How do we move from a political swamp to a healthy democracy?
Success for politicians. No results for America.
- The parties thrive by exploiting “wedge” issues based upon ideology.
- There is a perverse incentive not to solve problems but keep controversy alive with false “either/or” alternatives in order to motivate the active partisan voters.
- Compromise is seen as treason. Bipartisanship is seen as weakness.
- Major problems (job creation, healthcare, education, immigration, deficits, etc.) are largely unaddressed and worsening.
- Fewer laws are being enacted by congress.
- Solutions address reality, not ideology.
- Solutions integrate many perspectives and make sound tradeoffs.
- Solutions make real progress, and they are improved over time.
- Practical solutions to solve our nation’s important problems.
- Legislative and executive actions that actually work and make things better.
Limits to Competition
- Congress has an 11% approval rating and a 96% reelection rate.
- The most extreme partisan activists act as ideological gatekeepers for both parties in all primary elections.
- The rules are stacked against any candidate running a viable campaigned outside of this two party monopoly.
- Candidates have to build support among moderates and independents, not just ideological extremists – in both primary and general elections.
- Redistricting is based upon objective, not partisan, criteria.
- Presidential debate rules are changed to allow participation by viable 3rd party candidates.
Few Voters (“Customers”) that Matter
“Customers” that matter a lot:
- Big funders/special interests.
- Partisan primary voters (only 20-30% of the electorate, sometimes as low as 5%).
“Customers” that don’t matter much:
- Non-voters (40% of the electorate) may express their opinions in surveys but play no role in the political system.
- Average voters (e.g. non-primary voters – 30-40% of the electorate) only matter to the extent that swing voters may choose the least bad candidate in a closed 2-party system.
- An engaged majority determine the candidates in primary elections.
- Big money is still important but is less partisan, more transparent and less linked to lobbying and jobs.
- Restrict revolving doors.
Barriers to Participation
Beyond the resignation based on limited choice and dominance of money in politics, voters face…
- Onerous voter ID laws
- Archaic Tuesday election day
- 40-60 % do not vote at all.
- 20–30% vote only in general elections
- Increased incentives to vote (My vote matters, and I have more choice of candidates.)
- Eliminate onerous voter ID laws
- Make voting easier (vote-by-mail, same-day registration, automatic registration, shift election day)
- Achieving a healthy benchmark of 75% voter turnout (like Australia, Israel, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, North Korea), versus 55% for U.S. in 2016
Oversized Role for Money
- Since Citizens United, big donor and special interests have largely merged into a single category.
- A tiny elite (0.52%) contribute nearly 70% of the total to federal candidates, PACs and Parties.
- Big money funds campaigns, supports lobbying and provides revolving door career opportunities – all linked and mostly hidden.
Money will always find a way into politics, but…
- Create greater transparency
- Prohibit lobbyists from bundling
- Restrict revolving doors