If you read the previous installment of this article, you will recall that rather than give us a system where the State Legislatures elected the President which would have been a straight-forward system at least; where the people would be fully aware of their extremely limited influence on the choice of a President; they chose instead to give us a system where the people are encouraged to vote but where the actual choice is made by a group of virtually unknown and unknowable voters called Electors.
A system that pretends to give power to the people but reserves the right to counteract the peoples choice if they wish………………………………….
You also know that i have proposed a different system where the peoples vote alone; tallied in total rather than by State would elect the President and all other elected official be they Federal, State, or Local. A Plebicyte. Each person having what I like to call “One True Vote”.
Well, now that we have solved the problem of how we elect a president; let’s take a look at how presidents and others pay for and conduct their campaigns.
Perhaps we can find a better system for that as well. Considering the high level of corruption inherent in tha system today; I don’t suspect we will have much trouble.
The way campaigns are run now; voters would be just as successful picking a president if they were blindfolded.
It seems to me that way too many people go to the polls without an idea of the issues before them or the virtues and faults of the candidate.
It would be difficult enough to gain any knowledge of the Candidates under the system that I suggest but it is impossible under the current system of campaigns and elections.
Candidates get more or less exposure in any given area based on whether they think they need to cultivate the people in that area. So, if the area is already strong for the candidate, they will be lucky to get an autographed photo of the candidate whereas if the area is leaning toward the other candidate, the sky’s the limit.
This of course, assuming that the area is the home of the appropriately influential organization, business, labor union or celebrity(s).
Other than these and probably some reasons I don’t know about; the average American will never see or hear anything but carefully planned sound bites of the candidate.
Oh Yeh, I almost forgot. They will also be treated to a campaign long series of misleading, backbiting, mudslinging, posters, television commercials, and radio spots. As well as billboards, bus-boards, and maybe even the occasional neatly dressed young woman advertizing her wholesome, all American good looks and intelligence or semi-dressed young women praying upon the lone business man or urban worker and handing out campaign literature along with a thinly veiled erotic plea for help in the form of votes.
Yes I know, it’s the American tradition of free elections and “blah, blah, blah, yackety schmakety”.
But what about the American tradition (in theory) of fair play and the people’s right to know. To be informed not mislead.
What about the peoples right to be lead by the candidate of their choice. Not a candidate selected by a person they don’t know, won’t ever see, in many cases are not told the identity of and would probably not chose if they were.
If they don’t have that right, they damn well should.
Note: At the time that I wrote this plan, I naively assumed that many of our problems and much of the injustice in this country could be successfully addressed through our current political system. I believed that we were still at a point where instituting a fair election system such as the one that I propose here would allow the true will of the people to redirect our nation. I have since become convinced that this is no longer a possibility. I am convinced that the Occupy Wall Street Movement and it’s related groups are the only answer. We must excersize our God given and Constitution Guaranteed right to peacably assemble and to seek redress of our grievences. If you can’t go to a protest; blog, speak to family and friends I suspect you will be surprized at the amount of agreement and perhaps support you will get. Our Nation is in the most precarious position it has ever been in. Our rights; our Freedom and our very lives are at stake.
What I failed; at the time; to see is that although I still believe in and advocate just such a system; the people with the power will never allow such a change to be made.
This change would do away with their only Legal Panic Switch.
Just in case; despite all of their planning and power; a truly independant candidate should successfully run and win the popular vote.
So then what to do?
The first step is to remove money from politics by banning all private political donations and all Lobbying of politicians to vote for or against any measure.
Once this is done; we can begin to repair and rebuild our system into one that works for the 99% as well as the old one did for the 1%
Don’t let the politicians tell you it won’t work. The system is not working now. It never did. It is a system with a long standing tradition of corruption and undue influence.
My plan would not only assure a direct vote of the people it would assure that everyone heard the same thing from the candidates.
It would offer an opportunity for the people to submit questions that would be answered on air, in front of the whole nation and would do away with the misleading propaganda offered up as information with which the people are to make a choice.
Let’s face it campaigns are fantasy thrill ride of exciting statements, personal insults and accusations, and the worst kind of fairytales to go along with it.
