The way we elect our officials is like two cavemen drawing hunting plans in the dirt. We are in dire need of election reform.
America’s election process is morally and technologically outdated, and we should call on the veterans serving in office, and those running, to fix it now. Why? Because they have the leadership skills and fortitude to do so.
Congressmen and Senators pull big tech in front of cameras to testify about monopolies while the Republicans and Democrats enjoy a monopoly on the election process. They draw strange borders around districts in towns and counties to control voters and secure their base. It’s time to turn the cameras on them and ask the tough questions.
Solution: Eliminate Gerry Mandering.
The rich elite controls the process and “pick” their candidates according to who takes care of their personal interests. If you’ve watched the show “Yellowstone” with Kevin Costner (a great show), you can see how this works at the state level. They form and fund super PACs (Political Action Committee) to maneuver around campaign finance laws.
A PAC can viciously attack rival candidates with anonymity with no personal accountability.
In the campaign of 1872, a group of wealthy New York Democrats pledged $10,000 each to pay for the costs of promoting the election. On the Republican side, one Ulysses S. Grant supporter alone contributed one-fourth of the total finances. One historian said that never before was a candidate under such a great obligation to men of wealth. Vote buying and voter coercion were common in this era. After more standardized ballots were introduced, these practices continued, applying methods such as requiring voters to use carbon paper to record their vote publicly in order to be paid. -Wiki post on campaign reforms
In simple terms, the rich on both sides fuel the campaign war machine that funnels $100s of millions to candidates, and in a Presidential race today, it’s the bigger war chest that usually (not always) wins. It’s how you end up with the American version of the British Royals (e.g., Bush, Kennedy, and Clinton families).
I remember sitting in the swanky offices of a New York-based tech company and listening to the executives brag about their founder who identified and funded Congresswomen Olivia Ocasio Cortez’s rise from bartender to public office. Personally, I think everyone from all walks of life should have an opportunity to serve in public office, but there is a difference between someone deciding to run on their own volition and someone being handpicked and funded to represent the views of wealthy donors. The PAC that boosted AOC to power raised hundreds of thousands of dollars but received just 10% of its money from about 26 individuals who gave more than $200. She ran a campaign supposedly against incumbents sponsored by corporate PACs funded by a corporate PAC with different donors. And because PACs don’t have to disclose their donor lists to the public, we have no idea who’s interests she(or other officials) are beholden to.
Solution: Total campaign finance reform. Cap donations to level the playing field.
In no world, even the Metaverse, can I imagine the founders of the American Constitution wanting career politicians.
Solution: Term Limits. Personally, I would extend the Presidency to one 8-year flat term for the office to matter more on the global stage. It would allow more focus and less foreign disruption to our most important election. All other offices would be limited to 2 terms.
The biggest problem with establishing term limits is that it’s like asking Harvey Weinstein to not interview actresses for lead roles. It wouldn’t serve his personal interests. The only way to make this a pressing issue is for the people to make it matter, as we did with the “MeToo” movement.
To think that we still fill out bubbles on paper cards and have no State election standardization or best practices is like watching a monkey trying to make love to a football (we called this something else in the military).
We all, ALL of us, have the most private and sensitive information, banking, healthcare, and more on the internet. If we can bank securely, we can develop a decentralized Blockchain-based voting mechanism that is trackable and highly accurate to vote and record results in real-time. There is no need to federalize all elections(Giving them control over voting would be a terrible idea) but a standard system adopted by the states could eliminate much of the controversy that seems to swirl around every election. The various state systems should be open to public audits to ensure transparency.
It’s time to stop writing in the dirt like cavemen in exchange for the digital age.
I’m calling for all of us to lean on the currently serving veterans in office and those running to take a hard look at these issues because if there was ever a time to improve American politics, it’s NOW.
We have big problems to solve in this country with our role as a world leader in democracy, healthcare, education, and the economic issues at home, and our current system and leadership have let us all down.
Want proof? Look at how much our government spent on Defense and the Global War on Terror and find what good has come of any of it.
Is the world a safer place now than it was 20 years ago?
How is America’s reputation abroad better now than it was 50 years ago?
Can we provide excellent affordable healthcare and basic college education to our citizens without bankrupting them?
The answers to these questions should be sobering.
It’s time to take the next step in the evolution of Democracy as we know it, and it’s up to all of us to solve these issues and pitch in.
Because if there is one thing 13 years serving as a Navy SEAL and now as a business owner for over a decade has taught me, it’s that the government is incapable of solving these issues on its own.
We, the people, have to solve it for ourselves, and a great place to start is election reform.