Justin Miller

Justin Miller is a former Prospect writing fellow and is currently covering politics for the Texas Observer

Recent Articles

The Political Legacy of O’Malley’s Gerrymandered Maryland

‘Governor Gerrymander’ could have made a bad map better; instead he made it worse.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
After the 2010 Tea-Party-fueled Republican takeover of the House, the Democratic Party was desperate to regain the congressional seats they’d lost in 2012. Democrats in the deep-blue state of Maryland had a rare opportunity. If they got creative with the upcoming redistricting of the state, they could likely flip a congressional seat from red to blue. They succeeded. But the result was what many have called the most blatantly gerrymandered congressional district map in the entire country. Operating in a deep blue state, Maryland’s Democratic Party has long utilized the redistricting process as a thinly veiled political maneuver to entrench its power. In 2011, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who is now vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, led that partisan gerrymandering. With the 2016 race ramping up, his gubernatorial tenure will inevitably come under greater scrutiny, and his responsibility for an excessively gerrymandered state could leave...

The Labor Prospect: Getting Sick of No Paid Sick Leave

The case for paid leave, domestic workers win minimum wage protecton, and the fight to grow union membership at McDonald's. 

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File
Welcome to The Labor Prospect, our weekly round-up highlighting the best reporting and latest developments in the labor movement. Despite an expanding patchwork of paid sick leave policies cropping up around the U.S., an In These Times investigation reminds us that this country is woefully behind the rest of the world in terms of such worker rights. Lacking any sort of basic safety net, nearly one-quarter of working mothers are back on the grind within just two weeks of giving birth, the report finds . As Sharon Lerner writes, “most Americans don’t realize quite how out of step we are. It’s not just wealthy, social democratic Nordic countries that make us look bad. With the exception of a few small countries like Papua New Guinea and Suriname, every other nation in the world—rich or poor—now requires paid maternity leave.” As workers’ organizations highlight the problem, Democratic Senators Gillibrand and DeLauro are finally floating a...

The Labor Prospect: Why Jonah Peretti is Wrong on Unions

Buzzfeed's CEO doesn't like unions, the minimum wage fight hits the Deep South, and Amazon's cut-throat culture.  

Bodo Marks/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Welcome to The Labor Prospect, our weekly round-up highlighting the best reporting and latest developments in the labor movement. Good news for labor: More and more Americans are recognizing that unions are a crucial component in the workplace, according to a new Gallup poll . Rising five percentage points since just last year, 58 percent of Americans approve of unions and slightly more want to increase (not lessen) the influence that unions wield. Organized labor’s image has greatly improved since its rock-bottom point in 2009 when just 48 percent of Americans approved of unions. Shattered Perceptions and Misconceptions Buzzfeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti, we think, is a little confused about unions and maybe a tad megalomaniacal. After a growing number of digital media companies have successfully unionized, Peretti felt compelled to share his thoughts on why Buzzfeed is too exceptional to benefit from a unionized workplace. “A lot of the best new-economy companies are...

Rick Perry's Broke Campaign and Our Broken System

Running out of money isn't a problem for campaigns anymore, as long as they have billionaire-backed super PACs to do the work.

(Photo: AP/Rainier Ehrhardt)
The newly bespectacled Rick Perry is facing an existential crisis in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. His foundering campaign committee has already gone broke and his super PAC supporters have taken the reins, essentially subsidizing his presidential bid until he can gain some much-needed momentum. After his failed primary run in 2012, Perry went back to the drawing board and was rumored to be running again in 2016, long before most other candidates emerged. He hired prominent political consultants and went through rigorous policy-training in an attempt to distance himself from his perception as a bumbling George W. Bush part deux. Pundits commended him and as the Republican primary landscape began to take shape, andmany saw him as a first-tier candidate. But as more and more candidates jumped into the ring, Perry struggled to distinguish himself, his polling numbers plummeted, and his campaign fell to a critical new low when he was edged out by Ohio Governor John...

O’Malley Joins Sanders in Calling for Public Campaign Finance

Yesterday, Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley added a new plank to his campaign platform: public campaign financing for congressional elections within five years. The former Maryland governor had previously supported a public-funding model in his state and had hinted on the campaign trail that he would come out with a substantive policy on the federal level soon.

The move comes as the Democratic field is being pushed by campaign-finance reformers to go beyond just calling for a repeal of Citizens United by endorsing robust public campaign financing. Last week, Senator Bernie Sanders announced that he would introduce legislation that would institute a federal public campaign-finance model.

Earlier this week, prominent campaign-finance reformer and Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig said he is considering a presidential run as a referendum candidate, with a sole focus on restoring democracy through election reform.

Hillary Clinton, whose campaign is heavily reliant on mega-donors, has made vague platitudes suggesting support for public campaign-finance models in addition to her support for overturning Citizens United, but as of now she hasn’t articulated a clear policy.

While O’Malley’s plan would expand public financing to congressional candidates, it doesn’t specify whether it would be done through public matching funds, vouchers, a grant model, or something else. Nor does it address how to fix the ailing presidential public funding system. And it certainly doesn’t offer a realistic path for managing to get such a measure through Congress, but to O’Malley’s credit, nobody has proposed a cure for Republican ineptitude … yet.

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