Progress toward our goal will be easy to measure – at the federal level, each piece of legislation we have identified as needed to move us closer to democracy will either be passed into law or not. Each of these reform proposals that is enacted will make our political system more democratic. When all of them have been enacted, America will be a true democracy.
GET OUR REFORM PROPOSALS INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS AND ALL 50 STATES
Some of our reform proposals have already been introduced in Congress and some state legislatures. Others will need to be drafted and introduced by a legislator who shares our belief in democracy or proposed through the initiative.
BUILD SUPPORT FOR OUR REFORM PROPOSALS
Once proposals have been introduced, we need to contact our representatives in Congress and state legislatures to thank them when they support our proposals, encourage them to demonstrate support if they are not doing so, 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.
RECRUIT AS MANY ORGANIZATIONS AS POSSIBLE TO BE PART OF A COALITION
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.
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 IS ON THE BALLOT IN EVERY STATE AND DISTRICT AND TO AVOID SPLITTING THE PRO-DEMOCRACY VOTE. When an incumbent does not support democracy, we need recruit a pro-democracy candidate to run in both major party primaries. 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. 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 of that candidate.
WE NEED TO PRIORITIZE SENATE RACES. Getting two-thirds of the members of both houses of Congress to support the Article V Amendment will be the primary obstacle to making America a true democracy. The fact that senators serve significantly longer terms means that voting anti-democratic senators out of office 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.
MAKING SURE A MAJORITY OF THE 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.
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 enact "Representation for All" acts or implement ranked choice voting through the initiative process. Resolutions supporting the Article V Amendment (and other amendments) should be introduced in state legislatures to help in identifying which incumbents need to be replaced in order to get amendments ratified.
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.
The Declaration of Independence says that "governments are instituted" to secure our natural rights to "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" and that "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends" it is our right and our duty to alter or the form of our government in whatever manner seems most likely to effect our "Safety and Happiness."
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 true 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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