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Why Dems Should Avoid Billionaire Candidates

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Yes, there is an allure to the idea of Oprah or Mark Zuckerberg running for president. But it's a bad idea for many reasons.

At more local levels, finding a local millionaire who can self-fund may seem like a natural" but it's a bad idea.

I have my thoughts on why, but I've written this article hoping that you, the crowd will provide the wisdom. And it's for a specific reason-- there are going to be great candidates out there and they will face millionaires and lazy Democratic party leaders and the DCCC, etc., who will lean towards what seems to be the easy route. So tell me why this is not a good idea.

People who can self-fund their campaigns can save local or national political insiders a lot of worry and hassle over fund-raising. But that only helps the insiders. It takes away the voice of the people in deciding a candidate--if the insiders anoint the millionaire as the chosen candidate. Also bad, the millionaire may, because he's the chosen one, be able to avoid the primary process of running a campaign. He may be able to avoid having to deal with the whole election process. He can pay for canvassers, pay for petitioners, pay, pay pay, all the while avoiding voters, except for plum, cherry-picked events.

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I have a start on this argument, and I cite arguments by a number of other writers, regarding Oprah not running, below. But I'd like your help. What are the reasons that self-funding millionaires do not make good candidates, no matter how good their political positions are?

Guardian writer, Briahna Joy Gray writes,

" the enthusiasm around the mere specter of Oprah's presidency reveals an uncomfortable truth about the hypocrisy of Democrats: all the talk of competency during the 2016 presidential election, qualifications, be they ideological or political, are mere pretexts for their choice of candidate.

In the build up to and aftershock of the 2016 election, perhaps the loudest and most consistent protest heard from Hillary Clinton supporters was "but she's the most qualified!" Despite having a longer record of public service, Senator Bernie Sanders was deemed less, and by some, insufficiently qualified to run for president. His relative inexperience with foreign policy was a point of regular critique, and those who supported his candidacy on ideological grounds were dismissed as "purists" who didn't understand the real "work " of being president."

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Time magazine writes:

" Replacing a political amateur with a political amateur with good intentions doesn't solve certain core problems the executive branch is suffering at the moment. Winfrey has given her fans every indication through the years that she is a skilled executive, a genius of empathy and a deep reader of literature (a sharp contrast to our current post-literacy president), but it's not exactly pedantic to suggest, as various positions lie unfilled and as America's status on the world stage sinks, that some level of experience is needed to run the federal government."

Vox writes,

"America shouldn't be a place where celebrity is a prerequisite for politics, they say, and we don't need another political novice in the White House."
And adds further, reasons why Oprah should not run,
" Though some establishment Democrats suggested Winfrey could be taken seriously, political journalists and commentators rushed to argue why she shouldn't be.

One common theme: Democrats might be overcorrecting and seeking out a figure who will be prone to many of the same criticisms they've often launched at Trump. She lacks expertise in foreign or domestic policy and knows little of the ins and outs of American politics, and while she certainly knows how to rile up a crowd, it's unclear what policy substance lies beneath her rhetoric.

Winfrey has zero political experience, and while the same is true for Trump, it is certainly fair to say that having a novice president has not been, well, smooth sailing .

"She may, in fact, be what Trump pretends to be -- a self-made business success story whose words resonate across the country," wrote Ben Smith, BuzzFeed's editor-in-chief , in an article called "The Case Against President Oprah."

"But Democrats don't want to improve on Trump," he continued. "They want to reverse him. And that's where governors and senators with deep experience, proven political chops, and an unglamorous sense of normalcy come in."

