US electoral system ranks low among democracies

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The latest report from the Electoral Integrity Project is as surprising as it is expected. The annual survey measuring the integrity of elections around the world (this year, surveying elections between 2012 and 2015, based on the opinions of 2,000 election experts worldwide across 49 categories) has found that western Europe scores high, Africa scores low, and that a host of other countries score very differently than you might think.

…If you’re familiar with some of the more absurd US election laws, it may not surprise you that this year’s report finds that the US electoral system ranks lower than any other long-established democracy on Earth – 47th out of 139 countries overall.

The whole report is over here [.pdf]. For the full score sheet, click here.

We’re number 2, we’re number 2

Jesse Philips

New Mexico is the second-most federally dependent state in the nation behind only Mississippi, according to a new report from the financial website Wallethub.

That’s actually down one spot from last year, when the site ranked it No. 1 in the nation.

WalletHub compared the 50 states based on state residents’ dependency and state government dependency, looking specifically at each state’s return on taxes paid to the federal government (calculated by dividing federal funding by IRS collections); its share of federal jobs and federal funding as a percentage of state revenue.

New Mexico ranked highest in the nation in terms of federal contracts received and second-highest in federal grants received. It was fourth in return on taxes paid to the federal government, eighth in federal funding as a percentage of state revenue and fifth in its share of federal jobs.

Federal spending in New Mexico has long made up a huge share of the state’s economy. The state is home to two national laboratories, and federal land management agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management also have a large presence. The state’s persistently high poverty rate and aging population mean it also draws a large share of federal social spending, including Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

This is one of the so-called improvements that are bleated by hacks who praise our moderate Republican governor. Susana Martinez gets the moderate title because she hasn’t succeeded in being as corrupt an idjit as Sam Brownback of Kansas or Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. In addition, they have wholly tame conservative state legislatures that let them experiment with curing economic problems with direct additions of poverty, handing tax dollars back to corporate treasuries, slicing-and-dicing education.

Governor Susana tried all of those – and didn’t succeed. She put some healthcare providers out of business with phony claims of fraud. The Republican tradition of lying about voter registration wasted $200K – and came up with about a dozen improperly-registered immigrants, most of whom didn’t vote anyway.

She has succeeded in increasing unemployment. She gets bonus points from the Republican National Committee for that one. Meanwhile, maintaining the highest-paid scientists dedicated to death and destruction in the world remains a higher priority than dealing with climate change. Los Alamos coneheads love her.

Hopefully, she’ll be Donald Trump’s choice for vice-president.