My plan would give even the most politically naïve a fair chance to understand the candidates and their plans and promises so that they too could have a voice and have their vote be counted. They would also be confident that the Candidate cared what the people want. Acting for the good of the people would then be the only road to re-election.
It would force candidates to gain the respect of the people, even those without degrees
It is so simple that any self-respecting politician
(and God only knows there shouldn’t be more than a handful of those; but politics it seems makes many delusional) is bound to hate it.
Politicians use the old “Confuse and Conquer” strategy to keep the people impressed with their intelligence and ability to wade through all the carefully and purposefully placed red tape and barbed wire that so frustrates the average voter.
It makes most of us say “politics is way too complicated for me to understand” and either vote strictly along party lines or not vote at all.
I’ll bet that a lot more of us would vote if we knew that our vote would count for something and not just become another number with seemingly little effect, meaning, or value. A political campaign is supposed to inform people not confuse them. Candidates are not supposed to manipulate people into voting for them with inaccurate and/or sensationalist political ads.
That is a perversion brought on by an excess of………………That’s right degrees but mostly money.
Too much money, too many options for candidates and their campaign managers to use to deceive the people by direct lies usually couched as a miscommunication on the part of some anonymous staffer six weeks later when the real numbers or facts are verified and the error publicized.
That is of course after six weeks of the public hearing that candidate A. supported a mining bill back in 1999 that caused fifteen children to be killed by poisonous runoff from a local mine when new techniques funded and supported by the bill were used.
The truth usually turns out to be that four children were dizzy for awhile after cutting a fence and playing in the drainage ditch attached to the mine.
Point this out to the accuser, candidate B. and he will say that his staff were misinformed and that they are aware of the inaccurate information.
But most people will never hear the retraction.
And hey here’s one you know. The picture opens on a hurricane ravaged plot of land the size of a small state. From above you zoom in on a small group of people then in farther to an inspiring shot of candidate B. directing rescue and salvage operations and giving instructions to his aids in his tailor made silk suit pants and very white shirtsleeves. They then tell you how much support the candidate gave to the victims of this disaster, that disaster, everywhere another disaster that he flew thousands of miles to get his picture taken in front of.
Give me the picture of the candidate pulling people out of buildings or carrying supplies to stranded victims with blood and feces smeared all over him for hours or days on end looking as half dead as the people he is recuing. Then I might believe. But really, I don’t think I want Dick Cheney (for instance) out recuing people from the wreckage. I wouldn’t vote for him but really; can’t you hear the news blurb now?
“Presidential Candidate, Dick Cheney was pulled from the water-soaked wreckage of Hurricane Lu-Lu today after suffering a severe coronary in an apparent attempt to save a small, shivering puppy with big, sad brown eyes and a broken leg from an island of debris amid the swirling wash of flood water. As he was whisked off to a local State of the art Coronary Center he smiled for the cameras and said he was just doing his duty as an American,,,,,,,with heart trouble,,,,,,,and a bad back,,,,,,, and acid reflux.”
I guess I have gone on enough about the reasons for making such a huge change as I propose.
I suppose you would like to know if I have a more specific plan for a campaign policy.
Well, the answer is yes…. Yes I do……….. And I’m going to show it to you as soon as I say that my plan may not be perfect. More safeguards may be necessary than the ones I describe to insure a clean, true election but overall I think that it would be a lot simpler than the powers that be will admit and I think my plan would work. You see, we simplify the system and the change to that system by including the Federal Government in the planning and oversight. We standardize the voting procedures and polling places throughout the nation. And don’t let them tell you that the cost would be prohibitive.
I am sure we can find the money. We find money to destroy other countries on the mere vindictive whim of a President who was miffed becuse Sadaam insulted his poor old Nazi Daddy. I’m sure we can find the money to save our country from what is the inevitable result of ignoring this problem. The complete anihilation of the Middle Class; the complete domination of America by the Big Corporate power structure; the institution of a complete Fascist Police State where you either work for the State or you are a slave of the State. Don’t believe me? You better start asking around and reading more blogs and watching news that doesn’t come on TV.
It should never happen that a candidate is not able to run for office due to a lack of funds. The people don’t care how much money the candidates have; they only care about the character and ideas of the candidate. If a man can generate the required number of signatures to show the peoples interest (and that number should not be unreasonable) then he should have all of the same opportunities to put his case forward to the people as any other man regardless of his ability to pay for his campaign.
