In Reason We Trust

Democracy

Democracy

Did you know that 40% of non-voters massively skew liberal. In fact, as a percentage, they comprise twice as many liberals as the people who do vote, yet here we are even in the primary season and a massive segment of Democrats are bickering over two virtually identical candidates, neither of which can fix the real problem of political corruption in this country. It is not a problem that can be fixed by one person at the top. It must start at the bottom, at the local level, and work its way up to the national level and the only person who can fix the problem is not one person at all but the people of the United States of America. People like you and me.

Everyone is scratching their head as to why Sanders and Trump are getting all the attention. It has nothing to do with where they stand on the issues what it has everything to do with is that they appear to be anti-establishment. What the people really want is a change in how the political process is currently working and both Sanders and Trump represent that change in different ways.  The problem is that currently the average voter’s vote has virtually no impact on what happens nationally in regards to the following issues…

1) Campaign financing and lobbying: how are campaigns financed, how is lobbying regulated, and how is political spending reported (or not).

2) Election administration: who is on the voter rolls and who is not, how congressional districts are drawn, popular vote vs. Electoral College. etc.

3) Congressional rules: how does the filibuster work, what are the rules for legislative committees and conferences, are “earmarks” allowed into legislation, etc.

The solution lies in the systematic dismantling of the many ways that big money determines outcomes in politics. This kind of reasoned but comprehensive change is appealing to the political left and right. And it’s constitutional, even under the current Supreme Court; a proposal that goes well beyond the myopic range of debate in our corrupt capitol, but is viewed as common sense by a vast majority of Americans.

This is the strategic foundation of Represent.Us, the campaign in support of the American Anti-Corruption Act. The campaign was launched November, 2012. Along with a contribuiton voucher proposal, the Act would:

1) Prevent members of congress from soliciting and receiving contributions from any industry or entity they regulate;

2) Prohibit all fundraising during Congressional working hours;

3) Apply the existing $5,000 PAC contribution limit to superPACs based on the fact that they are coordinating with candidates in contradiction of the Court’s rationale (this is a potent solution to Citizens United-created spending);

4) Close the revolving door between Capitol Hill and the lobbying industry by extending the waiting period to 5 years for members and their senior staff;

5) Expand the definition of and register all lobbyists to prevent them from skirting the rules;

6) Limit the amount that lobbyists can contribute to $500, instead of the current $2,500;

7) Disclose all contribution “bundling”;

8) Strengthen the Federal Election Commission’s independence, as well as the congressional ethics enforcement process;

9) Clamp down on 501c organizations’ political spending; and

10) make all political spending fully transparent as proposed in the current DISCLOSE Act.

Why must the Act take on so many issues? This strategy recognizes that the influence of money in politics is endemic to our current system of government. We cannot fix this by patching the holes in democracy through which money seeps in. We are already flooded. We have to recognize that the influence of money has changed the way our lawmakers think about what is possible. It shapes institutions, limits expectations, and constrains the options for decision-makers. Real change must come with a comprehensive approach that reconfigures the incentives, the pressures, and the circumstances for public governance to reflect more directly the democratic interests of the people.

We desperately need a new generation of politicians that operate without the assumption that big money is the most important player at the table of governance. That means abandoning cynicism, repetition, and stagnation, creating a new set of strategic assumptions, and going big.

There is already a plan in place by  Represent.Us

Step 1: The American Anti-Corruption Act sets a standard for local, state and federal laws to:

Stop the bribery

The Act prevents lobbyists from donating to politicians and/or offering them any deals that could influence policymaking.

End secret money

The Act mandates full transparency: disclosure of all political money and “bundlers” who gather contributions for politicians.

Empower voters

The Act imposes strict limits on PACs, and gives voters an annual $100 tax rebate to be spent supporting the candidate or party of their choice.

Step 2: Create Political Power

It’s not about right vs. left. It’s about right vs. wrong.

Real political power comes from real people. Millions of us — conservatives, progressives and everyone in between, united, organized, and taking action locally.

Step 3: Act Locally. End Corruption Nationally

Pass laws in towns, cities and states that meet the standards of the American Anti-Corruption Act, building momentum from the bottom up. Represent.Us Chapters are forming all across the country in a nationally coordinated effort to end corruption at the local level.

Step 4: Build a National Majority

Statewide Acts apply to federal candidates from that state, which means each state with an Anti-Corruption Act can elect members of Congress under the anti-corrupt system.Every state and local victory brings us a step closer to a national majority with the power to pass national reform.

Step 5: Win Nationally

Leverage a robust movement to pass anti-corruption laws in all 50 states and federally.With cross-partisan, populist support, it will be a law of, by and for the people.We won’t stop until we win.

So instead of bickering over which Dem is best Bernie or Hillary or scratching our heads over why Bernie and the Don are so popular let us get to work on effectively fixing the systemic issues of the political process. Once we have done that the right politicians will materialize because they will no longer be drawn to the position by money and power but rather to service the needs of the American People which is what a true democracy is all about.

 

 

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