WE ("THE VOTERS OF THIS COUNTRY") MAY NOT FEEL LIKE THE "ULTIMATE RULERS OF OUR DEMCRACY" - BUT WE ARE.
Flaws in the manner in which we conduct our elections and antidemocratic provisions in our Constitution have been exploited by corporate interests and tax-averse billionaires to gain effective control of our government. But we, the people, retain the ultimate power - the right to vote. If we unite in support of democracy, across party lines, and in spite of our differences of opinion on some issues, we can vote the representatives of corporate interests and plutocrats out of office. We can elect legislators who will pass the legislation necessary to reform our political system and make America a true democracy.
GET OUR REFORM PROPOSALS INTRODUCED AND BUILD SUPPORT FOR THEM IN CONGRESS AND STATE LEGISLATURES
The first step in our Action Plan is to get the “Representation for All Act” and the Article V Amendment introduced in both houses of Congress and get “Representation for All” introduced in as many state legislatures as possible, along with resolutions of support for the Article V Amendment.
Once our reform proposals have been introduced, we need to contact our representatives in Congress and state legislatures to encourage them to sign on as cosponsors, thank them when they do, and politely inform them that if they do not support our reforms we will be recruiting and supporting candidates who do believe in democracy to run against them in 2022.
BUILD SUPPORT AMONG THE PUBLIC - RECRUIT AS MANY ORGANIZATIONS AS POSSIBLE TO BE PART OF A COALITION
We need to get as many political organizations as possible to endorse both bills and the plan to make the 2022 election a referendum on democracy. There are already numerous organizations dedicated to making our government more democratic. We need to encourage communication between the organizations that share this common goal. We need to coordinate the efforts of these organizations to the greatest extent possible.
RAISE PUBLIC AWARENESS AND ENCOURAGE ACTIVE INVOLVEMENT
Proxies for citizens and weighted votes for legislators is a simple, yet powerful and far-reaching reform with many benefits, but it is a new and untested concept that will take many people a while to appreciate. We will need to educate the public about the benefits.
Both of our reform proposals will require an educational effort. As Americans, we are taught in our schools from an early age that America is the leading champion of democracy in the world. Educating the citizenry about the anti-democratic provisions embedded in our Constitution and the amendments needed to remove those provisions will require a deft and delicate touch, emphasizing the benefits of empowering citizens and making America a true democracy.
Some citizens who decide to get involved may be new to active efforts to influence legislators . We will need to educate the public about sites like Congress.gov and how to keep track of which incumbents have signed on as cosponsors. We will need to encourage citizens to communicate with legislators with a focus on thanking those who have signed on as cosponsors (and signed resolutions in the states) and calmly notifying those incumbents who have not signed on that we will be seeking candidates to challenge them in both the primaries and the general election in 2022.
MAKE THE 2022 ELECTION (AND SUBSEQUENT ELECTIONS AS NEEDED) A REFERENDUM ON DEMOCRACY.
Between now and November 8, 2022 we need to identify the incumbents in Congress and state legislatures who truly believe in democracy and those who do not. We need to work with the legislators who are champions of democracy to get the legislation we support introduced and to recruit as many cosponsors as possible. If a majority of the members of Congress and state legislatures support the reforms we are promoting, we may get at least some of the necessary reforms enacted before the election of 2022.
IN THE 2022 ELECTION, OUR GOAL SHOULD BE TO HAVE AT LEAST ONE CANDIDATE WHO SUPPORTS DEMOCRACY ON THE BALLOT IN EVERY STATE AND DISTRICT AND TO AVOID SPLITTING THE PRO-DEMOCRACY VOTE.
When an incumbent in Congress supports both "Representation for All Acts" and the Article V Amendment they deserve our support across party lines and regardless of their position on other issues. If a challenger has made a clear and firm pledge to support "Representation for All Acts" and the Article V Amendment, especially if that challenger is from the opposing major party, voters who are members of one or the other of the two major parties will understandably want to take advantage of that fact to vote for the candidate of their own party.
When a Congressional incumbent does not support both "Representation for All Acts" and the Article V Amendment, we need to do out best to recruit a single pro-democracy candidate to run in both major party primaries. It will be especially important to recruit a candidate for the major party that is dominant n districts that have been gerrymandered to strongly favor one of the two major parties.
When the primaries are over, Ii both major party candidates in a district support our reforms, voters can cast their votes based on other issues. If only one major party candidate who supports democracy is on the ballot, we need to support that candidate even if we disagree with their position on other issues. When only one major party candidate supports our reforms, we need to avoid running or supporting any minor party or independent candidates in order to avoid the "spoiler effect". If neither major party candidate supports democracy, we need identify the minor party or independent candidate with the best chance of winning and unite in support.
