In the News

Since founding LegitAction, Russ Feingold has published several opinion pieces on the threats our nation faces and what we’re fighting for.

America steals votes from felons. Until it stops, our democracy will be weakened
July 18, 2017
As we face the daily jaw-dropping revelations about the Trump campaign and administration’s actions, keeping our focus on restoring legitimacy to our elections and our democracy has never been more important, and ending the historic wrong of felony disenfranchisement absolutely must be part of our agenda.

Today, felony disenfranchisement bars roughly 6.1 million citizens from the ballot box – one in 13 African Americans nationally.

This denial of a right so inherent to democracy – and to citizenship – is not based on respect for the law, but is rather a historic and deliberate effort to prevent black people from voting.
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Trump’s next attack on democracy: mass voter suppression
June 30, 2017
The most important aspect of any democratic election is participation. A democracy gains its legitimacy through elections only so far as those elections represent the will of the people. Limit voter participation, and there is a direct correlation between the legitimacy of an election and the democratic system. President Trump and Vice-President Pence’s “election integrity” commission is unequivocally declaring war on voters – our democratic legitimacy be damned.

The commission is requesting the same information that Republican state governments have used to create hyper-partisan gerrymandering and enact restrictive voter ID laws. Such measures have been disturbingly successful at suppressing voting of minority and low-income citizens, groups that tend to vote with Democrats. This assault on voters might seem farfetched, except that we’ve seen this strategy too many times before to claim ignorance now.
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America risks one-party rule if gerrymandering isn’t stopped
June 16, 2017
A bedrock of our democratic legitimacy could rise or fall with the US supreme court’s decision whether to hear a case on hyper-partisan gerrymandering.

The supreme court has never before ruled a state’s redistricting plan unconstitutional because of partisan gerrymandering. While the court is often loathe to overturn its own precedent, it has done so in the past when our country has learned hard lessons from its own history.
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Donald Trump acts like an illegitimate president for a reason
May 11, 2017
The American people did not really choose Donald Trump. His presidency exists without the support of the majority of voters and, in turn, without a true mandate from the American people. Trump walks and talks instead like an authoritarian, and seems to believe he is above the people and the law, and need not answer to either.

Firing the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey, demonstrates a whole new level of defiance of the rule of law and our foundational system of checks and balances. More bluntly, it proves just how dangerous an illegitimate president is to our democracy. His actions do not only undermine the legitimacy and credibility of his presidency; they are a direct threat to our constitutionalism and our democratic legitimacy.
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The National Popular Vote Would Empower Minorities
April 5, 2017
The electoral college marginalizes the vast majority of minorities. If elections instead were determined by the National Popular Vote, minorities in every state would gain an increased voice and would decide national elections.

Democrats will cater to minority voters all the more in a popularly-decided election, because their success depends upon it. Similarly, Republicans will strive to chip even a few points off the Democrats’ support with minorities, again putting focus on issues most important to minorities. Minority voters in non-swing states would also become just as important as those in swing states.
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If Gorsuch is confirmed, the legitimacy of the US supreme court won’t recover
March 20, 2017
Never before has Senate leadership so openly and intentionally played political games with our highest court. Already, the legitimacy of the supreme court has taken a severe blow because of it. But, if Gorsuch is confirmed, it would lock in a dangerous precedent from which the legitimacy of our highest court might never recover.

And it is not just the supreme court that will be affected, as the strategy will be used to block appointments to lower courts. This is a slippery slope that ends with decimating the legitimacy of an entire branch of government, and the resulting checks and balances on which our democracy depends.
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The Very Legitimacy of Our Democracy Is Under Threat
March 10, 2017
We are now facing the biggest crisis of legitimacy of our democracy in a generation or more. But the crisis has been building for years.

To understand the roots of our current crisis, we must first look to the orchestrated attack on the pillars of our democracy that began seven years ago, starting with the lawless Citizens United decision. In the years that followed, the attack continued with the recent wave of racially targeted voter-suppression laws and last year’s hijacking of the Supreme Court by the GOP, capped off by a president who lost the popular-vote margin by nearly 3 million votes.
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