Magic Wand

fairy godmotherIf I had a magic wand, here are three things I would fix in our political system.

The Electoral College would be gone. When you vote for the candidate for your choice for the President of the United States, you are really voting for your state’s electors. All states, except Maine and Nebraska are winner-take-all. There are at least four huge problems with the process.

It is possible to win the popular vote, but loose the presidency. Such was the case with Andrew Jackson, Samuel J. Tilden, Grover Cleveland, and Al Gore. Obviously, this does not represent the will of the people.

Elections are determined by battleground states. That is why the candidates have devoted their attention to handful of states and acted as if the others do not exist. If you live in a battleground state, you will be inundated with campaign ads. Otherwise, you will be ignored.

If you vote with the minority of your state, your vote does not count due to the winner-take-all nature of the system.
Yet, it is the people who are represented by the president, not governmental entities, called states.

It would take a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College and it would be fiercely opposed by small states and the political parties who can geographically target their campaigns. But it still stinks.

While I am fixing things, I want to abolish political parties.

The two-party system polarizes the nation by its very nature. The parties have to differentiate themselves from the other to have a reason for existence. They represent basic popular ideologies, but each party has become more extreme with no allowance for a candidate who deviates from their platform.

It is a type of tribalism in which a party advances their causes and tries to demean and demoralize the other party whenever they are in power, simply because they can.

It deprives the people of the best candidate for office because the best candidate would not toe the party line on every issue.

It also deprives us of the best legislation and administration because the parties discourage dialogue with those who have an opposing viewpoint.

How would anything get done in Congress with no parties? Wait a minute, has there been anything getting done in Congress? A diverse representation in a system of caucuses and coalitions could be developed around issues to propose legislation.

If my magic wand is still working, I would coral the gigantic waste of time and money that we call campaigns.

A bipartisan campaign commission would be formed to set up the debates (which is already in place) and package fact-checked information that would be readily available to the American public. It would be an “apples-to-apples” voter guide, which would also be available for those running for local office. It is ridiculous to be flooded with stupid campaign propaganda, while having almost zero real information about candidates.

Funding would be severely limited and monitored. So, the playing field would be leveled and the enormous waste of money eliminated.

The campaign season would be shortened and clearly defined.

Terms would be limited to a single, slightly longer period so a politician is not campaigning when he should be serving. Then we could move back to citizen politicians, instead of political professionals.

My magic wand just ran out of its magical power. So, I must go now.

About Glenn

Glenn Hager is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and author of two books, An Irreligious Faith and Free Range Faith.
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