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The Washington Post writes, in an article titled, Get a Grip People, Oprah Should Not Run For President, "An election never goes by without a healthy number of candidates claiming that they're the best person for the job because they have no relevant experience and know nothing about it. "I'm a businessman, not a politician," they declare, to the nods of their future constituents. If you needed a new roof put on your house and somebody came to you saying, "I'm a computer programmer, not a roofer," going on to explain that the roofing business is a mess and all you need is some outside-the-box thinking to make your roof better than ever, you'd be a fool to hire him. Yet somehow the same logic doesn't seem to apply when people think about whom they should elect," and, further, "The question for Democrats is who would win and who would be the best president of all the available options. Neither I nor anyone else really knows how she would respond to the challenges of that most challenging job. Being president isn't like hosting a talk show or running a media brand. Oprah's success in her field is no more indicative of her potential to be a good president than Trump's success in real estate was. You can't criticize Trump for having no relevant experience or evident understanding of public policy, then say that the solution for Democrats is just to throw up their hands and find their own celebrity to promote."

Daily Beast writes, Why Oprah Shouldn't Run For President, saying,

"If Oprah were to run and win, perhaps then we'd be in a new dystopian era where only celebrities can win presidential elections. But until then, to assume that Trump has altered the very nature of American politics to the point that it cannot be course-corrected is pessimism I won't subscribe to.

The conversation about whether or not Oprah should run for president has always left a sour taste in my mouth. Yes, Oprah electrifies America but that is what we expect her to do as an artist. The idea that this vigor must translate into a political career seems as shortsighted as it does selfish."

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Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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Miles Nelson

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No, we should not elect these people. No one should have more than a few million dollars.

But, these are just useless words. Our government does not represent us. We need to set a date to meet in Washington D.C. and fire our current government ...

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 8:15:52 AM

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ThirdEyeOfTheStorm

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One could argue that what you propose is exactly what we do every two and four years using elections. Granted that process is corrupted, but assuming the corruption could somehow regain integrity, exactly what would you replace our 'fired' government with?

I'm not being flippant, I am like yourself, a serious minded individual, who seeks solutions. Currently I'm influenced by this revolutionary thinking, which proposes revolution over reform.

I agree with you, and Rob. We should not elect anyone who sees the position as an ego boost or a profit center. I think Trump is the latter, maybe both. We need a true Statesman (or woman), who is not corrupted by money, and we need dramatic and sweeping change. Most of all we need integrity, which also requires revolution, I think. For now, I'm a revolutionary.

Think before you answer, because the survival of humanity hangs in the balance. Don't be put off by the author of the above linked piece, if you actually read it, you'll find he was brilliant in his assessment. Beyond brilliant actually. He is a genius with an IQ of 167, and his text reflects that level of thinking.

So, are you a revolutionary, or a reformer? So far, I see you as a reformer. Prove me wrong, or provide an alternative that will work. For us to just converge on the capitol as a mass of humanity might stop the system temporarily. That action alone will not ensure the future. We must have a workable plan.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 12:32:08 PM

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Rob Kall

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I glanced at the link you provided. You may like the idea of revolution, but he is an idiot-- an angry, sick loser and failure. his comments on women and the left are ridiculous.

This quote, which I've had as part of my email signature for a few years, shows my take on revolution vs reform:

""You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." R. Buckminster Fuller

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 2:41:01 PM

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ThirdEyeOfTheStorm

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You know Rob, like you I ignored the guy for 40 years, naively believing him insane, because of the official narrative, then I finally read what he actually said, all of it. You should take more than a glance before you reject him completely. Looks like your mind is made up, but you clearly have not read it. I agree with Bucky though, Bucky seems to be a revolutionary to my way of thinking,. So your position is unclear, are you a revolutionary, or are you a reformer?

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 3:10:48 PM

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larry payne

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It's most likely Kacynski was angry because he had been the victim of a mind control experiment at Harvard. Possibly those who put him through that tortuous process were leftists.
Kacynski's brother, who turned him in to authorities, thinks he was a victim of the CIA's MKUltra mind control program.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 10:34:20 PM

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ThirdEyeOfTheStorm

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Larry, Just watch the movie and read the manifest, then you can sort out the truth. Yes, he was one of the victims of MKUltra courtesy of Harvard University and the CIA, but in the manifest he tells you exactly why he killed those people in clear uncertain terms. I don't know why everyone is so prejudiced against him (maybe I do), yes he killed 3 people and mangled about 20 others (grotesquely), but Obama killed many, many more (grotesquely), and he's a hero. Even Hillary killed more than him (grotesquely). WhY??? Inform yourself, by watching the movie and reading the manifest. Clue: He wasn't angry. Misguided? Yes, but not angry.

