Clearly, our democracy is in deep trouble these days…in almost more ways than one can count. Just for starters, we’ve got major issues with: how districts are drawn (e.g., partisan gerrymandering run amok, the lack of multi-member House districts; the amount of money (and where it comes from) in politics; the highly skewed (towards rural/”red” states) nature of the U.S. Senate; the way we elect our president (“first-past-the-post,” where a candidate can win with a plurality not a majority; also the deeply flawed Electoral College, etc.); how voters get their information (e.g., social media is horrendously flawed, as is the political media in this country, in a variety of ways, including being highly conducive to “echo chambers” on the one hand, “both sides-ism”/false equivalence on the other); the percentage of people who don’t vote at all; the lack of some sort of “Ranked Choice Voting” system; a badly/fatally flawed (e.g., at this point it’s arguable whether or not it’s even legitimate at all) Supreme Court; and much more.
So what do we do about this situation? See below for an interesting thread on the subject, and feel free to add your own ideas in the comments section. The ideas I’ve bulleted are ones that particularly intrigue me…but certainly not exclusive (I’m sure there are many more!).
- “Ranked choice or jungle primaries”
- “Register everyone to vote at birth, ( no chosen party, obviously can be done later) at the same time SS# assigned. ALSO, make getting photo ID’s that would be acceptable at polling places both free and easy for all citizens to obtain.”
- “Restore Voting Rights Act”
- “I’d like to see more rules added to who can be President. Right now if you are 35 and I.S. citizen you can run? Must have complete background check, civics exam, education, some relevant experience, etc. I never want to see someone unqualified run our country again.”
- “Rank[ed] choice voting”
- “Independent [redistricting] committees”
- “Eliminate Citizens United”
- “Return fairness doctrine”
- “President is decided by popular vote only”
- “Multimember congressional districts of 4-5”
- “1 to 2 yr mandatory public service at age 18”
- “Required civics in high schools”
- “Expansion [of] Supreme Ct to 15 w 20 yr terms”
- “SC Justices should also be subject to a House confirmation vote “
- “Redefine the Supreme Court as an ever-changing panel of federal judges randomly selected from each circuit to hear each case.”
- “Really need some way to get a handle on the dissemination of disinfo – this part is hardest for me”
- “I suggest moving to a parliamentary system with proportional representation if we keep parties.”
- “Also federalize all elections for federal office. Make federal elections standardized. We won’t even need polling places. We can make it all mail in voting, drop boxes at all federal buildings and post offices, electronic voting machines at all DMVs & post offices.”
- “Eliminate dark money. All political spending must be promptly reported from its source, ie. no comingling of funds, no PAC to PAC transfers etc. All must state clearly what candidate or issue the spending is for.”
I’d add that Congress needs to pass laws that seriously regulate social media companies – and also propaganda networks masquerading as “news” – to rein in the flow of dangerous disinformation, make people liable for spewing out lies and threats, cut back on monopolistic market power, etc. Oh, and we need to reduce income inequality BIG TIME, by having a steeply progressive tax code – including a significant (50%? 60%? 70%? higher?) wealth tax for anyone worth more than $100 million or whatever. Oh, and of course ditch the absurd “filibuster” in the U.S. Senate.