Two, long, boring years before every presidential election we hear a constant barrage of empty promises. Candidates will say whatever voters want to hear, but then once elected, they change their views and do a position switch. The result is that we get the same old prototypical leaders over and over again. It happens because "the system is rigged," as George Carlin said. Our so-called "democracy" is a sham, a big joke. Voting does not change anything significantly, and it is understandable why many individuals do not even vote or vote for a third party.
We political readers love the political writers who eloquently articulate the problems, but change is not going to happen until large numbers of us unite and work toward a common goal. We have to focus on the solution.
Everyone who was very displeased with both Trump and Clinton for different reasons in the recent election should work together to take all money out of politics. We have to demand that every political party that garners one percent of the voters has a right to be heard when the Republicans and Democrats have their debates. In the final three months of any presidential and state legislative election, we can restrict the debate to the 7 largest political parties. We have to demand that all TV and radio political advertisements be outlawed, as we implement public financing of all national and state elections. Naysayers may think that these are far-fetched ideals, but then nobody expected that Bernie Sanders would become so popular, or that Donald Trump would be elected President.
Imagine how much more interesting the recent presidential election debates would have been if they had included not just the Republican and Democratic parties, but the Libertarian Party, the Green Party, the Constitution Party, the Socialist Party, and the Communist Party. We could have a more informed citizenry, an educated populace, if all the major parties could be represented. People could then actually vote their conscience, and not the lesser of two evils.
As it is now, whoever gets the most campaign money is most likely to get elected (and reelected), so our so-called "public servants" end up selling themselves to the highest bidder, the largest donor, because there are prestige and financial perks in being a politician. Public financing of all elections is the only way to create a genuine democracy.
Any member of the Libertarian, Green, or Constitution parties (the three largest third parties) could easily write this article, advocating the empowerment of the largest political parties. It is also interesting and significant that none of these three major third parties proposes a neo-conservative (or neo-liberal) foreign policy, as both the Republicans and Democrats do.
Skeptics might think that if we give an equal voice to every political party that gets one percent of the registered voters, it is possible that there could be 100 different parties, which would be too overwhelming for citizens to choose from. But that is unlikely because getting one percent of the voters to join a national or state political party is no easy task. Furthermore, in the final 3 months of any election, the debate could be restricted to the 7 largest parties that garnered at least one percent. So why not just limit the debate to the largest 7 from the get-go? Because we need to hear from all the political groups in our society, whether we agree with them or not. Those fringe groups did not just emerge out of a vacuum. There is a reason that they exist. If we listen to them deeply, they may listen to us as well. Minor parties can become major parties if they are given a voice, heard by all.
From the BernieSanders.com website, the following segment of Bernie's campaign speech articulates our dire predicament: "Six years ago , as a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, by a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court essentially said to the wealthiest people in this country: you already own much of the American economy. Now, we are going to give you the opportunity to purchase the U.S. government, the White House, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, governor's seats, legislatures, and state judicial branches as well. The Citizens United decision hinges on the absurd notion that money is speech, corporations are people, and giving huge piles of undisclosed cash to politicians in exchange for access and influence does not constitute corruption."
Large numbers of people are now realizing more than ever that the Electoral College system for electing a President has to be abolished. In the distant future, in my opinion, we should implement proportional representation for a unicameral national legislature, as the undemocratic US Senate is eliminated altogether. Isn't it amazing that California and Wyoming have the same number of U.S. Senators, though California's population is about 70 times greater? Eliminating the U.S. Senate, however, may require a new national constitution down the road, but that should not be our current focus. It is just something to think about.
Working one state at a time to change the third-party ballot-access laws in each state has not worked. A better strategy now is to get one U.S. Senator or one U.S. House Representative to propose a bill, and once proposed, we should expose every federal legislator who obstructs it or refuses to support it. Just reversing Citizens United will not empower the major third parties. Please join me in urging all national third parties to unite for this purpose.
Furthermore, we need thousands of activists writing to all the federal legislators who are most likely willing to introduce this bill, as we organize protests in every major city, focusing on the obvious solution. Years ago, it was often heard, possibly from the Moral Majority: "Don't criticize the system unless you have a better solution!" They were right. But we have a solution. We just need to collectively focus on it. Here is a sample letter that can be written to lawmakers:
Dear Honorable Senator or Honorable Congressman/Congresswoman
Please introduce the following bill to Maximize Democracy in our nation:
Any national political party that garners at least one percent of the registered voters in the nation should have a right to participate in presidential debates. In the final 3 months of a presidential election, the televised debate should be restricted to the 7 largest national political parties. For example, if only 5 parties have captured at least one percent of nationally registered voters, then the debate would be between those 5.