Voting: Everything We Do Must Change Part 1

IMG_0287Going through the last election cycle really made me think. I came to the conclusion, that I have had for many years, that we do it all wrong in The United States of America. And I mean everything.

Let’s start with the push for voter turn out. The ground game. Getting the young people, who almost never vote, to vote. Getting more than 38% of the voting public to show up. To me, this is the wrong way to look at it.

Take life and facts the way they are, and change things to work with reality. When voters don’t come to the voting booths, bring the voting opportunity to them. All of the money, time and effort that is spent having the perfect ‘ground game’ to me is missing the point. Today we can pay our credit card bills or order in dinner on our phones. We must work out a way that people can securely vote on their own time of their own choosing.

I have long said I love the idea of everyone voting by mail. We all have legal addresses, ballots can be sent to those addresses and we could vote from our homes, at our leisure. Knowing that the ballot must be mailed back by a certain day. I would also insist that each ballot have an envelope with an address filled out and postage paid. Yes, postage paid.  I would also include a copy of how someone voted as a concrete form of proof of how you voted incase of any kind of recount.

Another idea is voting from your phone, computer or designated places (libraries) where you can go and vote for free. In this version people would be able to start voting 4 weeks before the election so anyone can go vote. They would have plenty of time. There is no discrimination towards people who don’t have internet access at home or smartphones. Surely, if the IRS can figure out a secure way to pay taxes online there must be a way to securely vote online.

The money, the effort for turnout needs to be refocused. Have people spend more time on creating better policy.

The goal is to get more people to vote. Imagine how things would look if we got 90% of the eligible voters to actually vote? Then we could have a government that represented the people. Our society has changed, people are used to doing things remotely. Voting remotely including by mail, needs to happen. Now

********

This second suggestion comes to me from the New York Times Op-Ed from a few days ago, please read the entire piece as I think it’s a brilliant idea: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/03/opinion/cancel-the-midterms.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A9%22%7D

The premise of this idea is to get rid of the mid term elections completely. Members of the House surely can’t concentrate too much on legislating when their next election is in only 2 years. They have to immediately start fundraising for the next cycle. The idea here is to make terms in the House go to 4 years, so they have more time to do the people’s business. And, also to change the Senate to either 4 or 8 year terms. Most people don’t vote in mid terms, so get rid of them and have everyone on the ballot at the same time. Presidents, House, Governors and Senators. I love this idea.

*******

For presidential elections the primary system must change. If you have read my blog in the past you will know I have mentioned this before. Why should people in Iowa or New Hampshire have more say than anyone else in the country? But they have and continue to have enormous sway. To me that is insane. The order in which states having primaries must change every election cycle. I would announce that order probably one year before the election.

Doing this will accomplish 2 very important things. First, it will give each and every state their turn at vetting candidates. Like I have said, do people in NH speak for the country? NO.  Maybe Arizona will be the first primary state, maybe New York. We can not continue having Iowa and NH having more sway. Secondly, if the potential candidates don’t know which state will have the first primary they would no longer be able to go to Iowa 4 years before an election to get on their good side. Candidates would be forced to speak to the entire nation. No more laying out your ground work four years in advance.

If you implement what I have so far outlined you would see a huge boost in people voting. This would give us a much better representation of what the American public wants. Again, when they don’t go to the voting booths bring the voting to them. Let’s try for 90% voting. Also, add in losing the candidates knowing what order the primary states will be in will make them much better vetted by the entire country. These are the first 2 steps I would start with to have better elections.

I do love the idea proposed by NYT, I would love to see that implemented and I believe those ideas complement mine perfectly.

As always, please offer feedback or ideas. And, in the future look forward to more of my ideas.

Advertisements

Everything About The Way We Vote Must Change, Part 2

IMG_0274I can’t emphasize enough primaries and easier access to voting as I talked about in Part 1. Let a candidate come to New York for their first primary, see how well they fare. It bothers me a lot that inconsequential states like Iowa and New Hampshire can make or break a candidate. Who are they? Also to reemphasize about easier voting. This is a must. No more talk of voter suppression; all states should have voting by mail and/or voting online. We must stop making it difficult, or inconvenient for people to vote.

Electoral College This needs to end. Maybe it was feasible when our Country had 12 states, it’s not now. Winning the vote means you win the most votes. George Bush won the election when he was 500,000 votes behind Al Gore? That’s not right. I live in New York. New York is a Blue state so I could say I don’t even need to vote. Everyone needs to vote. And majority rules. I am sure there are other people in Red states who might vote DEM and their vote is overwhelmed by GOP votes. This needs to stop. One person one vote. This will make candidates talk to the populist and their issues rather than cow-tow to the loud voices of the right or left wing. They should be speaking for America, not fringe groups with agendas.

