“Denying the popular vote is un-American and anti-democratic.”; “Our democracy should aspire to be more democratic.” ― Dr. DaShanne Stokes, activist and author
I love America. My grandparents and father came here to make a better life and live the American dream. And they did. However, the USA is far from perfect and we should all aim to improve our nation.
Specifically, we do not have the greatest democracy the world has ever known, as some of our politician’s claim. We have a less than perfect Republic…controlled by a minority…which gullible citizens believe to be a democracy governed by its people through fairly elected representatives.
In the 1700s our landed gentry did not trust the uneducated masses enough to give them a democracy. They also didn’t give the vote to women and Negroes, but we corrected those mistakes. Now, we must correct other failings, some unforeseen by the Founders:
Federal Laws Needed:
- Disenfranchisement: Voter restrictions are discouraging participation, especially after the 2013 SCOTUS decision invalidating part of the 1965 Voting Rights Law. A stronger Voter’s Rights bill must be passed by Congress.
- Gerrymandering: Those in power stay in power by drawing districts to help themselves, negating the will of voters via “packing” (concentrating a type of voter in a district) and “cracking” (dispersing voters of a type over several districts). New Federal laws must discourage these practices. For example, requiring all states to utilize non-partisan redistricting commissions (currently used by 4 states.)
(Note: If SCOTUS overturns these laws, constitutional remedies will be needed.)
Constitutional Amendments Required:
- Transparency of campaign financing: Due to SCOTUS’s 2010 Citizens United 5-4 decision, dark money has become more prevalent. “Super Pac” spending reached $1.5 billion in 2018 (OpenSecrets). Citizens United (and the SpeechNow decision) overturned campaign financing laws and regulations designed to prevent corporations from buying our elections (which they do now).
- Limitations on contributions: SpeechNow/Citizens United took the contribution limitations off, guaranteeing corporations a right to “free speech” … a right never stated in the constitution for businesses. Scotus’ decisions purposefully assisted the wealthy to control our elections.
- Electoral college: Two of the three last Presidents (W and Trump) were elected with fewer votes than their opposition. Every citizen’s vote must be counted equally, which the Electoral College prevents.
- Senators distributed by population: We should have one Senator per million state population versus having one Senator per 20 million for California residents and one Senator per .3 million for Wyoming residents.
Will these changes take place overnight? No, the status quo benefits the wealthy. However, changes will never occur until the voters demand them.