Reviews | Repair the political system to reflect the will of the people | Guest columns


Political discussions increasingly revolve around the need to reform our electoral system. In the US Senate, for example, a senator from North Dakota represents 380,000 people, but a senator from California represents 19.5 million people. It’s not equal representation for the people of California, whose voices are watered down a million times over.

If one expands the survey to also include South Dakota and Wyoming, the six senators from the Dakotas and Wyoming each represent an average of 370,180 citizens. With a combined total population of 2.2 million, these sparse states have three times more representation in the powerful US Senate than California with 39.4 million.

Each senator also counts for a state’s electoral votes used to determine the outcome of presidential elections. These remnants of an antiquated political system stifle majority rule.

In two of the last six presidential elections, the “winners” (George W. Bush and Donald Trump) have actually lost the popular vote. Since 1988, Republicans have won the popular vote only once in eight elections, further highlighting the significant disconnect between popular will and election results.

President Joe Biden won his election with 81 million votes, the most in US history, beating Donald Trump by more than 7 million votes. Yet fraudulent claims about different state results have muddied the waters of its historic achievement.

Whoever gets the most votes should just win. We live in one nation after all, not a series of fiefdoms. The Democrats should brag a little more about winning the most votes in history.

No state would easily cede its senatorial powers, but a winner-takes-all approach to presidential elections is clearly understandable. The notion is imbued with common sense and reflects a very American way of thinking. The winner of the popular vote should hold the position.

We can also improve US elections by reducing their frequency. A perpetual two-year cycle of uninterrupted election campaigns has the entire nation on edge as billions in monetary interests saturate all forms of media to sway votes and opinion – much of it misleading and vitriolic.

When a president is elected, he has only one year to forge the changes he has championed during his campaign. In year two, House members are positioning themselves for re-election, replacing vital discussions of global warming, women’s health care and economic justice with confrontation.

The presidential term should be set at six years so that our country can bequeath the time needed to find solutions to the crises we face. If six years is enough for a senator, it is enough for the highest office in the country.

The House, in turn, should operate on a four-year cycle. Incumbents would feel no overwhelming pressure to position themselves for the primaries every two years, a condition that forces them to curry favor with major donors, enacting division and instability. The nation would breathe a mighty sigh of relief if it granted him three years of political silence.

In this regard, states should establish nonpartisan or independent redistricting boards to determine congressional and state-level districts. Gerrymandered districts are often a near-lockdown for one party or the other, and primary races foster extremism to motivate fringe voters in low-turnout elections.

The public overwhelmingly supports independent redistricting councils, and they are also strongly in favor of exposing the torrents of black money used to influence election results.

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 Citizens United decision erroneously concluded that “disclosure (of expenses) allows citizens and shareholders to respond appropriately to corporate speech. This transparency allows the electorate to make informed decisions and give appropriate weight to different speakers and messages. »

But as the Brennan Center for Justice has found, “Citizens United’s most significant results have been the creation of super PACs, which empower the wealthiest donors, and the expansion of black money through ‘obscure nonprofits that don’t disclose their donors’.

One solution is to dress contestants as race car drivers with the logos of their corporate sponsors affixed to their $1,000 suits. This would ensure the “transparency” identified by the court as the rationale for its decision. Red MAGA hats could be associated with the Exxon and JP Morgan brand.

Or we could impose an excise tax on untold sums and demand transparency by moving campaign spending out of the current “nonprofit” IRS 501(c) creations. Every day, men and women pay sales taxes on their expenses, as well as state and federal income taxes for Medicare, Social Security, and unemployment, totaling about 40% of wages. net.

With nearly $1 billion in campaign spending planned for Wisconsin this year alone, let’s raise a 40% tax to generate $400 million for teacher salaries, affordable health care or child tax credits . The money used to manipulate our elections by powerful interests should be harnessed for the greater good.

Our political system was born of a great compromise. The nation must grow by shedding old and new systems designed to support minority control. America, named after an Italian cartographer and confused by Christopher Columbus with an entirely different continent, is an amalgam of unique historical confluences. Building on this understanding, we can move towards a truly just society where the democratic rights of individuals are valued more than the oppressive structures of colonizers that persist to this day.

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