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Posted: December 6, 2018
Category: NATIONAL HEADLINES
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I Served in Congress Longer Than Anyone. Here’s How to Fix It.




Just for a moment, however, let’s imagine the American system we might have if the better angels of our nature were to prevail.

Here, then, are some specific suggestions—and they are only just that, suggestions—for a framework that might help restore confidence and trust in our precious system of government:

An electoral system based on full participation. At age 18, you are automatically registered to vote. No photo ID, no residency tests, no impediments of any kind. Advances in technology can make this happen effortlessly. Yes, voting should be restricted only to American citizens. Strict protections against foreign meddling are also necessary.

Read: Voter suppression is the new old normal


The elimination of money in campaigns. Period. Elections, like military service—each is an example of duty, honor, and service to country—should be publicly funded. Can you imagine if we needed to rely on wealthy donors to fund the military? I know there are those who genuinely believe in privatizing everything. They are called profiteers.

Public service should not be a commodity, and elected officials should not have to rent themselves out to the highest bidder in order to get into (or stay in) office. If you want to restore trust in government, remove the price tag. I am fully aware that the Supreme Court has declared that “money is speech.” That’s nonsense. The day my wallet starts talking to me, I might reconsider that view. Until then, I believe that the pernicious influence of money on our elections must be removed.

The end of minority rule in our legislative and executive branches. The Great Compromise, as it was called when it was adopted by the Constitution’s Framers, required that all states, big and small, have two senators. The idea that Rhode Island needed two U.S. senators to protect itself from being bullied by Massachusetts emerged under a system that governed only 4 million Americans.

Today, in a nation of more than 325 million and 37 additional states, not only is that structure antiquated, it’s downright dangerous. California has almost 40 million people, while the 20 smallest states have a combined population totaling less than that. Yet because of an 18th-century political deal, those 20 states have 40 senators, while California has just two. These sparsely populated, usually conservative states can block legislation supported by a majority of the American people. That’s just plain crazy.

The math is even starker when you look at places like Wyoming and Vermont, each of which has fewer people in the entire state (575,000 and 625,000, respectively) than does the Twelfth Congressional District of Michigan, which I last represented and whose more than 700,000 residents are now in the hands of my wife, Debbie. She fights her heart out for them every single day. Yet her efforts are often stymied simply because it is understood that even should a good bill make it through the hyper-partisan House, it will die a quiet death in the Senate because of the disproportionate influence of small states.



via The Atlantic https://ift.tt/2QcNSib

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