Politics & Media
Dec 08, 2022, 05:55AM

America’s Dysfunctional Political Process

A fix isn’t that hard if Democrats and Republicans make some compromises.

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Let’s consider America’s broken political system. Maybe a first step would be to hold all the primaries on the same day. This “first in the nation” stuff is bullshit. Although the idea of knocking Iowa and New Hampshire off the starting line has a certain appeal, N.H. will keep moving up their primaries until they occur the day after the previous election. Even if there has to be a first, these two states are 99 percent white, and no longer represent the actual American population.

Get rid of the fucking “Aisle.” Make the Democrats and Republicans sit next to each other, alternating by Party every other seat. Then some of them might come to realize that the other “side” has reasonable ideas. Have them share the same tables in the cafeteria. It can’t be possible that every single Republican is against gun control. It can’t be possible that every single Democrat is a tax-and-spend Socialist. There are only 100 Senators, and I doubt if any of them can name all of them.

Reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, or some manageable equivalent. This is probably less useful since broadcast media and newspapers are dying. The Internet has gained the upper hand and created the echo chamber. The division of the electorate began around 1987, when the FCC abolished the Doctrine. Even unbridled capitalism and broadcast station ownership shouldn’t mean you can say whatever the fuck you want; well, you can, but you should have to air the other side’s views as well. As things stand, one never has to listen to anything contrary to their own beliefs.

Federally fund the elections. The Founders were rich white guys, some of whom owned slaves. Excepting Obama, it’s still the same. And no corporate money, no personal wealth. Each candidate gets the same amount of Federal funds, to spend as they wish. This would require reversing the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Shorten the election cycle. The minute somebody wins a senate seat or the presidency, they start working on raising money for re-election. The cycle is tiresome; it’s a permanent, all-year juggernaut. The whole thing in England takes six weeks, or used to until pols there took cues from America.

Provide equal and free airtime on the broadcast media for all qualified candidates. The networks make millions off of leased frequencies, mostly selling us sitcoms, cars and sports. They should be required to give a few days or hours every few years to serve the public interest during the election cycle. Qualified candidates (who’s considered “qualified” is another question) for office would get the same amount of airtime each week, with no way to purchase extra time. This cuts the need for mega-millions. The Senate race in Georgia cost $400 million dollars.

Eliminate polling. We could do this ourselves by screening our calls and/or not answering the phone, and/or hanging up on the fuckers. Eliminate media coverage of the incoming results until all the counting is over. How many people will decide not to vote if results from early-voting states show their preferred candidate behind? Besides, polling might cripple the nascent election betting industry.

Election Day would become Election Weekend. From six a.m. Saturday until six p.m. Sunday. Voters should be automatically registered on the day they turn 18, when they’re required to register for the draft. If a state requires voter ID they must provide it to all comers, free of charge.

Dispense with the Electoral College. This shouldn’t pit Democrats against Republicans. Whatever happened to the “one person, one vote” idea? And why is it “winner take all” in each state? The Democrats lost two recent presidential elections even though the majority voted in their favor by millions both times. Also, if half the voters voted for the other guy, that means half the country feels otherwise, and some of their party should be installed in the new administration.

Make public opinion on critical issues binding. What good is democracy otherwise? I’m not voting for some guy to go to Congress and decide what’s best for me. If 72 percent of Americans want stricter gun control, do it. If 75 percent of Americans want access to abortion, do that. If most Americans would like some form of universal healthcare, figure out a way to give it to them. Is nobody else out there pissed that people need to crowdsource money for their medical bills? Sell their house? Go bankrupt? Again, how does the rest of the so-called “free” world manage to insure their citizens?

Institute term limits for Congress and the Supreme Court. We shouldn’t be stuck electing 80-year-olds to public office, and certainly not have to endure lifetime appointments for judges.

Finally, any candidate who won’t swear to accept their election results, and release their taxes, should be kicked off the ballot. There are plenty of candidates who’d gladly do both, as long as they have nothing to hide. Americans are entitled to know where their candidates’ money comes from, and they’re entitled to believe in the outcome of Election Day.


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