Our media coverage is often dominated by one big story that crowds out nearly everything else. As an antidote, every week, Nation interns try to cut through the echo chamber and choose one good article in their area of interest that they feel should receive more attention. Please check out their favorite stories below, watch for this feature each week and use the comments section below to alert us to any important articles you feel warrant broader attention.
Buster Brown focuses on campaign donations in the 2012 election.
“Can vouchers fix campaign finance?” by Dylan Matthews. The Washington Post, July 22, 2012.
A growing number of campaign finance experts support a donation-based voucher system for congressional elections. Writing in Ezra Klein’s Wonk Blog, Dylan Matthews notes that professors at Yale and Harvard have been advocating for a scheme where every voter has a $50 voucher to give to a campaign of their choosing. Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD) plans to introduce legislation that would do just this. The Grassroots Democracy Act is comprised of three parts: 1. a $50 voucher program, as described, 2. a matching system where campaigns get $5 in public funds for every $1 donation if they reject PAC money, and 3. a fund that provides financial assistance for any candidate whose speech is being drowned out by super PACS. The system would expand participation in the donation process. Now, only .26 percent of Americans give more than $200 to a congressional campaign.
Marisa Carroll focuses on gender and sexuality.
“Pariahs amid the rainbow,” by Elly Fishman. The Chicago Reader, July 18, 2012.
The Boystown neighborhood on the Northside of Chicago is so named for its gay-friendly residents, businesses and history—it was the site of Chicago’s first Pride Parade in 1970. Boystown is hailed as a place where LGBTQ people can thrive, but this Chicago Reader article complicates that narrative by profiling the queer, homeless teens who also reside there. As the national dialogue about gay rights becomes ever more mainstream (for better and for worse), this piercing look at underground Chicago is a must-read.
Matthew Cunningham-Cook focuses on the role of dissent in the contemporary United States.
“With Poverty Worst in Decades, Maybe We Owe Tavis and Cornel an Apology,” by Boyce Watkins. Black Agenda Report, July 24, 2012.
Tavis Smiley and Cornel West have been aggressively criticized by Obama administration loyalists by pointing out that the Obama administration has ushered in the most extreme black poverty in a generation, in addition to absolutely no confrontation to the massive criminalization of said poverty. Boyce Watkins correctly identifies that the loss of the last gains made by the War on Poverty should invite the left to listen more closely to the prophetic critiques made my Smiley and West.