Elections and Campaigns

An electronic voting machine

As important as it is to vote for the candidate that holds positions you agree with, it’s equally important that the result gives representation that aligns with the people’s vote. Both accurate information about the candidates and vote majorities leading to majority representation are essential.

Pragmatic not Idealistic

I am pragmatic rather than idealistic or revolutionary. The Constitution and Bill of Rights are my guideline for change. I want to see those principles maintained. However, some procedures have developed over the 250 years of the country that work against democratic elections. There are built-in constituencies for the current system of Electoral College as well as with gerrymandering, which make the current powers-that-be reluctant to change. Yet they must be changed if our democracy will honor majority rule.

Electoral College

In 2016, we saw the second overturning of the country’s most preferred candidate this century by the Electoral College.

An ideal solution ... Click for more An ideal solution would be to scrap the Electoral College; however, that would an amendment to the Constitution, a laborious, time-consuming, political procedure. Lightly populated states are reflexively for the current system because it gives them a disproportionate weight in presidential elections. They will not easily release the extra strength they gain from that archaic federal patch.

Winner-take-all is not democratic.

More achievable, although still difficult, would be for each state to apportion their electoral votes to the state’s popular vote. For instance, in 2016 all Maryland’s 10 electoral votes went to Hillary Clinton. Under this change to proportional allocation, Clinton would have received 6 votes and Trump 4 votes.

The advantage of this change is that the state’s Electoral College vote would more closely align with the state popular vote. It would not eliminate all unfairness of the Electoral College overturning the popular vote, but it would reduce it.

Maine and Nebraska ... Click for more Maine and Nebraska have already shown the path to do this, but strong statewide parties don’t want to give up their state-level control; however, the argument against winner-take-all voting should appeal to the rank-and-file of both major parties as well as minor parties.

Using proportional Electoral College allocation in the 2016 election results in Clinton 255 votes, Trump 250, Johnson 9, Stein 1, and McMullin 1.

Another considerable improvement resulting from apportioning electoral returns is that each state would return to importance to both parties. Instead of the intense focus on a small number of battleground states with their particular issues, all states and issues would receive national attention.

House Seats

In 2014 representatives sent to the House from Pennsylvania and North Carolina varied far from the majority vote in either state. For instance, Pennsylvanians cast more votes for Democrats than Republicans, yet due to gerrymandering , 11 Republicans were seated and only 5 Democrats.

All House seats should be at-large elections across a state. This change is mainly intended to limit the power of gerrymandering. At-large representation allows the state’s voters to decide on the shape of their representation.

A side benefit is that broad support for a diffuse issue across the state would have the opportunity to bring its issues to the fore and field a candidate to promote their view.

If the candidate wants to focus on a particular area of the state, like the current congressional districts—ignoring the rest of the state—that’s a choice they could make.

Corporations

Corporations have allegiances that are often not in line with the United States population’s interest. Is what is best for Facebook, WalMart, Apple, substitute most any corporate name also the best for the United States? Tax policies and trade regulations are sufficient to show they are not.

  • Multinational corporations should be forbidden to fund in US political activities or elections.
  • US corporations should be limited to individual limits.
  • The outrageous Citizens United ruling that free speech can be used by corporations is wrong on three grounds.
    • First, the corporate money is not its leader piggyback for his personal interests, that is what his private funds are available for.
    • Second, corporations are not citizens. They have indefinite life spans, cannot be put in jail, and serve their stockholders, not all citizens.
    • Lastly, corporate stockholders are already enfranchised. Citizens United is double-dipping for the might of corporate leaders.

Campaign and Election Changes

Relevant information is essential to sensible evaluation of candidates.

Physical and mental exams should be required and made public. They should include the candidate’s prognosis for the term of the office, the next four years.

The content of the health and psychological exams to be used would be decided by medical professionals.

Will there be arguments and disputes? Certainly, but it is worthwhile and should be available.

Financial status must be revealed. Citizens need to be sure that the candidate will not have conflicting ties—between his own personal interest and the nation’s interest.

  • Income tax returns revealed. Voters must be able to assess the distinction between what a candidate says and how the candidate has been acting.
  • All investments and financial interest must be put in a blind trust during their presidency. Besides the danger of dealing themselves favors, the President should be focused 100% on the United States interests, with a minimal distraction of personal interests.

Term Limits

Term limits of twelve years in a particular elected position is ample time for officials to put forth their relevant proposals. After that, if the person wants to continue serving in the government, positions in the other chamber of congress or many positions in state and municipal governments are available for capable politicians.

Integrity of 2016 Campaign

Foreign meddling and social media manipulation caused a gross distortion of the images of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the last election. Clinton was slandered, typically by emotion not facts, while Trump used hush money, non-disclosure agreements, and personal contacts to shape his public image, regardless of facts and to pummel his opponents without regard to truth.

Lasting Effects

Many people were (and are) fooled by Trump’s image. Now, in the pandemic, they are discovering his horrible decision-making and lack of national leadership.

The consequences of elections last for years. Unfortunately, fifty thousand times as many Americans have died from covid-19 during Trump’s administration as died in the Benghazi raid that was charged against Clinton.


Elections and Campaigns
Mass Media Role
Representation Must Match Votes
Only People
Voting Decisions

Image of Voting Machine Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.Douglas W. Jones / CC0

Politics