WE NEED TO PRIORITIZE SENATE RACES. Getting two-thirds of the members of both chambers of Congress to support the Article V Amendment will be the biggest obstacle to making America a true democracy. The fact that senators serve significantly longer terms than representatives means that voting anti-democratic senators out of office in every election is especially important. We need to make support for the Article V Amendment the key consideration of as many voters as possible as they decide which candidates for the U. S. Senate to support.
WITH REGARD TO "REPRESENTATION FOR ALL ACTS" THE SAME APPROACH AS DESCRIBED ABOVE WILL APPLY FOR INCUMBENTS AND CHALLENGERS IN ELECTIONS FOR MEMBERS OF STATE LEGISLATURES.
MAKING SURE MEMBERS OF STATE LEGISLATURES SUPPORT THE ARTICLE V AMENDMENT IS ALSO IMPORTANT. Getting the Article V Amendment ratified by three-fourths of the states will also be a major challenge. Introducing resolutions of support for amending Article V of the Constitution is the most obvious means of determining which members of state legislatures support genuine democracy and which members need to be replaced by a champion of democracy. Hopefully such resolution will be adopted by state legislatures, but simply introducing such resolutions will enable us to identify which incumbents support the Article V Amendment, even if the resolution is not adopted.
The major flaw in Athenian democracy was that participation was limited to male citizens. That flaw was shared in America at the time of our founding, but we have addressed that defect over time.
The 15th Amendment (1870) expanded the right to vote to all adult males, regardless of " race, color, or previous condition of servitude".
The 19th Amendment (1920) gave women the right to vote.
Tlhe 26th Amendment (1971)owerd the voting age to eighteen.
The 17th Amendment (1913) replaced the election of U. S. senators by state legislatures with direct election by the people of each state.
The 24th Amendment (1964) abolished poll taxes or other taxes imposed for voting.
One of the major victories for democracy won by the populists and progressives of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was to get the initiative, the referendum, or both, implemented in various forms in 26 states. The initiative gives citizens the power to propose and pass legislation (including constitutional amendments in some states) without the involvement or approval of the state legislature. Governors cannot veto ballot proposals approved by voters. A referendum is the submission of a measure passed or proposed by a legislature or by the initiative process to a vote of the citizens. The details vary from state to state.
Citizens in states with the initiative could (and should) enact "Representation for All" acts or implement ranked choice voting through the initiative process if the state legislature fails to do so.
States with the initiative for both statutes and constitutional amendments and referendums include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Dakota.
Florida, Illinois, and Mississippi have the initiative for constitutional amendments but no initiative for statutes and no referendum.
Citizens in the following states have the initiative or referendum, but no initiative for constitutional amendments:
States with the initiative for statutes and the referendum, but no initiative for constitutional amendments include Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Maryland and New Mexico have the referendum, but the referendum can only be used to veto legislation passed by the state legislature.
Getting the reforms that are needed to make America a true democracy enacted will not be easy. The political system put in place by our Constitution is designed to be resistant to change. It will take a strong and united grassroots movement of millions of people to convince the necessary majorities of members of Congress and state legislatures to support making significant changes to the political system within which they have been elected to office and within which they hold power.
Nearly all Americans believe in democracy. Unfortunately, many members of Congress and state legislatures do not. They have been corrupted by campaign contributions from corporate interests and tax-averse billionaires. They give lip service to democracy but serve the interests of their corporate benefactors. Aristotle once observed that a politician, once elected, behaves as if they have a terminal illness and staying in office is all that will keep them alive. Too many politicians believe (with considerable justification) that raising enormous amounts of money is the key staying in office. We must convince them that no matter how much money they raise, they will be voted out of office if they do not support the reforms that are needed to make America a true democracy. It will take a massive grassroots movement of millions of concerned citizens to do that.
To be successful, a movement must be broad and inclusive. We need voters from both major political parties, every minor party, independents, and other political organizations across the political spectrum to join forces in support of democracy. We need to make it clear to incumbents in Congress and state legislatures that we intend to make the 2022 election a referendum on democracy. if they support the reforms we are promoting, they can count on our support. Regardless of party, and no matter how much money they raise, if they do not support these reforms, they can count on having candidates who do support these reforms running against them in 2022. And they can count on those challengers having support from voters across party lines.
None of us need to stop working on other issues that matter to us personally, but we must temporarily shift our primary focus away from other issues, especially the "wedge issues" that divide us (abortion, gun control, gay rights, immigration, etc.) and keep our eyes on the prize - to make America a true democracy. Narrowing our focus in this manner will allow us to work together toward the common goal of living up to the ideals upon which our nation was founded and establishing a government of, by, and for the people. By focusing our living up to the noble ideals upon which our nation was founded, we can be a force for healing and unity as we work together across the partisan divides and other ideological differences, to make America more democratic.
Our government has been paralyzed by gridlock for decades. Critical problems are going unaddressed. The time has come for us to alter the form of our government to make America a perfect democracy. In the process, we will find that by focusing on our shared values and working together to reform our government, we can heal the divisions among us that have grown so bitter in recent years.
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