Quick List of Things to Save Democracy

  1. End the Electoral College – this wasn’t on my list until 3 weeks ago, but boy is this a fucking dog that has to be put down already.  This should be non-partisan and just logical but since the last two Republican presidents got elected this way I’m afraid Republicans will adopt this as a new fetish that the Founding Fathers gave us and should never be spoken ill of.  Assholes.
  2. End gerrymandering – another idea that should be non-partisan, but politicians created it and those of bad will will fight it because it makes their phony baloney jobs easier to keep FOREVER!  Really, districts should be drawn neutrally and the more naturally competitive districts there are the better.
  3. End the idea of money as speech – reverse Citizen’s United.  We need a simple amendment to the Constitution that says “Money is not speech, and corporations are not people.”  See Move to Amend.
  4. End the idea of corporations as people – see 3.  [I’m baffled by the idea that amending the Constitution is such an undoable thing, it didn’t used to be.  The first thing the writers did after signing the thing was add 10 amendments. There were 11 amendments in the 20th century, almost all before 1960, but since 1960 there have been 5!  The last amendment, the 27th, was the most anomalous of all time, having been proposed on September 25, 1789, the same as the first 10, but not ratified until 202 years later in 1992.  24 years have passed since the last ratified amendment, although that amendment (about Congressional salaries) was not well publicized. [The last time the public got involved in an amendment question was the bizarre ERA effort in the 70s and 80s that ultimately failed after coming very close to passing in the 70s with broad support.  The GOP reversed its support and states that had ratified sued to de-ratify.  The fact that for purely partisan political reasons we couldn’t pass an amendment granting equality under the law to 51% of the population makes the whole process seem daunting.]  The largest gaps between amendments are the 61 years between the 12th (changing how we elect vice presidents) and the 13th (abolishing slavery) and the 43 years between the 15th (voting rights) and the 16th (the income tax). 26 years isn’t that big a gap, it just feels like the idea of amending is insuperable, largely due to the crazy ERA battle.]
  5. Instant runoff voting/ranked choice voting – both better ideas than what we do.  In instant runoff, assuming more than two candidates in a race, if neither of the the top two vote recipients gets to 50% there’s a runoff without the other candidates on the ballot (so in the case of Bush v. Gore or Clinton v. Trump, in both cases there would have been a secondary election with no 3rd parties).  In ranked choice (which Maine adopted recently) you can choose more than one candidate and rank them by preference.  If your 1st choice does not win, your vote goes to the 2nd choice (in Trump v. Clinton the Johnson and Stein votes would have had their 2nd choices tabulated and added to Trump or Clinton’s totals).  Both programs actually support 3rd party participation, but would not leave the final result to be a mere plurality with some voices unheard.
  6. Bring back civics classes – We didn’t start going to hell when they took prayer out of schools.  We started going to hell when Americans stopped learning about government and citizenship, how it all works and their place in it all.  Then they were sitting ducks when cynical bad actors willing to manipulate emotions through the misstatement of facts were let loose on them after the end of the Fairness Doctrine and the flood of right wing media.
  7. Bring back the Fairness Doctrine – it’s actually more controversial than one might think, but under the Fairness Doctrine broadcasters were tasked with being trustees of the public airwaves and having a responsibility towards serving the public and fairness.  Never going to be perfect because “responsibility” and “fairness” are going to be subjective.  But the irresponsibility of media today is glaring.  Those of us who remember a time when the (less concentrated) media were arbiters of truth who tried to explain complicated issues to the public, even though they were not 24 hour affairs, rue the changes.  There was a time when news was a public service and a loss leader.  It was a bad thing when the media titans decided news should also make a profit. It created the abomination of newsfotainment and along with the discovery that selling gold and catheters to people who want to hear angry like minded people rant at them is very profitable destroyed much of our national discourse.

What else???

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