Democracy's 'crisis' / Your school, rated / Bye-bye, Big Bird

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Democracy’s ‘crisis.’ Vox’s Ezra Klein says the U.S. political system’s “legitimacy is failing” because “a constitutional system built to calm the tensions of America’s founding era is distorting the political competition between parties, making the country both less democratic and less Democratic.”
National Review’s Jonah Goldberg concedes the Senate’s “not as democratic as critics would like, because states with very small populations get the same number of senators as states with very big populations.”
Libertarian columnist and lawyer David S. D’Amato: “Bipartisanship is a greater danger than political polarization.”
The New York Times’ David Leonhardt contends “democracy protection and revitalization” ranks, with climate change, among the country’s biggest challenges.
An environmentalist finds hope in the world’s recycling predicament.

Pritzker’s discrimination headache. What Politico’s Shia Kapos calls “an October-surprise lawsuit” accuses J.B. Pritzker’s gubernatorial campaign of discrimination and harassment against black and Latino campaign staffers.
But the Sun-Times notes that he’s “pumped more of his own money into a campaign than any other self-financing candidate in U.S. history” …
… and that his and Gov. Rauner’s tax returns show they’re both “still rich.”
Requests for Chicago mail-in ballots are on track to pass World War II records.
The Illinois National Guard is on watch for Election Day cyberattacks.
Mother Jones’ David Corn: This year’s election “really, really is the most important contest in decades.”
Don’t vote dumb: Check out the Chicago Public Square voter guide—including judicial candidate ratings (a feature that often jumps to the top of Square’s most-clicked links).

Why Obama voters switched. A new study fingers the main reason millions who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 voted for Donald Trump in 2016.
Slate’s chief political correspondent: “Republicans Aren’t Running on Taxes Anymore. They’re Running on Bigotry.”
A Cornell University professor reflects on Sears’ historic role in fighting racism: “The catalog was a real opportunity for African-Americans to evade this racist monopoly they encountered on an everyday basis.”
The Supreme Court will hear a case that could determine whether social media companies can censor their users.
CityLab’s Kriston Capps: the Trump administration’s proposal to close the sidewalk in front of the White House “would mean demolishing the country’s most vital public forum.”

Your school, rated. ProPublica and Chalkbeat have teamed up to create an interactive database to examine racial disparities in opportunities and discipline at public and charter schools in Illinois and Chicago and around the country. Type in your school or district’s name here.
Hear filmmaker Steve James talk about the achievement gap in a Chicago Public Square podcast about his documentary series America to Me.

New cop-shooting video. Newly released security footage shows a Chicago officer shooting an unarmed autistic man.
The quarterly report from Chicago’s inspector general confirms people’s “dim view of government”—with tales of what the Sun-Times calls “sexual misconduct, criminal theft, solicitation of bribes and misappropriation of funds.”

CTA bus crash hurts dozens. At least 26 were injured when a bus hit a pole early this morning.
At least three people were hurt when an SUV slammed into a Chicago building.

Emanuel’s feel-good budget. The mayor’s ready to toss what the Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman calls a “life-preserver” proposal to his City Council allies today as he presents the final spending plan of his administration.
WBEZ: Four things to know about the mayor’s budget.
Watch live, beginning at 10 a.m.

Bye-bye, Big Bird. The guy inside the big yellow suit on Sesame Street for 50 years is flying the coop.
Spoiler: How the Roseanne sequel series The Conners killed off Roseanne Barr’s character last night.

Eagle-eyed reader Mike Braden spotted a word repeated needlessly in yesterday’s Square.
As an experiment, this edition of Square comes to you without images. What do you think?

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