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Candidate Pledges: A Strategy For Jettisoning The Scoundrels and Restoring Representative Democracy

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These are the ones we will either turn around or send packing.

Let me point out that this kind of precise targeting is exactly the way the right wing goes about decimating the ranks of progressives. It obviously works. Time to turn the tables.

Step 1:  Petitions

The process starts with petitions, i. e. canvassing within a particular voting district, or entire state if the targeted incumbent is a senator. We do this in order to collect hard numbers on the level of support there is for the initiatives we want passed.

Here is a sample petition, the suggested format for canvassing on any issue:

I am a registered voter and will only vote for a candidate for public office who will leave social security alone. If a candidate guarantees unequivocally to fight for keeping social security as it currently stands, I will give that candidate my unqualified support.

Obviously, the petition is more of an endorsement of a specific policy position than an actual petition for some action. But it accomplishes precisely what is needed here.

In fact, the petitions are the linchpin for the assault on these scoundrels. They provide the leverage needed to get their attention and then make them an offer they can't refuse.

Undoubtedly, it would be ideal to get a majority of the voters in a district to sign these petitions. But that is a daunting, time-consuming task, even on issues which have large majority support. I frankly don't think it's necessary.

All that needs to be achieved is convincing a candidate that if he or she doesn't sign the pledge, they risk losing election. It must appear either rationally or fearfully in their best interest to sign on the dotted line.

Let's say local polls show that a candidate in a given target district of 20,000 voters has a comfortable lead of 2,000 votes. It seems to me that if only two to three times this number of petition signatures are gathered, that's going to certainly make a candidate take pause. Are these 4,000 to 6,000 voters who are demanding specific action on a particular issue __ "I will only vote for a candidate who ..." __ the ones who will tank the election? Without these voters is it even remotely possible to win?

I predict some cold sweats and sleepless nights.

Petitioning is no fun and people are often shy about signing them. But getting 4,000 to 6,000 people out of 20,000 to sign a petition telling the government to bring our troops back home from Afghanistan or to stop screwing around with Medicare, seems pretty doable. Even starting first week of June, we have five months until the election.

Polls indicate there are a number of issues where a large majority of Americans, from left, right, and center of the political spectrum, overwhelmingly agree. The size of that majority will vary from district to district. The point is that within each local political environment it is possible to identify at least one if not several issues where constituents are distressed if not completely outraged, about the vote that was cast by an incumbent politician.

It's time to put his or her feet to the fire!

Step 2:  Getting Another Candidate To Sign

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John Rachel has a B. A. in Philosophy, has traveled extensively, is a songwriter and music producer, a novelist, a left-of-left liberal, and has spent his life trying to resolve the intrinsic clash between the metaphysical purity of Buddhism and (more...)

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