The political “experts” assure us that in the past election the public expressed anger, distrust and frustration with politics as practiced in Washington. Yet over 80 percent of the incumbents were reelected! President-Elect Trump has demonstrated the power of harnessing the national desire to change things.
The reality is that our country no longer functions as a two party system. In the vast majority of election districts aspiring citizens have no real chance to compete due to the manipulations of the two major parties and the moneyed interests behind them. As a result, it seems that our representatives now have their first loyalty to their party rather than to their conscience or to the compromises necessary to serve the public.
We send Republicans and Democrats to Washington rather than Americans. Ideological purity has replaced the need to get things done.
What can be done? Here are a few thoughts, some simple and some more fanciful:
–Eliminate the Electoral College and let the candidate with the most votes win. (A crazy idea!)
–End political control over determining districts (“gerrymandering”) so that our representatives need to have a more holistic view of the region, state, and nation’s challenges.
–End the right of political parties to choose replacements after a resignation, which allows someone handpicked by a party to run as an “incumbent” without ever being elected.
–End the practice of party insiders (“Super Delegates”) having power to impose their will over elected delegates.
–Charge a 10 percent tax on all political commercials (whether by party or pac) with the money going to eliminate the national debt.
–Empower an independent commission with the power to fine or expel any candidate who lies in a commercial.
–Require equal access to any candidate who feels they have been disadvantaged by a “half truth” in advertising.
–Empower a panel of high school students to create a code of ethics for all candidates. Candidates could sign on to this code or ignore it at their own peril.
Such changes would not advantage the powers to be. Some of these suggestions might lead to unintended consequences and others might be downright stupid ideas. But, like many Americans, I believe the current system doesn’t seem to be working and I hope others might start a discussion and add to these thoughts.
Dr. F. Scott Regan