Democracy is expensive, but so is the alternative.

This week, Robert P. Alvarez looks at Florida’s new poll tax, designed to override an extremely popular ballot initiative restoring the voting rights of people who’ve served time. The anti-democratic law comes not with just a moral or legal cost, but an economic one: $325 million a year. And Khalil Bendib skewers the Supreme Court’s extremely anti-democratic ruling on gerrymandering.

Meanwhile, we look at the politics of climate. Mallika Khanna surveys places from India to Puerto Rico to Louisiana and determines that climate change is a poor people’s issue, not an elite one. And Jill Richardson notes that even the extremely anti-scientific Donald Trump senses that voters want answers, not denial, on the issue.

Also this week, Alissa Quart says tech leaders would be much better people if they studied the humanities. And Jim Hightower tells Democrats to grow a spine already.

New This Week…

Return of the Poll Tax | Robert P. Alvarez
Florida’s anti-democratic poll tax will cost the state hundreds of thousands of voters — and hundreds of millions of dollars.

Note to Tech Companies: Please Read History | Alissa Quart
In an age of data theft, hate speech, and runaway capitalism, the humanities are an antidote to moral rot.

Climate Change Is a Poor People’s Issue | Mallika Khanna
Poor and working communities stand to gain the most from protections against corporations that expose them to pollution.

The Good News About Trump’s Very Bad Environment Speech | Jill Richardson
Even Trump now senses that the electorate wants a 2020 candidate who takes climate change seriously.

Democrats, Grow a Spine | Jim Hightower
Fighting progressive policies most Americans support will lose you “centrist” votes, not gain them.

The Gerrymandered States of America | Khalil Bendib
The Supreme Court’s gerrymandering ruling could lock in white supremacist power for generations.

In Case You Missed It…

Our Immigrant Prisons Are an Atrocity | Lizet Ocampo
Children are suffering and dying. Enough is enough.

What Sanctions Mean for My Iranian-American Family | Mina Shahinfar
As innocent people suffer, break-ins are on the rise — including at my grandparents’ house.

We Have the Money to Fix Our Food System | Brian Wakamo
Imagine supporting farmers markets, child nutrition, and local agriculture with money we spend on factory farms.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and the editor of

OtherWords commentaries are free to re-publish in print and online — all it takes is a simple attribution to To get a roundup of our work each Wednesday, sign up for our free weekly newsletter here.

(Note: Images credited to Getty or Shutterstock are not covered by our Creative Commons license. Please license these separately if you wish to use them.)