We must reform the democratic process to keep young Americans engaged in their nation’s destiny. Thedesire to leave the US permanently was high among young people, particularly young women, and lower income Americans.
Wealthy Americans are making money on American elections. Trump tax cuts gave Sheldon and Miriam Adelson’s casino business $700 million tax bonanza. They used $113 million dollars to plow into the 2018 election. 4 dollars in every 10 came from 1 tenth of 1% of Americans. Small wonder people believe lawmakers are beholden to special interests.
The new Democratic majority has introduced the “For the People Act” H.R. 1. It contains many constructive proposals and while it may be passed by the House, the Republican Senate is unlikely to approve it. But it will have been debated and ready for the 2020 Congress which hopefully will see a Senate majority and a has-been Trump.
- The bill would create a national public financing system for House elections in which candidates would receive $6 in matching public funds for every $1 they raise in private funds up to $200 from any one donor. It will also create a similar system for presidential elections; Democrats say they will propose a separate bill covering Senate campaign financing.
- Voting doesn’t just happen in the United States today. To make certain that everyone who can vote is able to vote, make voter registration automatic for all eligible voters, using information they’ve already provided the Department of Motor Vehicles or other state agencies. Other ways to spur voting is online, same-day registration, and allow colleges and universities to register students. 1 in 5 Americans were eligible to vote but did not register. Automatic registration would change this.
- Use the federal courts to make states not take away individual’s voting rights through voter ID laws, the purging of voter rolls, and inaccessible and inadequate polling places or any form of voter suppression. States would have the affirmative duty to maintain voter registration, as is done in many other democracies.
- Other measures include making Election Day a holiday for federal workers, removing the ability of states to require an excuse to vote absentee, allowing people to vote in person two weeks before an election, eliminate postage on absentee ballots, and enabling people who vote in the wrong precinct to have their vote counted, and automatically restoring voting rights to people no longer incarcerated.
- Reverse through legislation the Citizens United decision which prevents Congress and state governments from limiting political spending. This may provoke a Constitutional crisis but without this the votes of average people are so diluted, it will be virtually impossible to recover public trust in the integrity of our government. The Supreme Court must reverse itself.
- Require public disclosure of the sources of all political donations. Much of that is now secret and the Federal Elections Commission needs to be empowered to enforce this. to enforce campaign finance regulation.
- No longer permit members of Congress, their staffs, cabinet members and top White House personnel to take lobbying jobs after leaving government for two to five years.
- Require members of Congress to place their investments in neutral accounts like index funds.
- Require all candidates running for Congress and the presidency release their tax returns so the American people know of any potential financial conflicts of interests before they’re elected.
- Require states to have independent redistricting commissions, Arizona, California, Michigan, and Colorado, have to eliminate gerrymandered districts.
- To assure elections from being hacked, requiring states to use paper ballots even if they use electronic equipment so there will be a paper trail.
These reforms are needed to restore the Jeffersonian ideals on which this nation was founded.