Return Government to the people
Career politicians like Lamar Smith are serving the interests of corporations and wealthy donors instead of their constituents. Until we end this corruption by taking Big Money out of politics, we won’t be able to achieve the progressive goals of universal health care, environmental protection, education reform, and ending poverty. We were founded on the principle that everyone has a voice in politics, but that is no longer the case. We must take our government back by making America democratic again. This is how we take our government back:
Campaign Finance Reform: Corporations, as of this moment, can buy any election they want, all because of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. They decided that the dollar is the same as a voice. This is gravely mistaken, however, for if money is a voice, then the richest 20 people outweigh 152,000,000 Americans. That is not the way democracy is supposed to be. How can we have One Person, One Vote if the voice of the top 20 can outweigh the voice of half of America? We need to end Big Money’s influence, we need to regulate Super PACs, we need to close the loophole that allows Dark Money from potentially foreign governments and other unknown individuals, and we need a form of publicly-financed campaigns. We must free our government from money’s corrupting influence.
End Gerrymandering: The voters must choose their representatives, not the other way around. Gerrymandering has long been an issue in American politics, but with the advent of data-mining and computer technology, politicians have used these tools to gerrymander with surgical precision. In 2016 the Congressional GOP received 49.9% of the vote, so you would think they received 49.9% of seats in Congress. Instead, they received 55.2% of the seats, while the Democrats received 44.8% of the seats despite winning 47.3% of the vote. That’s a 10.4% difference, meaning that up to 14.3 million Americans were denied their rightful voice in Congress. This is corruption. Partisan gerrymandering, no matter which party it benefits, is wrong and should be illegal. The process of redistricting must be transferred to independent, transparent commissions that employ the modern technology to draw fair district maps whereby our Congressional composition becomes more proportional to the electorate.
End Electoral College: In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote by over half a million votes but still lost the election due to the Electoral College. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by over 2.8 million but still lost the election due to the Electoral College. Enough is enough, it is time to end the Electoral College. A democracy can only be a democracy when it lives by the tenet of One Person, One Vote. How can we say we follow this tenet if our system prevents the candidate with the most votes from winning? This is a failure of democracy, and considering two of the last five presidential elections in the 21st century ended with the less popular candidate winning (a failure rate of 40%), this is an issue that can no longer be ignored.
Congressional Term Limits: Democracy functions best when fresh ideas are continually added to the mix. Incumbents naturally have the advantage, they naturally become set in their ways, they naturally begin to stagnate, but many refuse to leave. By amending the Constitution to set reasonable term limits in the House and Senate, we’ll promote a fresh influx of ideas, limit outdated practices, and will continually impede the growth of corruption.