The Senate I don’t think it is right for the Senate of the U.S. to have 2 representatives per state. That is not democracy. Tiny states shouldn’t have the same voting rights as large states. We should have the number of Senators per state based on the population of the state. This would make the government run much smoother. No more letting the few who are pandering to a vast minority to obstruct our government to the point of complete paralysis as it has been for the last 5 years. What is happening today in the United States is an exact replay of the Great Depression. The last few years, as in the 1930s, you have a base of people who think austerity is the answer. If we look at history we will know that austerity is what caused the second recession and kept the U.S. in Depression for over a decade. Having more voices in the Senate can change that.

Other things to think about 

Term limits is something to consider. Although with what is going on today, the lunatic tea party is being somewhat curtailed by the old guard. So, term limits would get rid of the old and let the insane run the asylum. But, on the other hand, maybe they would be good. Letting new people come into govern and it might help the culture of corruption. I am undecided on this issue, let me know what you think.

You have to ask yourself at some point, why hasn’t president Obama, or Bush, changed the tax laws so corporations aren’t able to save tax dollars by keeping Trillions overseas? The American people would be behind that. The American people would be behind tax incentives for hiring right here in America. Why doesn’t that change?

It makes you wonder, who really is running this Country. Stay tuned for Part 3.

 

Everything About the Way We Vote Must Change, Part I

BocaThe way our Country votes is completely undemocratic. On just about every level I believe everything must change. Perhaps this is a fantasy, since it seems like we are owned by “big money” and lobbyists, but without changes we should no longer call ourselves a real democracy.

Primaries This is a great place to start. Why do we continue to have a set schedule of primaries that lets potential candidates kiss up to people in Iowa and New Hampshire? Why should those states have so much say in the vetting process? They don’t represent me, or probably most of the Country. It’s nauseating to watch potential candidates going to those states for the purpose of the primaries. I say immediately stop this unfair practice and one year before a presidential election have some sort of lottery that sets which states and what dates primaries will be held. That way candidates will be vetted by a broader section of the people.

Voting  Why do we have an archaic voting system that makes you go wait in line at some public school for hours at a time to vote? You wonder why there is such a low turn out in elections, that’s why! This is the 21st Century, we have the technology to do much more, make it much easier for people to place their votes. Seems the IRS can locate each and every one of us, know how much we have earned, contact us directly and get their money. All done confidentially. Why can’t we use some of that kind of technology to either let people vote by mail or vote on their smart phones? This would cause such a revolution, imagine 100% of the population voting. If you don’t have a smart phone or access to a computer voting by mail should be an option. And make the return envelope have postage on it.

This would be a game changer. No more photo ID arguments or changing early voting, or people having to get on a bus to go vote. Everyone, through a cleared method similar to what the IRS does, could vote any time they want. Obviously you couldn’t mail in your vote on election day, time periods would have to be set. The goal is to get everyone to vote.

Money The SCOTUS decision to allow anonymous money in elections was so wrong in so many ways. Money should be completely taken out of politics and elections. Fundraising should not be something politicians have to think about. We elect them to govern and legislate. Not pimp themselves out so they can run again. People in government shouldn’t only be rich people who can self fund a campaign or people who know rich people.

This is the first in a series I will be doing. Let me know what you think.

Opinions And Commentary You Should Be Reading

Italy2011 281After a slight delay in postings I am back and ready to give my opinions in an apolitical and unbiased way. My goad, to have people get out of the ‘safe zone’ and think bigger.  I dont like GOP or DEMS that tow the party line no matter what it is. To me thats being programmed and not thinking on your own. I am not a fan of twitter groups that try to talk just to each other; open dialogue between people who maybe disagree is the best way to move things forward. Right now our Country is bogged down in bitter partisanship and hence nothing has really been done since President Obama took office. The Congress has been an utter failure in moving the people’s agenda forward; this is 90% cause by the GOP. Here are some thoughts on recent events:

