Change the Rules draws heavily upon the research from Harvard Business School by Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter, published September 2017, and available here.




Change the Rules draws heavily upon the research from Harvard Business School by Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter, published September 2017, and available here.


Politics is a business that competes on ideology, not solutions. Today’s rules create a perverse incentive not to solve problems.

The focus on wedge issues and negativity are creating success for politicians, but no results for America.

Six Myths that keep us in the Swamp

  • Electing any one candidate within the current system can change the rules.
  • The impact of money and special interests can be fully removed from politics.
  • Well-meaning calls for bipartisanship will have much impact.
  • An independent 3rd party will create new competition, under the current rules.
  • The industry can be regulated under the current structure.
  • Any single change will be the needed silver bullet.

VENTURE DEEPER INTO THE SWAMP


Facts That Matter

  • Congress has a 17% approval rating and a 95% reelection rate (2016).
  • 75% of elected officials in this country are winning office without having to communicate with voters outside of their own party.
  • U.S. trails most developed countries in voter turnout.
  • Non-voters (40%) do not matter at all. The “average voter” (another 30-40%) get only to choose the least bad candidate.

Understanding the Business of Politics


Public Opinion has virtually no impact on U.S. policy.

As the current political climate becomes ever more partisan, the most moderate members are leaving both the Senate and Congress. The following two charts track the declining proportion of moderates in both houses thru 2015. In 2016 – 2017 we have seen an acceleration of this trend – especially the high number of Republicans who are choosing not to run for reelection.

Download PDF to dive deeper
SIMPSON-BOWLS AS A CASE EXAMPLE OF A FAILURE TO DELIVER SOLUTIONS

Simpson-Bowles, an effort to create a sustainable federal budget, provides a telling example of the political systems inability to deliver solutions. A substantial majority of Americans agree that our unsustainable federal debt and deficits must be addressed. In 2010, President Obama established the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform – most often referred to by the last names of its co-chairs, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles.

The product of their work was a sound report with a well-crafted compromise solution. The preamble to the report says:

The president and the leaders of both parties in both chambers of Congress asked us to address the nation’s fiscal challenge in this decade and beyond. We have worked to offer an aggressive, fair, balanced, and bipartisan proposal – a proposal as serious as the problems we face. None of us likes every element of our plan, and each of us had to tolerate provisions we previously or presently oppose in order to reach a principled compromise. We were willing to put our differences aside to forge a plan because our nation will certainly be lost without one.

The Simpson-Bowles report provided an actual, comprehensive solution. Why did it go nowhere? While there was bipartisan support from numerous legislators, this wasn’t enough. In practice, neither party was willing to go against its party orthodoxy, or give up or even compromise on any of its special interests.

Instead, Simpson-Bowles died a bipartisan death. Representative Paul Ryan, who served on the commission, voted against it. President Obama, who created the commission, declined to forcefully support it. No other legislators jumped in to save it (although some from both parties were courageous enough to voice public support). Most legislators were unwilling to go against their party line and risk a primary challenge from their right or their left.

Simpson Bowles demonstrates an important reality: the [business] duopoly controlling today’s political competition has no accountability for results. Neither representative Ryan nor President Obama nor Congress paid a political price for failing to deliver a solution to this pressing national problem. President Obama won a second term, Representative Ryan became speaker of the house, and the reelection rate in Congress was 90%.

Source: Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter, Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America. Harvard Business school. 2017.

VENTURE DEEPER INTO THE SWAMP



Understanding the Business of Politics


Public Opinion has virtually no impact on U.S. policy.

  • Congress has a 17% approval rating and a 95% reelection rate (2016).
  • 75% of elected officials in this country are winning office without having to communicate with voters outside of their own party.
  • U.S. trails most developed countries in voter turnout.
  • Non-voters (40%) do not matter at all. The “average voter” (another 30-40%) get only to choose the least bad candidate.
SIMPSON-BOWLS AS A CASE EXAMPLE OF A FAILURE TO DELIVER SOLUTIONS

Simpson-Bowles, an effort to create a sustainable federal budget, provides a telling example of the political systems inability to deliver solutions. A substantial majority of Americans agree that our unsustainable federal debt and deficits must be addressed. In 2010, President Obama established the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform – most often referred to by the last names of its co-chairs, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles.

The product of their work was a sound report with a well-crafted compromise solution. The preamble to the report says:

The president and the leaders of both parties in both chambers of Congress asked us to address the nation’s fiscal challenge in this decade and beyond. We have worked to offer an aggressive, fair, balanced, and bipartisan proposal – a proposal as serious as the problems we face. None of us likes every element of our plan, and each of us had to tolerate provisions we previously or presently oppose in order to reach a principled compromise. We were willing to put our differences aside to forge a plan because our nation will certainly be lost without one.

The Simpson-Bowles report provided an actual, comprehensive solution. Why did it go nowhere? While there was bipartisan support from numerous legislators, this wasn’t enough. In practice, neither party was willing to go against its party orthodoxy, or give up or even compromise on any of its special interests.

Instead, Simpson-Bowles died a bipartisan death. Representative Paul Ryan, who served on the commission, voted against it. President Obama, who created the commission, declined to forcefully support it. No other legislators jumped in to save it (although some from both parties were courageous enough to voice public support). Most legislators were unwilling to go against their party line and risk a primary challenge from their right or their left.

Simpson Bowles demonstrates an important reality: the [business] duopoly controlling today’s political competition has no accountability for results. Neither representative Ryan nor President Obama nor Congress paid a political price for failing to deliver a solution to this pressing national problem. President Obama won a second term, Representative Ryan became speaker of the house, and the reelection rate in Congress was 90%.

Source: Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter, Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America. Harvard Business school. 2017.

As the current political climate becomes ever more partisan, the most moderate members are leaving both the Senate and Congress. The following two charts track the declining proportion of moderates in both houses thru 2015. In 2016 – 2017 we have seen an acceleration of this trend – especially the high number of Republicans who are choosing not to run for reelection.

Download PDF to dive deeper

SOLUTIONS

Smart money will
be changing the rules.


  • Connector.

    Put two-thirds of your effort toward the candidates and policies you favor.

    aveve

  • Connector.

    Invest one-third of your political effort in changing the structure that determines your choice of candidates and how they need to behave to get reelected.


How do we move from a political swamp to a healthy democracy?


solutions to politics by changing the rules
Learn More

We channel contributions to implement strategies that change the rules of our political process.



Strategies


triangle point to the rightOpen all primary elections

Institute rank voting

Eliminate partisan redistricting

Open presidential debate access

Expand early voting and make registration easier

Increase transparency in campaign financing

Prohibit lobbyist bundling

Restrict revolving doors

Tactics


triangle point to the right

Ballot Initiatives

.

Legal challenges

.

Legislative pressure

Implementors



LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ORGANIZATIONS WE SUPPORT:

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issue one logo
represent us logo
change the rule logo
the campaign legal center logo
fairvote logo
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ABOUT US

Change the Rules was founded in 2018 and is managed by Tom Curren. View bio



Change the Rules draws heavily upon the research from Harvard Business School by Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter, published September 2017, and available here.