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 13, 2018 at 3:33:52 AM

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larry payne

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I've watched the movie and read about half the manifest so far. I haven't reached the part where he explains why he did it yet. You forgot to mention that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and accomplices killed at least a million more than Ted. They still live their lives in high style, free from fear of justice knocking at their door.

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 13, 2018 at 1:49:34 PM

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Kip Anderson

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I think you are missing the boat on this one, not because the wealthy are any better suited as candidates personally or to actually be in office, but because as the system currently stands, having financial independence to eschew party politics can be perceived as a terrific strength. But to paraphrase Richard the 'Longshanks' in the movie Braveheart, the trouble with politics is that is that it is full of politicians. I.e., the old axiom of not wanting to be a member of any group that would have a person applies.

Until we can get private money completely out of political campaigns and break up media conglomerates, we have no choice but to pursue sources of money. An individual who already has it is far less corruptible than one who does not. This leaves us in the position of having to seek out candidates that lean toward the philanthropic - and more succinctly, the rare bird that is willing to humble themselves to burdens of political office. It's a thankless job, and it is one that this working class lefty would never want.

Idealism clearly does not win elections when the message can be drowned out and distorted in the echo chamber of moneyed media.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 1:53:12 PM

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I agree that breaking up media conglomerates is crucial to getting truly democratic minded people to run and win. The reason so much money needs to be raised is because the corporate media gets to charge outrageous sums to candidates for political advertising. It corrupts the entire political process.

If we could demand equal blocks of airtime for all candidates on the ballot and make bought political advertising on the public airwaves illegal, we could totally change to national conversation.

The privately owned media is our biggest obstacle to changing the system.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 3:39:07 PM

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John Zwiebel

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Kip:

You may consider that someone who is independently wealthy may have already been corrupted by the system. Surely Trump was. Is there a bias toward capitalism shown by those who already have theirs? Do they buy into "the market" and expect everyone else to follow?


So, you are right about overturning Citizens United and the public financing of elections. But that is just one consideration.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 8:23:41 PM

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It is way passed time to wage war on the notion that media conglomerates have an inherent right to charge exorbitant sums of money for political advertising on the public airwaves. We need a concerted effort to call out the FCC for allowing our airwaves to be used to corrupt the political process and as a result marginalize the candidates who try to run campaigns in the public interest.

Let's attack the problem at its root instead of hacking at the branches.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 3:43:59 PM

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Surely, the Democrats need someone who can revive the middle class (the 79% vs the 21% ? in lieu of the current wealth inequality 99% vs the 1%) and uplift the working poor (raise the minimum wage to $17 per hour). #Reaganomics - "killed America's middle class".

However, as always, the victory may come down to it's "all about the money" - a Democrat candidate will need the priceless natural and learned abilities to raise massive campaign donations from a broad spectrum of the American voting public so that the other Party's candidate cannot literally spend more money on ads to pull a "rabbit out of the hat" (e.g. neither McCain nor Romney could outspend Obama 'a tireless and successful campaign donation raiser' for the Presidency - "working for a better future") come election day.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 4:03:24 PM

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Say, Lance, that the Deep State vetted , bought, paid for the candidate who
spoke so well, and was raised (like Al Gore) to be a likely president who would not
upset the apple cart and eventually succumb to doing what was wanted of him.
I feel that Obama was very early anointed, as was Hillary, with the expectation that he
could do the "right" job for the powers that be.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 4:35:17 PM

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They shouldn't run Big Money candidates because doing this exposes the Democratic Party for what it really is ... the alternate political voice of the people who own the USA, the banks, the big corporations, the managerial elite. It undermines their pretense of being the Party of the People. It enables folks like me to point out the need for a political party of, by, and for working people, for the political independence of the working class.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 4:33:10 PM

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Free Oregon

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Running someone because that person can self finance and pay the campaign workers if he or she loses is a terrible, self defeating reason to select a candidate.

