When there is a real democracy, people will participate, because people do care about their lives, families, and communities.
True Democracy Basics
- The U.S. electoral process is badly out-of-date.
- There is a “recipe” of simple ingredients that would bring democratic decision-making closer to the people the decisions affect.
True Democracy Background and Proposal
The United States created a state-of-the-art democracy more than 200 years ago. It is now out-of date, and one of its big flaws is still with us, the Electoral College, a feature that was created to empower slave-owners. Both Trump in 2016 and Bush in 2000 took the presidency through the Electoral College — both of them lost the popular vote.
Other democracies, more than 90 in the world, include Proportional Representation, which encourages people to vote for the set of values and policies they want for legislative seats, without fear that their vote will inadvertently help elect a candidate they oppose. Ranked Choice Voting encourages people to vote for what they want in executive offices like mayor, governor, or president. These systems reduce the power of money in campaigns, reduce negative campaigning, and increase the accountability of public officials to the voters.
California now has a “Top Two” primary system which, except in rare situations, kills off alternative parties in the primaries. Voters were so hungry for some kind of electoral reform that they bought the promise of “open primaries” and didn’t realize it was a trick until too late.
I propose a “recipe” for reforming our elections, empowering voters, and improving our governments. Combine the following ingredients for a true democracy that serves millions.
* Get rid of the Electoral College.
* Implement Proportional Representation and Ranked Choice Voting.
* Eliminate “Top Two” primaries.
* Hold elections on weekends.
* Adopt same-day voter registration. (Don’t worry about “voter fraud.” That’s vastly exaggerated; “institutional fraud” is the problem.)
* Implement computerized voting systems that make audits easy and include paper ballots. (Study the system former president Carter called “the best in the world” — the system used by much-maligned Venezuela.)
* Open debates. People want meaningful debates and not just with Democrats and Republicans.
* Get money out of politics. Pass “clean money” laws or at the grassroots level, candidates can run without corporate money, and voters can vote no-corporate-money.
* Mandate free media time: print, TV, radio.
* Protect net neutrality.
* Bring in participatory democracy, including participatory budgets and empowered community councils.