The work of making our governments our own, at both the state and federal levels, involves getting Pure Democracy Amendments, Proxies for Citizens, and the rest of the legislation included in the Democracy Agenda enacted. As we get more and more of the legislation that makes up the Democracy Agenda passed into law, our governments will become more and more democratic.
Democracy is not a partisan issue, at least not in the traditional sense of Democrats versus Republicans. There are some Democrats who believe in and support democracy and some who don’t. There are some Republicans who believe in and support democracy and some who don’t. There are some people who do not identify with either party who believe in and support democracy and some who don’t. The campaign to make America a perfect democracy will be a struggle between Champions of Democracy (and their supporters) and the false friends and true enemies of democracy.
We need to make support for Pure Democracy Amendments and Proxies for Citizens the litmus tests for our support in the 2024 election. Regardless of what other issues concern us, we need to realize that we are not likely to see meaningful action on any of the many issues that have popular support but have long gone unaddressed until we fix our broken, dysfunctional, and antidemocratic political system. Once we have made America a perfect (or at least a true) democracy, we will see action on ALL of the issues that concern us.
Most of us are going to get a lot of requests for our time, our money, and our votes from candidates for office this year. We need to respond to every request with a clear message that we will only be supporting candidates who have made it clear that they support Proxies for Citizens and the Article V Amendment.
We need to make it clear that we will not support any incumbents until this legislation has been introduced in a legislative body (either chamber in both Congress and our state legislatures). We will not support any candidates who are not incumbents until they have made their support for these two reforms clear (through posts on their websites, mentions in their campaign literature, et cetera).
If enough of us withhold our support over the next few months this legislation will be introduced. But whether it is introduced or not, if enough of us simply refuse to support candidates who do not support democracy, candidates who do support democracy will emerge – and they will have a better chance of winning elections.
The key to making America a perfect democracy is to enact Pure Democracy Amendments and elect legislators who truly believe in democracy.
GET PURE DEMOCRACY AMENDMENTS ON THE BALLOT
Our most immediate priority must be to get petitions for Pure Democracy Amendments drafted, submitted, and approved for circulation in the states that already provide for initiated referendums on constitutional amendments in their constitutions. The details of getting constitutional amendments on the ballot vary from state to state but require collecting a lot of signatures by a deadline in every state. We need to get petitions drafted and submitted and organize campaigns to gather signatures as soon as possible in those states.
ENCOURAGE CANDIDATES FOR OFFICE TO LEAD PETITION DRIVES
Candidates who are running for office, or people who are even thinking about running for office, who believe and support democracy, should establish themselves as Champions of Democracy by taking an active and leading role in getting petitions for the Pure Democracy Amendment drafted, submitted, on the ballot, and passed into law.
GET LEGISLATION CALLED FOR IN THE DEMOCRACY AGENDA DRAFTED AND INTRODUCED
By the end of the year (2023), we need to get legislation for all the legislation called for in the Democracy Agenda (including Pure Democracy Amendments) drafted and ready to be introduced in every legislative chamber in America. And then introduce those bills in January of 2024.
Without losing sight of the rest of the Democracy Agenda, we must make Pure Democracy Amendme
nts and Proxies for Citizens our top priorities because they are the two reforms that will do the most to make it easier to get the rest of the legislation in the Democracy Agenda enacted.
Members of Congress and state legislatures do not routinely draft and submit legislation that has no realistic chance of being enacted in a legislative session. We need to find one or more Champions of Democracy in each chamber of Congress and each chamber of every state legislature who is willing to draft and introduce the legislation called for in the Democracy Agenda so that we can provide incumbents with an opportunity to establish themselves as Champions of Democracy by signing on as cosponsors.
Beginning in January of 2024, we need to get members of Congress and state legislatures who support the Democracy Agenda to sign on as cosponsors to every piece of legislation included in the Democracy Agenda.
Within the present system members of Congress and state legislatures give priority attention to the voters who reside in the state or district they represent. Once our reform proposals have been introduced, we need volunteers to contact their own representatives in Congress and state legislatures to encourage them to sign on legislation included in the Democracy Agenda as cosponsors, thank them when they do, and politely inform them that if they do not support the Democracy Agenda we will be actively recruiting and supporting candidates who do believe in democracy to run against them in 2024.
We need to let every incumbent in Congress and state legislatures know that we will be posting a scorecard of support for the legislation included in the Democracy Agenda on our website and encouraging voters and politically active citizens who want to make America a perfect democracy to visit our website before deciding what candidates to support with their time, money, and votes.
When an incumbent in Congress supports the Pure Democracy Amendment and the rest of the Democracy Agenda, 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 the Pure Democracy 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.
GET PUBLIC STATEMENTS OF SUPPORT FROM NON-INCUMBENT CANDIDATES
As the filing period for candidates opens (and closes) in various states, we need to get non-incumbent candidates who believe in and support democracy to make public statements of support for Pure Democracy Amendments and the rest of the legislation included in the Democracy Agenda.
Our goal should be to have at least one candidate who supports the Democracy Agenda on the ballot in every state and district for congressional elections and election to state legislatures.