  • What happened to Job creation? It was talked about in the campaigns, but not since. Both DEMS and GOP have been an utter failure with this. The longterm unemployment is the single largest threat to the U.S. and yet you see no one lifting a finger to get people back to work. I am deeply disappointed in Mr. Obama for not pushing this agenda, instead he chose to push Guns and Immigration. There are an estimated 89 million Americans looking for work, and there are no jobs bills, no talk of jobs. Yes the GOP had blocked Obama many times, now that that is a given its up to Mr. Obama to spend his time pushing for those that need jobs. A decade from now the bankruptcy of the United States will come from government aid and assistance to those that never could find work. A much smaller investment now could not only put those people back to work but could also lower the long term debt with the revenue received from the 89 million people.
  • Speaking of debt, taxes are an issue that must be addressed. But can they? Who owns the U.S.? You hear all about the big lobbying groups, big oil, big tobacco, big pharma. You hear about all the power they have, in other words the government is completely corrupt. We look at Afghanistan and talk about how corrupt they are, seems we are just as bad. Hearing about Apple paying a 2% rate of taxes is nauseating, or the year GE paid no taxes. This must be stopped. Corporations need to pay their fair share, that would lower the long term debt faster than anything. Yes, the U.S. has the highest business tax rates in the world, but not one of the large companies pays those taxes. Its time to hold people accountable and change the tax laws. Mitt Romney is a perfect example. Whatever he does with his money he pays extremely low taxes, this is all legal and above board. But it needs to change. There should be no loop holes for people who keep money over seas; and if you earn over $1M per year perhaps you should have no loop holes at all. Lets level the playing field. I am completely against wealth redistribution, however companies and individuals need to pay their fair share. That will go directly to the debt.
  • These scandals, IRS, Benghazi, and whats the other one? The umbrella thing? First, its protocol for someone to hold an umbrella over the President of the United States of America; case closed. The IRS, its outrageous if they did target tea party groups and that should be investigated. Why isnt the Bush appointee who was heading up the IRS at the time in question being investigated. I dont see how you can say Obama is at fault when you have a GOP nominated man heading up the agency. But, this needs to be thoroughly investigated and those that did wrong should be fired or possibly tried and sent to prison. As long as its really the person involved and not some underling thats used as a scapegoat. Benghazi, why dont we know who received the requests for more security and why the security wasnt provided. This should be a non partisan investigation as it falls under national security. The talking points? Who authorized scrubbing terrorism out of them? What did Hillary and POTUS know and when did they know it. Is this a cover up? I dont think so. Obama never claimed to have completely defeated al Qaeda and all of terrorism. If the talking points said our consulate in Benghazi came under a terrorist attack and we are looking to investigate it I dont think anyone in the public would have held that against Obama. We are never going to completely eliminate terrorism, its a fact of life that we all have to get used to. My unanswered questions have more to do with who received the request for back up and what that person did with that request. Who makes those decisions? Surely Hillary and Barack cant micromanage every decision. But, the GOP has done a good job of muddling this story up so much that it makes people ponder and wonder, they are obviously doing it for political reasons.

The takeaway from all this? People trust government even less and are becoming more polarized. I would like to see more people involved in the voting process so people that grand stand and do nothing but obstruct progress are voted out. As I have said many times on here I want to expand voting and make it much easier to vote. Yes on an iPhone or android. Now it seems like our government is so sinister and corrupt that there is nothing we can do to change it. Our voting people out of office can change that.

More Reasons to say NO to Mitt

After a grueling election season, I mean for the public not the candidates, today is the day people vote. I really hope we find out tonight who wins because this story is just getting so tired. If you read my other posts you will know where I stand on many issues, candidates and parties. I have a few more observations that are worth noting.

  • First, get out and vote. If you dont vote you are not part of the conversation of moving our country forward.
  • I recently read about the al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole during the elections of 2000. Then Governor Bush said that with  an attack against the United States we should all stand together; an attack against one of us is an attack against all of us. He did not use that attack politically. In sharp contrast Mitt Romney immediately used the Benghazi attack as a political attack against president Obama. This kind of thing really shows a person’s character. Bush looked to bring the country together; Romney wants to break it apart. This shows a severe lack of leadership on Romney’s part too. Very disappointing. A few other examples of Romney’s lack of character and his cowardice:
    • Romney has never once stood up and straightforward said Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen and was born in this country. Romney cant stand up to Trump and the other birthers
    • Romney did not stand up and defend Sandra Fluke from Rush Limbaugh’s attack where he said she was a slut. Mitt’s response: those arent the words I would have chosen. Strong leaders need to stand up and take a position and condemn Rush for attacking an innocent person
    • The abortion issue — so many in the GOP have said unpalatable things about rape, abortion; Mitt Romney has not come out and clearly stated Rape is wrong and condemned the GOP statements. Again, too much of a coward to confront them
  • If Mitt wins it will have a devastating effect on future elections and set a horrible moral example for children. Mitt has lied, pandered and changed his position so many times its hard to keep track. What this says to me in the bigger picture, if he wins, it doesnt matter how much you lie, you can still win.
  • Voter suppression, Voter ID, inaccurate voting booths. This has to be addressed and fixed. We should have no doubt who won our elections. Voter suppression should be a should be a crime punishable by jail time. Voter ID – the government needs to find a way to get every person an ID at no cost to them
  • Big Government, what is Big Government? Cops, teachers, FEMA. This past week is the perfect end to this election. Mitt Romney wants to gut government programs like FEMA. President Obama used our resources to prevent a bad situation to turn into another Katrina.

I personally dont understand why the vote it close. Obama, while by no means perfect, is far superior to Romney in every way possible. Todays message is get out and Vote; and vote blue down the line.