"...both parties are willfully ignoring the greatest
our democratic process, further exacerbated by the 2010 U.S. Supreme
Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC, a ruling that legitimizes the
corporate takeover of American political campaigns."
Catherine Crier in her book Patriot Acts,
What Americans Must Do To Save the Republic..
regard for low voter turnout, Republicans have been making it harder to
vote. It's the only way the wealthy minority can rule.
Presidential candidates agreed that elections are
rigged, but not the way Republicans said.
U.S. media played down
underlying structural problems in U.S.
money selects the credible candidates, Citizens
United, gerrymandering, voter suppression, misinformation or
'fake news' (mostly Republican),
a partisan Supreme
College, machines that cast doubt on
the accuracy of ballot counts, prison
population disenfranchisement, interference from the NSA,
FBI and CIA with access to universal surveillance, dirty
tricks, influence from other countries. All of them game the system.
Also, the DNC favored Hillary,
but the media story blamed the Russians for passing revealing documents to Wikileaks.
In 2016, the two corporate dependent parties produced
candidates with unfavorable ratings, controlled debates, effectively
excluded minor parties, and severely limited discussion. There was not
one debate question about climate change;
no discussion of our addiction to all things military, no mention of
harsh treatment of whistle blowers; or the universal
surveillance speeding us to dystopia.
winners of the 2016 election, want large tax cuts for themselves,
elimination of the inheritance tax (paid by .2%.), police
militarization, impenetrable borders, expasion of the world's largest military, and, disregarding the NPT expanding
the nuclear aresenal. To pay for all that, their proposed
budget eliminates health insurance for 30
million Americans, voucherizes Medicare, privatizes Social Security,
and erodes other social supports.
reform is essential if we are again to have democracy.
Improvements could include universal voter
registration, roll back of Citizens United,
disclosure of large campaign contributions, voting
machine standards to include open software,
restoration of the Voting Rights Act, a national holiday for elections,
a requirement that candidates for high office release tax returns, and
he Electoral College.
The most important single election change (just passed in
Maine), would be range
voting so that minor parties are not spoilers. Using range voting
runoff voting (IRV) "voters
in order of preference. If no candidate receives an overall
majority of first preferences, the
candidates with fewest votes are eliminated one by one, and their votes
transferred according to their second and third preferences (and so on)
and all votes retallied, until one candidate achieves a majority. The term
'instant runoff voting' is used because this
process resembles a series of run-off
In reality, studies show that the U.S. government does
about the opposite of what people, when polled, would want. That is
reflected both by the budget and the agenda of the Congress.
If we don't have legitimate elections, we can't have legitimate government.
- - - -
We badly need election reform. To assure election
integrity, there need to be initiatives on several areas:
The simplest and best reform would be Range Voting or IRV.
It would make for much better decisions in, for example, the
primaries where there are several candidates on each side. We have
a process now which makes it counterproductive for people
to vote for the candidates that they really like. It makes
third parties all but impossible and limits discussiion, freuently to
non-issues. Many people favor IRV, but
it is not on the table now. Why is that ?
I could guess the answer is that the two major parties like
the kind of monopoly or paralysis that
they have on the process. Discussion of issues is very limited. Neither
one is advocating IRV. The party mechanism is
certainly not part of the Constitution, but it clearly causes
government dysfunction. We could see, when Republicans
branches of government, that checks and
balances wither away, and the Constitution is at risk. This looks like
a Weimar moment. We too can
become an authoritarian state. See fascism.htm
Election day should be a national holiday.
- Debates should be administered by
a non-partisan group like the League of Women Voters (as it used to be.)
Redistricting should not be done by partisans. Otherwise real elections may not again be possible.
Media is conflicted. It is most
interested in which candidate is raising the most money
because its profits will be best from the well-funded candidates. So their
story is about money, and not about the public interest. Since
major media are all corporate entities and very concentrated, they
have an agenda that we have seen clearly through the Bush
years. They are cheerleaders for war, advertising
spammers, culturally depraved, ignorant on important public policy issues, partisan
Republicans, deliberately misinforming, and heavily self-promoting.
Republicans are working hard to further concentrate media using the
FCC, and that is an immediate danger. The first thing to be taken
in any coup is media. Republicans now own it. (See Debating for Dummies: Eric Alterman
on a CNN debate.) See notes on media at media.htm
Please mount strong opposition to Republican's initiative to
further concentrate media. Strong anti-trust action to break
broadcasting into small pieces would create a lot more jobs, it
would help to assure a diversity of viewpoints, and it would
satisfy the Constitutional intent of avoiding concentrated,
unchecked power. Net Neutrality is at
It would also be a good idea to have some balance in media. It should not ALL be corporate or
privatized as it is now. There needs to be some public media as well. Media
should not be allowed to determine which candidates are viable,
what the agenda is going to be, or to
trivialize the process as they do.
Campaign messages should be on free, dedicated public access channels. Political
advertising should be illegal.
There should be a federal standards for secure
election machines, and sensible procedures to prevent election rigging. See
notes on elections at elections.htm
We should discard the 'electoral college'.
- The competition among the States
to see who can have the
earliest primary is non-sensical. There has got to be a better way.
Perhaps an 'American Idol' style program on CSPAN could be a start
toward a real democratic process. Either that or we could make our
way to a Parliamentary style process. I think Bush could not have
been the product of a parliamentary system. Bush is first hand
evidence of a dysfunctional election process.
Ideas for a broader reform agenda are at Reform.htm