What if we just vote against the candidate who raises the most money because that candidate is beholden to the contributors?

Perhaps voters did both in the last presidential election.

Why not ban or refuse to vote for any professional politician or lawyer and give ordinary people from all walks of life an opportunity to self govern?

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 4:36:23 PM

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This is a logical question to ask at this particular time in our political life. But its the wrong qualification question to ask of any potential candidate. The better qualification question(s) are based not on financial success, but on character, ability in the various fields of Presidential activity, and whether or not the candidate is a fundamentalist or can sincerely listen to all perspectives and bring them together in a cooperative way.

Being a certain income level, color, or sex is no more a qualification than being of a certain religion. However, in America, we have come to assess a person's quality by his/her financial situation. And we have lately seen that rot can exist for the longest time in those who can hide it best...under a lavish lifestyle.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 4:43:11 PM

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Do not disregard the importance of the Hollywood Screen Test.

There are many good actors; only a few photograph well, and fit with the script.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 4:54:56 PM

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Then there is the 'casting couch'

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 5:56:29 PM

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Jerry Lobdill

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I have already written my thoughts on this subject in response to another article about Oprah as a candidate. But I want to add something here.

To those who are actually considering the idea of President Oprah:

Think about flag rank military officers. Would you approve of appointing them by popular vote based on the popularity of candidates? If not, why not? If not, doesn't the office of President fall into the same category? Aren't experience in governing and foreign relations indispensable? What about a demonstrated philosophy of governance? Don't we need to know what a candidate believes about the purpose of government?

The election of Trump rejected those ideas, and look at what we got. Celebrity is of no value in the election of a President. Net worth is not a factor either.

We need to get money out of politics. To do that requires a revolution--a peaceful one, but a real one. We need to get advertising out of politics as well.

This is enough for now.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 5:14:19 PM

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Flag rank officers want war.

I've never met an officer over a Lt. Col. who wasn't looking for a war he could fight so he could get his next promotion. There is a reason he is called General Betrayus.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 8:29:32 PM

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Paul from Potomac

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Trump is yet another wealthy narcissist actor who became President. Neither one is much good for us, but they look good (at least to themselves). This one knows how to play the cheap fiddle: The Press.

Get over it. Two out of three stories are about him and most are fake bullshit.

Democrats have no chance of beating him unless the economy reverses course again. Face it, it's the economy stupid!

Moral indignation makes no difference to the majority. We've lost interest since the Puritans.

Catherine Deneuve is dead right. Women love attention and crave a little naughtiness in the men who provide it. It's the pheromones, idiots!

As long as we can stay relatively peaceful and the economy stable, no one will remove him. He fits the office better than the last five of his predecessors. And he's more entertaining than all five put together!


Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 5:18:44 PM

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Lois Gagnon

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Reply to Paul from Potomac:   New Content

The book "Amusing Ourselves to Death" by Neil Postman came to mind after reading your comment.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 5:50:54 PM

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John Zwiebel

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Reply to Paul from Potomac:   New Content
What makes you think the economy is in good shape? The "Blue Wall" revolt happened because the members of that cadre are broke. They'll happily abandon Trump just as they abandoned Clinton.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 8:32:20 PM

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Nelson Wight

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Reply to Paul from Potomac:   New Content

Paul, I've been missing you on the commentaries.

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 13, 2018 at 12:12:26 AM

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Tom Calarco

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Rob:

I didn't read the article yet, but the first thing that came to mind when I saw the title was that the great majority of those in Congress or the Senate today are millionaires.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 5:31:43 PM

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John Zwiebel

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If the Democrats have to have a "star", I'll vote for Susan Sarandon after her amazing performance being interviewed by Chris Hayes.

She called it. "We'll see what happens".

