Fixing the Capitol and More in Today’s Daily Curator: 5 Things You Should Read About Politics

Workers install scaffolding for restoration work inside the US Capitol Dome, August 2015 (Architect of the Capitol/Flickr)

Today, I’m introducing a new semi-regular feature on political content you should be paying attention to, but probably aren’t. These links generally won’t be about the story dominating the news cycle. They might not even be up-to-the-minute news. But like everything on PoliticSplainer, the goal is to share knowledge and ideas worth your attention that don’t always get it.

  1. Congress needs more and better-paid staff (Roll Call). Americans know politics is broken, but very few people understand why. If we want Congress to work better, we should start by making Congress a better place to work. Speaking of which…
  2. Citizens United is only 15% of the political cash problem (LA Times). The most under-appreciated problem with money in politics is that raising money sucks up an inordinate amount of elected officials’ time and energy. The solutions are debatable, but Citizens United was only six years ago, and the problems didn’t all start in 2010.
  3. The Republican Party Must Answer for What It Did to Kansas and Louisiana (NY Mag). Take a breath from the partisan headline, because there’s an important point here. Republican governors and legislatures in these two states implemented the kind of fiscal policies Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail say they want at the federal level. It’s a cliche that states are laboratories of democracy. Like any other lab, it’s important to follow up on an experiment by asking whether the hypothesis was correct.
  4. The clockwork rise of Donald Trump and reorganization of American parties (Vox/Mischiefs of Faction). If Donald Trump is remaking the Republican Party into something different, it won’t be the first time. Our two-party system didn’t stop evolving when we settled on Republicans and Democrats as the two sides. Here’s one theory of what a new realignment might look like.
  5. Poll: Nearly 8 in 10 think GOP is ‘playing politics’ on Supreme Court (The Hill). Even if you’re in the minority on this, the public sentiment matters. If the overwhelming view holds and DC believes the voters care, we might start seeing more cracks in the McConnell firewall against President Obama’s nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland to SCOTUS. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois, perhaps the most vulnerable Senate Republican in 2016, has already called for a vote. Watch for more wavering from other vulnerable Republican Senators like Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
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