Congress is a bigger problem than the President. We tend to ignore the problem that is Congress. Congressional elections tend to get less turnout. Most voters cannot name all of their congressman, including myself most days.
We are far less likely to know where are our congressional rep stands on any particular issue and merely project onto them the position of their party.
We don’t know how they vote, we don’t know if they are merely shills for various businesses, we don’t know if we have accrued any benefit in our region because of their efforts.
We tend to think of Congress as a whole entity, divided into two sides, fighting a constant civil war. But we don’t think much about the individuals who are supposed to be there working for our area in particular.
Congress is supposed to the factory where we generate the legislation and budgets that make this country run properly. Congress is the CENTER of how things are supposed to get done. But generally we perceive them as a clown car driving in circles with various unknown clowns forcing their way in or out of the vehicle.
Congressional Representation RARELY represents the actual population of the region. This is because of gerrymandering, low voter turnout, and PRIMARILY – the two party system.
This country has divided every situation into some dichotomy based on a two party system. And it’s insanity. People are voting for a party and not an individual and that creates a problem, since it is the individual who goes to congress and votes.
We assume that if we agree with some of a party’s position, we must endorse all of it. Indeed we have no choice but to do so, because there is only the two choices and we have been led to believe its a zero sum game. So people who have always voted for a party are still voting for it even when the party is saying and doing things they don’t personally agree with – because they agree with other things that the party represents.
So I propose the following:
a. EVERYONE HAS TO VOTE. No exceptions – you can go and abstain, but you have to go.
b. For the House – Larger districts and multiple representatives from each district. See this video for explanation. If you make the districts larger, and have more representatives, this allows for people with a minority viewpoint to get some representation in Congress.
For Senate – Increase the number to 4 senators from each state.
c. Multiple Parties. We need to have more parties to allow a more nuanced representation of views.
d. Single Transferable Vote. Again – look at the video. But this allows for more parties and a more representational congress. You can vote in order of preference rather than voting defensively.
e. Gerrymandering. Politicians, Parties, Lobbies, etal cannot have ANYTHING AT ALL to do with the design of districts. Period. Nothing. It needs to stop. Non partisan committees must do this.
f. Money -We need to get rid of the Super PACs and at least further regulate regular PACs. We need to stop corporations and Rich People from giving more to a political campaign indirectly than any average person can. Basically we need to isolate this election to the money that is given directly to the candidate. Also the party or a some lobbying group or the boy scouts cannot directly advertise for candidates.
I think it’s fine for a group to advocate for a particular policy as long as they did not link that ad directly or indirectly to the candidate or party. So if a group is all excited about bathroom binary genders, that is the only thing they can say. “lets police the bathrooms for genital sameness from birth.” They cannot say the candidate’s name, party or have any logo, image or symbol that would link that issue to the candidate.
g. ALL donations must be publicly announced on the candidate / congressperson’s website. The donations are currently a publicly available thing – but not often acknowledged publicly by the candidate. It needs to be out there.
h. Platforms – they need to published and discussed when they announce their candidacy. Again – detailed policy must be expressed and at least two valid objections must be countered.
If they are up for RE-election, then their websites must contain both their voting history and their reasoning for the vote.
i. Their fitness for the job must be declared. No criminal backgrounds. No tax problems. No censures from any political body at any level of government.
Their experience must also be listed. What is it that gives them the ability to sit in congress?
k. Every election, the League of Women Voters publishes a wonderful summary of the voting options you have. It is, sadly, not as well distributed as it needs to be. I would propose that we need to make this sort of publication a REQUIREMENT and it needs to be delivered electronically or by paper to every person.
One thought on “Let’s fix Congress”
Great post & you have an amazing blog