What our elections should be.

The election. It is going on right now; I cast my vote this morning despite my differences with both Presidential candidates, I chose the candidate whose social issues I side with the most because I value them over financial and economic issues. I’m not going to get into right or left, conservative or liberal—my biggest issue with politics is the election process itself.  In Great Britain, the election for Prime Minister takes place over the course of about 30 days—in America it lasts years.

 It’s obvious that our politicians are more focus on getting re-elected than actually getting things done during their term.  And this is understandable! They are human, they want to succeed, and they have power and they want to keep it.  However, this self-preserving objective, generally speaking, obstructs their priorities. They should be creating policy, fixing problems that exist today and coming up with innovative ideas for tomorrow. It shouldn’t be a cockfight between two extremes—there should be an open dialogue, bi-partisanship is important.  

 This is not what democracy was supposed to be.

Now we all know that ideas are not what win elections—money is.  There are six candidates on the Presidential ballot—have you heard of the other four? Yeah. Me neither. That’s because they don’t have millions of corporate dollars behind them, financing political advertising.  People would argue though, that people—and as of Citizens United—corporations have the right to donate to the candidate they prefer.  I disagree with that idea entirely. People have the right to vote, but paying for a politician’s campaign creates an enormous conflict of interests—and that conflict is dramatically worse when the donors are corporations. Corporations are not big evil things—but they do have a single-minded objective and that is to make money. Which is fine. But because of that goal, they have a vested interest in policies that relate to their business. 

 So when politician A gets two million dollars from MegaBank B in his/her first election—they want to get that same support in the following election, and so when a bill lands on his/her desk that could hurt MegaBank B, but aligns with his/her stated ideals and their true beliefs—what do they do? If they risk pissing off the MegaBank they might not get re-elected.  All of a sudden its not about the issues or their beliefs alone, but its also about self-preservation.  This is corporate fucking bribery and it has to stop. And its on both sides of the aisle, its everywhere.

Here’s how we fix it.

 –        We limit politicians to one term in office. That, by default, will change their priorities. Once they are in office, they can focus on actually doing their job.

–        We give all candidates for a given election a set amount of money for political advertising—but it can only be done within 60 days of an election.  And we eliminate private and corporate donations. This will cost us tax dollar, but if we, for example, cut defense spending we could reallocate the money for this type of program. (Our current defense budget is greater than the next 36 largest defense budgets internationally—combined. And more than half of those countries are our allies. We cut down on active forces and international bases around the world, and we increase our spending for remote technology and small, tactical units.)

 I know this is a far-fetched idea, but I believe that it is manageable and could make for a more effective democracy. And that is important.


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