Some might conclude that this would lead to candidates being placed on the ballot who were not qualified or frivolous in their attitude toward the process or the position but I believe the American people would take the process much more seriously than to allow that and if not, the campaign process would weed out those candidates when they were unable to put forth valid ideas or present themselves appropriately.
The people will not be fooled by such a person. They are more than capable of telling the difference between a Bill Clinton and a Ralph Nader or other such candidate.
I believe they might even gain enough savvy from this system to be able to tell the difference between a sincere person of honorable intent and a con-man in an expensive suit with an eye on their money.
The time has come to end the uncontrolled campaigning, vicious mudslinging, and questionable innuendos used to elect our Presidents.
Rather than allow each candidate to spend enormous amounts of money to get elected by plastering signs all over the countryside, and treating each state in whatever way they chose, cultivating some and ignoring others, I propose a system where
1) Each of the candidates would be required to visit every state in the union so that the people can get a feel for the candidate. The candidates would spend two or three days in each state making several appearances in various areas of the state to maximize his exposure to the populace.
2) Each candidate would record a speech to the people which would be run on all television stations at no cost to the candidate. It would run several times over the course of the campaign and should be limited to two hours. The candidate would have time to express his views on a variety of issues and hopefully tell us his true feelings. The fact that the only way to win an election would be to cultivate each of the hundred million or so voters should encourage the candidate to open up to convince us that he is the right person for the job. He could introduce his family and they could each take two or three minutes to express their views and/or tell us about the candidate from their point of view.
Of course we would all need to sharpen our bull-feces detection abilities because if we do; we might actually see something under this system; but really; could we ever need them more than we do right now?
3) There would be a series of televised debates. Attendance for all candidates would be mandatory. No more of the top two contenders only inviting who they wish to debate. The rules of the debate would be lax so as to allow the most freedom of expression on the part of the candidates. Three or four debates should do the job. Now they can get that mudslinging done that they will probably be itching to do, if they really feel that this is what will impress the American people, or they could chose to conduct themselves in another manner. Who knows?
4) Last but certainly not least, each candidate would appear separately on television to answer as clearly and concisely as possible, questions submitted by voters and chosen by an independent committee of people from both parties or all parties as the case may be and five questions chosen by the candidates themselves. The questions would be selected to cover the widest possible number of issues and areas of concern. Answers would be limited to say, 3 minutes for each question and unfinished answers can be revisited at the end if time allows. This program would need to be at least two, perhaps three hours long and would also play several times over the course of the campaign.
That’s it. That would be the whole campaign. It would be scheduled to conclude appoximately two weeks or so before the election to allow people time to reflect but not enough time to forget.
I acknowledge that it may take more time and more debates but those are detail I can’t accuarately predict from here.
We would all get the chance to see each candidate in person, hear them talk about themselves and their views, hear them answer questions from the voters themselves and finally see them square off against all of the other candidates in several debates covering a wide variety of issues.
We would no longer be browbeaten on a daily basis with confusing campaign ads, ever more severe name calling, and financial reports of the candidates spending. The only reason a candidate would have to spend more than anyone else would be to rent a better hotel room or a better travel bus or eat a better cut of steak.
But this kind of change doesn’t come by stubbornly trying to work within the current political system. The current group of politicians would rather butcher their grandmother than allow such a change as I propose.
It is time for reasonable, right-minded people to stand up and say:
“Hey! I am a reasonable, right-minded person and I’m not going to buy your flimsy excuses and money grubbing schemes anymore. I won’t allow my President to be elected by strangers anymore. Give us the vote. Give us the real, true vote and let the people decide. Give us a clean, honest election system that truly reflects our will as a nation. Give us our “One True Vote”.
Get out there and protest or write or just tell everyone you can.
Tell the press what you think.
Tell your mom what you think.
Talk about it with your friends and co-workers.
I’ll bet you will be surprised at the number of people who agree with you.
Don’t stop fighting for this most basic right to self determination.
When blacks wanted the vote, they fought for it.
When women wanted the vote, they fought for it.
And if we are ever to get the right to That “One True Vote, we will have to fight for it too.