If I Were In Charge Of This Circus …

Like most of you, I’ve been living in a tumbler of emotions lately, between the daily onslaught of Trumptanic lies, and the up/down/up/down of the democratic primary season.  Add into that the coronavirus and the blatant lies & cover-ups by our administration, and … whew.  We’re tired, we’re exhausted, we’re depressed.  This is not the nation we used to live in, is not the nation we want to live in, is not a nation we recognize.  And so, sometimes we just have to stop for a minute, tune out and let the quiet wash over us, give ourselves time to … breathe, to think.

My thoughts led me down a path … wondering, what would I change if suddenly I were ‘in charge’, if I had the power to effect changes that would end some of the problems this nation faces today.  Where would I even start?

In the movie The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, based on the true story of the Von Trapp family in Austria, one of the songs starts …

♫ Let’s start at the very beginning
A very good place to start ♫

The very beginning, in this case, seems to be the very process that gives us our elected officials all the way up to the very highest office in the land, the presidency.  In the past few decades, the process has been reduced to a factor of who can gather the most money.  This is wrong.  Money is not what’s most important here … the person who has the most wealthy friends, or who can promise his way into garnering the largest contributions is not … NOT the one most qualified for the job.

I don’t want a damn rich politician, nor do I want one who has promised my life away to the rich bitches running the big corporations in order to get elected.

So, for starters I would take the money out of elections.  No campaign contributions over $100, and no contributions at all from lobbying groups such as the NRA or corporations such as fossil fuel or Big Pharma companies.  Nothing.  Private donations up to $100 only.  Media outlets shall give equal air time to the two major candidates in every contest.  So, for example, if ABC News gives a 30-second spot to Mitch McConnell, they must also give a 30-second spot to Amy McGrath, his democratic opponent.

Every utterance a candidate makes will be checked by non-partisan fact checkers and a daily tally will be published in every major media outlet.

Election seasons currently last from inauguration day until four years later.  This is bullshit for a number of reasons.  First, the politician is not doing the people’s work, but instead is campaigning for a full four years.  Second, it is expensive … and more so when you consider that the people are paying for round-the-clock security for the incumbents to flit about the country holding rallies, kissing babies and shaking hands.  Third, it is exhausting to we the people.  We don’t want to see these candidates’ faces on our screens 24/7 for four bloody years! Election seasons will begin on March 1st of the election year, primaries & caucuses will be complete by June 30th, and the respective party’s national conventions held in July.  The candidates can then campaign for three months until election day … plenty of time for them to sicken and disgust us with their rhetoric.  No political ads in the form of email, USPS mail, phone calls, television/radio/internet ads, or political rallies will be allowed prior to the March 1st date.  Violators will be automatically removed from the ballot, no questions asked.

Elections will be held on the first Sunday of November.  That’s right … I said Sunday.  Tuesday is a ridiculous day for elections … people do work for a living, y’know!  Sunday is perfect … few people are required to work on Sunday, so most everybody has the opportunity to go to the polls.  All polls will be required to open at 10:00 a.m. and stay open until 7:00 p.m.  No polls will close early, open late, or close altogether.  Public transportation will run on a weekday schedule on election day, to provide the maximum opportunity to voters who do not have their own transportation to get to the polls.

Every single state will have no excuse absentee voting.  Registration will be automatic upon any of the following:  a) renewal of driver’s license or public identification; b) filing of state tax return; c) enrollment in any school or university.  Other potential voters will be able to register online with proper proof of identification such as driver’s license or identification number, birth certificate number, or social security number.  No registered voters will be removed from the voter rolls until there is credible evidence that the person has either, a) died, or b) moved to a different state.

Finally, districting and the Electoral College will cease to exist for the purpose of presidential elections.  Districts may remain, for the time being, for the purpose of electing representatives to the House of Representatives, and for the purpose of determining each state’s votes based on population density, but for president, each state will tally the popular votes without consideration of districts, and that state’s votes, as determined by current standards per representation based on population density, will go to the candidate with the most popular votes.  Period.  At the end of the day, there will be no need for an electoral college, for there will be no districts and each state will vote according to the will of the people.

So, for example, California has 55 electoral votes based on their population.  If there are 8,753,788 votes for Joe Biden, and 4,483,810 for Donald Trump, then California’s 55 electoral votes go to Joe Biden.  Period.  There is no other option, the districts do not matter.  Biden wins California.  This is fair, in that the states receive a number of votes based on population, and in that there is no difference between the vote of a black person in the ghetto and a rich, white person in Hollywood Hills.  One person, one vote.  Period.

Whew.  I did not know I had so much of this to say about that!  But folks, every single thing I have said here is more fair than the system we have today.  Today, if you are a minority, you will have a harder time even being able to vote, and once you do, your vote is likely diluted due to gerrymandered districts.  If you are a student or a senior citizen, it will be harder for you to vote.  If you are a single, working mom, it will be damn near impossible for you to vote.

From time to time, I may be back with other things I might change “if I were in charge”.  It’s a good way to clear the mind, to categorize the things we take issue with, and to think about a better way of doing things.  The world is not perfect, this country is far from perfect, and people are not perfect, so we will always have a flawed system, but … I really think we could make it better if we all tried.

