Members of Congress consistently sport a 15 to 20% approval rating, yet enjoy a 95% re-election rate.
When you factor a suppression of the voting electorate, gerrymandering of congressional districts, media getting its leads from the two major political parties and the obscene amount of money pumped into controlling politics, there is something terribly wrong with our democracy.
Think. Had Hillary Clinton won the presidency in 2016 and re-election in 2020, America would have seen a Bush or a Clinton in the presidency for nine of 11 presidential administrations, with Hillary serving as Secretary of State in a 10th. This is not a democracy. It’s called a monarchy and it serves at the pleasure of a corporate oligarchy (see The Princeton Study on Oligarchy).
Russians Did Not Put Donald Trump Into The White House:
Sickened by Bush-Cheney and disappointed that Obama-Biden campaigned on a progressive platform but governed as “corporate insiders,” the electorate desperately wanted an “outsider” to win in 2016. This is why Bernie Sanders filled major sports stadiums and civic centers far and wide!
Once Sanders was cheated out of the process, the electorate was provided a choice between Clinton, the penultimate “insider,” or the billionaire celebrity personality Trump who was masquerading as an “outsider.” The table became a win-win set-up for America’s Oligarch Enrichment Project, though it preferred Clinton’s soft touch over the roughonian Trump. Either way, it was a win for the money side; and a loss for the people side!
Presently, only about 55% of the electorate vote in national elections; 33% vote in state elections and only 18% vote in municipal elections. So factor in the money and control of the media, and one needs only 28 percent to become the president; 17% to become the governor and around 10% to become the mayor.
These numbers are disgraceful and especially pitiful for a land priding itself on liberty and freedom of choice! America ranks 25th out of 32 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations which are highly developed democratic societies.
This is an indication America’s electorate is controlled and the culprit is money, prejudice against minorities and favoritism. The Supreme Court’s recent ruling striking down key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act has not been helpful, especially when coupled with the Citizens United ruling relative to money.
Essentially, we’re left with Republicans offering an oil change; Democrats calling for a tune-up; Libertarians proclaiming it doesn’t matter if five bucks gets charged to put air in each tire; and Greens are simply trying to get an environmentally clean vehicle on the road. Nothing significant gets accomplished and the system continues to favor only the wealthy.
What’s needed is an engine overhaul!
First, there exists an imperative need to make voting not only easier, but also reliable. For example, why did Bernie Sanders win the hand-counted ballots? Sadly, this will never happen under the current two-party dual where it becomes kill or be killed-type politics. The current system for voting is more compatible to a banana republic than it is for the world’s self-proclaimed leading democracy. The emphasis has become getting people not to vote over actually getting people to vote.
America needs a new Voting Rights Act!
Second, I was taught America is a democracy, we have free elections and the electorate chooses its leadership. But since my first vote for Eugene McCarthy in the 1967 New Hampshire Primary, I’ve experienced a lifetime of unfair elections where I vote for losers and wonder why third-party candidates never see the light of day or get fair scrutiny.
Let’s solve this.
What’s the best way is to eliminate the standard whereby two candidates (Democrat and Republican nominees, more selected than elected) face off in a town square at high noon, each packing heat ready to draw — this, while the media sides on which gunslinger should win?
There exists little to no debate. For Republicans, it’s one side of god, gay, gun and immigration issues; and for Democrats, it’s the other side of god, gay, gun and immigration issues. Supported by a compliant media, these seem the only issues which publicly matter between the two political parties and from this people decide if they’re a Democrat or a Republican.
Meanwhile, vitally important issues like anti-war, pro-labor, breaking up big banking, big oil, big defense, big pharma, big agri, ending the drug war and health care for all get ignored. Given the monopolization of America’s media (five corps controlling 90% of all media), these issues only exist peripherally and no action ever gets taken.
So let’s end the gun fight and inherent control of the few over the many. Let our political leaders begin to deal forthright with Have and Have-Not issues. Let’s, in the process, get more voices involved with a political debate whereby the best ideas and actions prevail. Let’s have fair elections!
I propose political parties continue to exist as they do today. Not much we can do about this. But I’m wise enough to know third parties will never get fair play under the current system. So let’s expand the spectrum of choice and give third party candidates another option to bring their views forward.
Once someone becomes elected from a political party and they serve two terms, they should then shed their political party status for future re-election races. They should run as Incumbent Independent (Double-I) candidates. They should stand for re-election based on the strength of their record of service, not based on the strength of their support from a political party.
This means the political party which originally spawned the incumbent will also offer a challenger, as well as the opposing party. The primaries would remain the same as they are now. So a general election, under my proposal, would see the following on a future ballot: Candidate A running as an (II) Incumbent Independent; Candidate B running as a challenging (D) Democrat; and Candidate C running as a challenging (R) Republican.
I think if we did this we’d finally begin to see fair elections, ones where money has a diminutive rather than an overwhelming effect on the results. We’d also see approval ratings rise for members of Congress!
Also, let’s consider proportional and rank voting concepts which appear to have merit.