Fixing The Mess That Is American Politics
For those who have ever read my blog, you know I rarely if ever touch politics. It’s toxic. It’s dividing. It’s as we say….polarizing. It’s certainly a problem. It’s much easier to ignore it all together and talk about fun things like music, sports, and entertainment.
One thing I’ve learned with age and wisdom however, is that problems don’t go away when we ignore them. Problems are only solved when we address them. Solutions to those problems are born out of rational communication and ideas.
With that said, allow me to indulge you with my four-pronged plan for how to fix the mess that is American politics.
1. Term limits across the board.
Presidents get two four-year terms. Most governors get two four-year terms. U.S. Senators? Run every six years and you can do it the rest of your life. U.S. Congressmen and women have to run every two years, but if they’re willing to keep doing it, they can do it the rest of their lives. South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond left office in January 2003, one month after his 100th birthday. Seriously? If eight years is good enough for a president, it should be good enough for congressmen and senators too. Two four-year terms for both….then move on.
If one loves public service and wants to make a career out of public service, they can. Be a state congressman for two terms. Be a state senator for two terms. Be a U.S. Congressmen for two terms. Follow that up with a couple terms as a U.S. Senator. That’s 32 years. Not enough? Go be a city mayor as well. Need more? Run for governor too. Hey, if they’re a good politician, they can certainly make a career out of it. I believe many politicians hang on in the same post for so many years because they love the power, the money, and it feeds their massive egos. That’s not public service. Term limits across the board folks.
2. Eliminate the electoral college.
I know the electoral college worked for over 200 years in this country. However, two of the last three presidents won elections without winning the most votes. George W. Bush lost the popular vote in 2000, and Donald Trump lost the popular vote in 2016. So what you ask? Well, consider the following analogy:
In a sporting event, the team with the most points at the end of the game wins. What if I said, the winner shouldn’t be determined by who has the most points at the end, but instead by the team that scores their points a certain way, even if they don’t score the most? I confidently believe anyone I proposed that to would say it’s absolutely crazy. Well friends, that’s essentially what happened in 2000 and 2016.
I fully realize some people will think this argument is partisan-driven. It’s not. I simply want every vote to count. What exemplifies a democracy better than that? I live in Indiana. A democrat’s vote in a general presidential election in Indiana should count. You know what else should count? A republican’s vote in California, Illinois, and New York. You may not agree with everything I propose in this post, but I’d challenge anyone to tell me how I’m not making sense on this one.
3. Change the two U.S. Senators per state law.
Whenever it was decided that each state would be represented by two senators, I’m guessing the thought was America would be an equally populated nation. Guess what? It’s not. Not even close. 39.5 million people live in California. Half a million people live in Wyoming. California has two senators. Wyoming has two senators. The two Dakotas combine for 1.7 million people. So Wyoming and the Dakotas combine for 2.2 million people among them, and collectively they are represented by six U.S. Senators. Texas has 29 million people, and they are represented by two U.S. Senators. What’s the big deal you ask? Well, senators propose and vote on laws. Laws that shape the fabric of our society. The men and women elected to enact these laws serve the purpose of representing their constituents. Again, I’m not making a partisan argument here. I’m making an argument for equal representation for our nation’s constituents. Why are 2.3 million Americans represented by six senatorial votes (Wyoming and the Dakotas) and 68.5 million Americans (California and Texas) are collectively represented by four? Stop and let those numbers sink in a bit. I didn’t pull those figures out of thin air. More to the point, that’s from our last U.S. Census. The 2020 census will probably widen that divide even more.
I propose the following: Adjust senatorial representation to serve populations more equally. States with massive populations should have far more senatorial representation than states with with a smaller population than most major cities in America. Granted, it can be a fluid law. As population trends shift, so can the senatorial appointments. I know this idea is a bit more radical than my first two, but I don’t think it’s without merit. If politicians are theoretically intended to serve our populous, it stands to reason their service should be more equally representative of the population.
Lastly, the proposal that will NEVER happen…..but oh what a better nation we’d be if it did!
4. Eliminate the two-party political system.
The problem with both political parties in America is they attempt to wear too many hats. They attempt to serve too many varying factions. Half of these factions fall under the umbrella of the Republican Party, and the other half fall under the umbrella of the Democratic Party. This makes it quite easy for media outlets to cater to one party or the other in their dissemination of information. Fox can easily function as the mouthpiece for Republican voters, CNN for Democrats. Opinionated columnists influencing American opinion on both sides of the spectrum. What if it wasn’t so simple?
You see, I think the Republican Party could be a least three different political parties. One, the corporate capitalist party, which caters to the interests of the richest of the rich….the 1-percent population if you will. Two, the Libertarians or Tea Party as they’re sometimes called. Three, the faction known as the “Religious Right.” You may even say, four, because the Neo-Nazis vote Republican too, but technically I suppose they could fall under the Libertarian Party. Libertarians make this a bit murky however, because some Libertarians don’t identify with the Tea Party or the Republican Party for that matter, and obviously most Libertarians would prefer not to be associated with Neo-Nazis.
The Democratic Party should splinter into several different parties as well. On the far left there’s the Socialist Party. Then there’s the liberal elitists. A lot of these people are typically wealthy, but more often individual wealth than corporate wealth. Think Hollywood celebrities.
Then there’s the faction the Democratic Party once stood for 40 or 50 years ago. The working class party. The middle class. The common man and woman. The union workers. The backbone. This is the faction I most identify with. And yes, I feel this faction of Democrats has been under-served by our party for many years now. Respectfully, the other political party doesn’t show support for this faction, so where does that leave folks like me? Simple. We need our own party as well. I know plenty of Republican-voting folks who should fall into this category as well. So why do they vote Republican? After all, the systematic union-busting the GOP has supported would be reason enough for working-class people not to vote that way right? They do it because they dislike liberals and liberal policy. Well guess, what? “Blue Dog” Democrats as we’re sometimes called, are not liberals. Most Democratic-voting folks who fall into this category support 2nd Amendment rights. Many working-class Democrats own guns. I think the Blue collar and low-paying white collar working, middle class party would be by far the largest party in this country. In many ways it would function as a centrist, moderate party. What have we always learned in life about moderation? Everything is better in moderation.
So if you think about it, we’re not just two parties with one choice. It really shouldn’t be about this side or that. Red vs. Blue.
A six party system:
The Corporate Capitalist Party. The Libertarian Party. The Religious Conservative Party. The Socialist Party. The Liberal Party. The Working-Class Party.
There goes the gridlock. There goes the one side or the other. There goes the Red vs. Blue. There goes the “this team or that team.” As for the partisan networks? I don’t see how they could continue to function from their current respective platforms. Fox would have to market itself as the network for the one-percenters, Libertarians, religious conservatives, and Neo-Nazis. Maybe they already are, but they wouldn’t be able to call it Republican anymore. CNN would be the network for socialists, liberals, and unions. Maybe they already are, but they wouldn’t be able to call it Democrat anymore. Neither network wants those labels. It’s not simple that way. No longer could they just cover the canvas with broad partisan strokes and propaganda. Partisan political coverage could theoretically dissipate, and logically informed voting could surface.
I know this idea is pipe dream, but what a delicious dream it could be.
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