Ilona Nickels
About Ilona         
Ilona's Blog         
Audience Feedback         
Capitol Corner         
Q's and A's         
Recommended Reading         
"Why Congress Matters"         
3rd Edition Now Available       

Contact Ilona         

Ilona's Blog

March 2021

Talking Filibuster Fallacies by Ilona Nickels

The current raging debate over the need to reform or get rid of the filibuster lacks clarity. Three truths need to be acknowledged if anyone seeks to understand the issue rather than to grandstand it.

First, both parties have consistently used the filibuster over the years when it suited them. No one has a lock on using or abusing the filibuster. You could create an OED-size tome of hypocrisy by aggregating all the speeches defending the filibuster by Senators who now proclaim it to be an impediment to conducting the people's business.

Second, the majority party in the Senate will at some point become the minority party. It is inevitable.

 Read The Full Post

November 2020

Defending the Electoral College by Ilona Nickels

The Electoral College exists to prevent one region of the country from dominating national election outcomes due to simply having more residents than any other state.

California should pick our President, saving the rest of the states a lot of bother. Would anyone agree with that statement? Yet, that would be the result if the voices wanting to abolish the Electoral College were to prevail.

The most recent instance of a presidential election decided by the Electoral College vote, and not the popular vote, was Trump v. Clinton in 2016.  

 Read The Full Post

October 2020

Bipartisanship: RX for Progress by Ilona Nickels

We have to see compromise as a necessary part of governing,
and not always as a selling out of one's principles.

Washington's favorite buzz word is "bipartisanship." Everyone thinks they know what it means, but all don't have the same meaning in mind when they use the word. Bipartisanship implies cooperation in policy-making among two parties that see things from different perspectives. It implies rising above the usual party divide to seek an outcome that serves the national interest.

On the other hand, it does not imply surrendering all principles just in order to get a deal.

 Read The Full Post

September 2020

Citizen Influence on Congress by Ilona Nickels

It's said that Washington is swamped with lobbyists. It is.
So where does that leave the average citizen? With the advantage.

Cynicism about Congress is understandable. It also leads to a dangerous passivity. Congress doesn't legislate in a vacuum. It is a representative institution and it really does reflect the cascade of voices bombarding it. Individual citizens must be part of the noise or risk being overlooked as decisions that affect their livelihoods and industries are made.

People often ask: Why can't Congress just get its act together and get something done?

Read The Full Post