When an incumbent does not support the Pure Democracy Amendment, we need to do our best to recruit one or more candidates who do support the Pure Democracy Amendment to run in both major party primaries. It will be especially important to recruit a candidate for the major party that is dominant in districts that have been gerrymandered to strongly favor one of the two major parties.
We need to encourage every non-incumbent candidate for Congress and state legislatures to post statements of support for the legislation called for in the Democracy Agenda on their campaign website and notify us when they have done so. We will be posting links to the appropriate pages on the websites of Champions of Democracy on our website. Our primary focus throughout the election will be on various ways to encourage voters and politically active citizens to visit our website before deciding what candidates to support with their time, money, and votes.
CONDUCT UNOFFICIAL PRIMARIES (AS NEEDED)
Except in Maine and Alaska (where ranked choice voting is already in place), when there is more than one candidate in a primary election who supports Pure Democracy Amendments and the rest of the Democracy Agenda and other candidates who do not, we need to conduct some sort of unofficial primary election to unite behind a single Champion of Democracy and to minimize or neutralize the “spoiler effect”.
When an incumbent in Congress supports the Pure Democracy Amendment, they deserve our support across party lines and regardless of their position on other issues, especially if they also support other legislation called for in the Democracy Agenda. If a challenger has made a clear and firm pledge to support the Pure Democracy 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 the Pure Democracy Amendment, we need to do our best to recruit candidates who do support the Pure Democracy Amendment 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, if both major party candidates in a state or district support Pure Democracy Amendments and the rest of the Democracy Agenda, 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 (except in Maine or Alaska where ranked choice voting has eliminated concerns about the "spoiler effect"). If neither major party candidate supports democracy, if there is more than one minor party or independent candidate who support the Democracy Agenda, we need to identify the candidate with the best chance of winning and unite in support of that candidate.
Within our “winner-take-all” system, with plurality winners and single-member districts, if there is more than one pro-democracy candidate on the ballot in a given state or district, we need to provide some means of uniting in support of one pro-democracy candidate, especially if there is only one antidemocratic candidate on the ballot. In those cases, we must convene a pro-democracy caucus, convention, or unofficial primary election in order to avoid splitting the pro-democracy vote.
PRIORITIZE U.S. SENATE RACES
Getting two-thirds of the members of the U. S. Senate to support the constitutional amendments called for in the Democracy Agenda will be our biggest challenge. The fact that senators serve significantly longer terms than representatives makes voting anti-democratic senators out of office in every election especially important. We need to make support for the Democracy Agenda the key consideration of as many voters as possible as they decide which candidates for the U. S. Senate to support.
SUPPORT CANDIDATES FOR STATE LEGISLATURES WHO SUPPORT PURE DEMOCRACY AMENDMENTS
Getting constitutional amendments ratified by three-fourths of the states will also be a major challenge. Introducing resolutions of support for the federal version of the Pure Democracy Amendment 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 Pure Democracy Amendment, even if the resolution is not adopted.
The major flaw in democracy in ancient Athens and in America at our founding was the fact that the right to participate in governing (voting, holding office, et cetera) was limited to males. Many of the amendments to our Constitution have made our political system more democratic by extending the right to vote to black males and women, by eliminating poll taxes, and by lowering the voting age to eighteen. With only a few regrettable exceptions, we now have universal suffrage.
The fact that our elections are conducted in a manner that allows for plurality winners is a serious flaw that should be corrected by appropriate legislation (ranked choice voting). However, for as long as that flaw remains in place, we must take advantage of it, when possible, and avoid being hampered by it.
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 twenty-three states. (The number has now grown to twenty-six.) We must utilize those powerful forms of direct democracy to our advantage.
A referendum in which every citizen has an equal vote and the votes of a simple majority determine the outcome vests all political power in the people and divides power equally among all the people. When all major decisions regarding the form of a government, the "just powers" of the government, what rights are to be protected by a government, what laws are enacted, and what public policies are put in place, are determined by conducting such referendums, a government is a pure democracy.
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. The details vary from state to state.
Citizens in states with the initiative could (and should) enact Pure Democracy Amendments to make it easier to use the referendums and the initiative. That will shift political power from special interests that dominate state legislatures and vest all political power in the people.
There are fifteen states that already provide for both referendums and the initiative for both statutes and constitutional amendments in their constitutions. Those states are: 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.
The rulers of America will spend a great deal of money seeking to keep democracy from breaking out. And they will use that money to spread a lot of misinformation and disinformation about the dangers of “mob rule” and the “tyranny of the majority”. Those of us who are excited by the prospect of democracy breaking out need to invest a lot of time (and, yes, some money) educating voters about the many true blessings of pure democracy.
They have the money. We have the votes. And our votes are not for sale.
If you want to get involved in our grassroots efforts to make America a more perfect democracy, please provide your email address. You will receive occasional emails with calls to action and updates regarding our progress. You will never be asked for a financial contribution. Your contact information will not be shared.
This website was created by, is maintained by, and is paid for by Winston Apple, a private citizen. Copyright © 2023 Gary Winston Apple - All Rights Reserved.
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