LEt's face it, a lot of people would dump BOTH the Democrats or Republicans if they had other viable choices. But it is very rare that third party candidates are seen as having any chance at winning. So people don't pay serious attention to them, let alone vote for them.
Now is the best time in a long time when there is an opportunity to change the rules so third party candidates have a better chance. This would be a huge boon to democracy-- to re-energizing, modernizing and improving the health of our democracy.
1- treat all candidates equally, not favored treatment for democrats and republicans
3-take big money out of election campaigns-- polls show a big majority of Americans want this.
4-Take the biggest cost out of elections. Require local media AND national media to GIVE free ad time-- TV and radio-- to every qualified candidate.
6-Make a law that legislators cannot become lobbyists-- ever.
This op-ed started out as a letter to CNN, in response to their broken government series. So I left out number four, about forcing the media to give free ad time. I knew they wouldn't run my comment if I included it. But it's one of the biggies. We need to take the cost out of elections and since We The People OWN the airwaves, we have every right to require something from the media we freely loan them to.
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How do we make these things happen? In states where possible, get the people directly involved-- use proposition or similar direct ballot initiatives.
Otherwise, we need to start a national movement that pushes for these changes. You can still be a Democrat and support ALL of them. These will make for a healthier democracy and will force candidates to more clearly define their positions on issues.
We can do this. We need to do it. Don't expect the biggest liberal blogs to help much. They're too committed to the Democratic party. The Dems are currently the best thing we have to chose from in terms of viable candidates. But we can do better. I expect, if all the changes I call for came about, there would be plenty of Democrats I'd support, maybe even some Republicans-- because there would be Christicans and Corporacrats who would represent other constituencies who would push the Dems and Repubs to other positions.
Let's make it happen. It's a bipartisan project that even the far right might get behind. If it works, we'll see a much more diverse congress that works by coalition building, like we see in parlaiments in nations with more contemporary democracies. Who knows, we might even add a seventh change
7-The president must hold a majority of the support of the congress to stay in the presidency.
Creating a government with instant run-off elections, really viable third parties and term limits might actually enable us to dump the electoral system of government.