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.