42 thoughts on “If I Were In Charge Of This Circus …

  1. Thanks for sharing!.. unfortunately in this country (USA) one has to deal with the party system… Republican or Democrat…. and in spite of what the politician may say while running for election, once in Washington becomes part of the system… every election year it is the same story Democrats v. the Republicans, nothing changes.. that can get depressing and in time there will be those disillusioned who will vote for anyone simply because of making a statement or they won’t vote at all.. 🙂

    “The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom”. Isaac Asimov

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it has always been so, and while I would prefer a multi-party system, it is unlikely to ever happen. This never-ending election season, however, is wearying. Exhausting. It needs to be trimmed to no more than a few months, and the big money needs to be taken out of the process … it makes is too easy for big corporations and lobbying groups to buy our elected officials. The Asimov quote is apt!

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      • While I will occasionally browse the political news, I do not dwell on it very long, there is more to life than politics… 🙂 plus I believe that while observing candidates, etc, sometimes “actions speak louder than words”…

        “The thinking that got us to where we are is not the thinking that will get us to where we want to be”.. Albert Einstein

        Liked by 2 people

        • Yes, my friend, there is more to life than politics. But … we are at a turning point, and the direction we turn could make a significant difference in our lives over the coming years, so … I can’t turn away from it.

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          • Life has already has made a difference, with or without politics, and change is in the winds no matter what ideology one uses… 🙂

            Not saying turn away from it, just don’t let it cause you to turn a blind eye to the rest of your life and prevent you from smelling the roses from time to time… 🙂

            “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Alexander Graham Bell

            Liked by 2 people

  2. If I were in charge:

    (1) Primary campaigns start on September 1. Political advertising is not permitted before then. However, those who want to run can still be interviewed on the late night talk shows at any time (including before September 1).

    (2) Primary voting in the last week of September.

    (3) Party conventions in the first week of October.

    (4) Campaigning for the final election begins in October. But, of course, some people will advertise in September by making their ads look as if they are for the primaries. That can’t be help.

    The idea is to greatly shorten the election season. Currently, it seems to be continuous. If we can cut it down to 2 months, then far less money would be needed.

    Yes, I know it won’t happen. But we can dream, can’t we?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The problem with politicians who say they want to reform electoral systems (while I know you would do it!), is that once they are elected, suddenly the system doesn’t seem so bad. We have the same issue in Canada – but while people complain that Trudeau didn’t keep his promise to reform our system, we all know “the other guys” wouldn’t either.

    Liked by 2 people

    • To a large extent that is true, that they find other priorities and it is largely forgotten. And, if they don’t have the support of Congress, they can’t get it done anyway. And you’re right … the other guys wouldn’t do it, either. Overall, I think Trudeau is a pretty straight shooter … especially compared to Trump!

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  4. Jill, well done. Money needs to be diminished or removed from the equation. A retiring Congressperson said he was leaving because he spent over 1/3 of his time fundraising. Also politicians need to know they cannot lie with impunity. The president did not invent lying, but it is newsworthy when he tells the truth. Politicians need to know “we know you are lying.” But, until the biased pseudo news sources say clearly when politicians are lying, they have impunity.

    People need to know that the president is the biggest purveyor of fake news in our country. As a result, I do not believe a word he says, as the odds are well in my favor. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Keith! Money definitely needs to be diminished … large corporate donations can only lead to corruption, to buying and selling our politicians.

      On another note, I see your Mark Meadows is now the new White House Chief of Staff. I realize he wasn’t planning to run for re-election, but … he is still in office and … well, isn’t this a huge conflict of interest???

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      • Jill, his gerrymandered district has been changed by the judges. So, he does not stand a chance of winning. He wants to bide his time and run for Richard Burr’s senate seat in 2020 wheh Burr retires. You read where I noted the most smug staffer I heve encountered in all of my calls. He works for Meadows. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

  5. You bring up many valid points, campaign reform is a must. How do you feel about mandatory voting, will that make a difference? What about reinstating civics class studies back in public education, so ppl can make an educated vote rather than a popularity contest. One aspect of Trump winning was b/c he was seen as a “celebrity” and more popular than stodgy “crooked” Hillary… this is how far our democracy has devolved.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like most of your ideas. Especially Sunday voting. Although I’d move election day up to mid-October, when the weather tends to be better.
    Also, I’d get rid of the Electoral college entirely, and go solely with the popular vote.
    It would be nice to have such a short presidential election season, rather than our current, perennial way of running for office. It does get tiresome.

    Liked by 4 people

      • Trouble with the Electoral College is that it did the exact opposite of what the Founders intended! The intent was that if the people one day elected a completely inappropriate candidate, the Electoral College could override the people’s vote. A touchy proposition under the best of circumstances, but in 2016, they BLEW it. And, with the uber-gerrymandering in many states, it is destined to fail anyway. One vote, one person, the person with the most votes overall wins. Period.

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    • I agree with you on the electoral college, actually. I was overthinking it, I think. And the mid-October before the snows hit in the far northern states isn’t a bad idea, either. We really must shorten the election season … it is entirely too expensive and exhausting.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Some great ideas there, Jill. One problem you don’t seem to have addressed – and it may not be such a big problem in the US as in the UK – is what I might characterize as the “Red state/Blue state/Swing state” problem. As I understand it there are states in which the majority always votes GOP and others where the majority traditionally votes Democrat. And then there are the handful of states where the outcome varies from election to election. Inevitably the parties concentrate there campaiging in those estates where there is a chance of influencing the outcome. The Dems in GOP states and the GOPs in Dem states feel disenfranchised because their votes are unlikely to change the outcome – and that reduces turn-out.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Frank! Yes, that is a big problem here, but as I see it, the only likely solution would be mandatory voting such as they have in Australia and other places. I looked into that at one point in time, and figured that it would never work here, but I may look into it again. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

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