering people who did not have conventional experience but he recognized that since women and other minorities had been excluded from participating at the highest levels of national electoral and appointive service, one had to seek talent in less conventional ways,” Goldstein says. “Ferraro was a three-term representative who was seen as a rising star in the party. Choosing the first woman for a national ticket was consistent with Mondale’s commitments and represented a strategic effort to remake the electoral map.”

In his 2010 book, The Good Fight, Mondale wrote that he thought Ferraro would be “an excellent vice president and could be a good president. … I also knew that I was far behind Reagan, and that if I just ran a traditional campaign, I would never get in the game.”

He added that his wife, Joan, urged him to select a woman as vice president. “Joan thought we were far enough along in the movement for women’s rights that the political system had produced plenty of qualified candidates, and she thought voters were ready for a ticket that would break the white-male mold,” Mondale wrote.

Janine Parry, professor of political science at the University of Arkansas, director of the Arkansas Poll and co-author of Women’s Rights in the USA, says Ferraro acknowledged and embraced the fact that gender was the central reason for the choice.

“Feminists of the period, having identified a ‘gender gap’ in men’s and women’s partisan preferences just a few years earlier, pressed Mondale hard for a female running mate,” she says. “Getting a woman on a major party’s ticket was important to feminists on its face, but it also served to differentiate …read more

Source: HISTORY