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 8:16:08 PM

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Harold Novikoff

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If a political party has any other electoral function than committing its candidates to the party's policies, it should be to openly and thoroughly screen its candidates for suitability for high public office before accepting that person as the party representative.We should know everything knowable about the candidate. Ideally, the candidates would be selected from among those who have proven themselves in socially significant fields. In addition, each should commit to specific goals and to resigning if (s)he reverses those goes when in office. This stipulation would be equivalent to the European parliamentary system where the ruling coalition party would be subject to a new election if the coalition fails.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 8:23:30 PM

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John Zwiebel

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Reply to Harold Novikoff:   New Content

IN theory, you are right.

IN practice, the DNC shows us how it vets candidates.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 8:33:55 PM

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larry payne

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This won't look good on Opra's presidential resume:

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 10:45:48 PM

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mdroy droy

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What was the Clinton foundation running as then?

Submitted on Friday, Jan 12, 2018 at 11:47:31 PM

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Rick Frank

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""You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." R. Buckminster Fuller

1)Eliminate Voting Machines in favor of hand counting......takes longer but results have less chance of being tampered with.

2) Eliminate the Duopoly in favor of multiple parties....more than three....

3)Once you eliminate the Duopoly go to Ranked choice voting......In my opinion the only way to go.

4) All money out of politics.......

5) Reverse Citizens United.......what a joke.....

6) Term limits.....

7) The same Healthcare given to the Senate and Congress that the American people get....

8) Any and all ways that we can allow the "People" to gain control over the Oligarchy......

Any other ideas?

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 13, 2018 at 1:13:04 AM

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Kate Jones

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Yes. Elected officials shall serve without pay. Basic necessities of food and shelter shall be provided; golf courses, not. At the end of their term, the people shall vote them a bonus to the extent deserved.

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 13, 2018 at 3:42:50 AM

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Rob Kall

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bad idea. Only the wealthy could afford to serve with these terms. Legislators deserve decent pay. But they should not be allowed to become lobbyist or be employed by any companies that benefited from their voting.

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 13, 2018 at 1:04:05 PM

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larry payne

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Why not enact laws which would put General Smedley Butler's plan to end wars into effect. Under Butler's plan, during wartime, all politicians would receive the same pay as the lowest ranking enlisted person.

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 13, 2018 at 2:03:20 PM

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Nelson Wight

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Right on, Larry, as usual !

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 13, 2018 at 3:27:47 PM

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Rick Frank

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As far as a Billionaire being involved......I say NO.....Millionaire maybe.......As long as they were involved in the process from the beginning to the end without hired hands....

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 13, 2018 at 1:17:56 AM

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lila york

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I think this question is part of a much larger problem- the entire electoral system is fubared. It's not that billionaires should be allowed to finance this totally corrupt election process - but that nobody should have to finance an election. ever. We the people should be able to choose someone from our own locality to represent us - someone we know and trust. Who yes, should have gone to law school, since this is about law after all. But the only way that works is if all elections are publicly funded, with all candidates having equal access to whatever funding is necessary - and many televised debates and free air time on the media. Then the people we actually choose stand a chance of getting into office. We are so far from the system the founders set up that we can't even see it any longer.

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 13, 2018 at 3:01:45 AM

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larry payne

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Reply to lila york:   New Content

Removing ad agencies from the electoral process would remove a lot of the cost of elections as well as removing lies and fabrications.
If speechwriters could also be banned, the public would then be exposed to the candidates' own words and not the words of a snake oil salesman.

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 13, 2018 at 1:57:51 PM

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BFalcon

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Generally agree.

However, nobody should decide 'who runs', all should be allowed to run and people should have the option to choose (hopefully based on both ideas and persons).

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 13, 2018 at 2:06:29 PM

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syed mahdi

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Money in POLITICS is bad whether it be your money or other people's money. Your money is preferable because it comes with your agenda unlike other people's money which fetter's you to all kinds of agendas and corrupts politics and politicians.

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 13, 2018 at 7:12:24 PM

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