Perhaps because politicians don’t want fair elections!
By Jack E. Lohman
Whether state legislators or U.S. congressmen, “fair” elections are the last thing they want. They allow challengers to wage a competitive race, and incumbents don’t want competitive races. Simple as that.
Politicians are many things, but they (usually?) aren’t stupid. Without challenger cash, a 95% re-election advantage is retained and their jobs are kept. In Kohl’s case it protects his entire party control.
The Fair Elections Now Act is, simply, taxpayer subsidized campaigns for either the incumbent or challenger. And voluntary for both, so it passes constitutional muster. Candidates can opt in or opt out.
It provides a 4-to-1 match for donations up to $100.
It varies depending on office, but mainly it provides a “public option” for campaign contributions for those candidates who don’t want to be beholden to special interests.
Today we pay dearly when the Fat Cats are funding the elections. First, politicians spend up to half of their time raising money, and then they give taxpayer assets in return to their contributors. So tax money that we paid for schools, for example, gets diverted to special interest pork projects and then the politicians have to increase taxes yet again.
Does the 4-to-1 match cost taxpayer money? Of course it does, but about 1/100th that the pork costs us now. So it is one helluva bargain. Less than $6 per taxpayer per year versus about $3000 per person in government giveaways. I’ll happily pay my $6.
But reform doesn’t stop there…
- We need Instant Runoff Voting, which allows you to vote for your first choice without throwing your vote away. If that candidate doesn’t win 50%-plus-one, your vote is automatically tallied to your second choice. And so on until a clear majority is declared.
- We need a None-of-the-above option on the ballot. If NOTA gets the most votes a new election is called without the previous candidates. This works especially well with one, lousy candidate, which we seem to have a lot of.
- Redistricting must be moved from our state legislature to our Government Accountability Board to eliminate the current conflict of interest. Currently the politicians are picking the voters and it needs to be the other way around.
- Closed caucuses violates our state open-records law, and should be made transparent for all voters to attend.
- We must establish an advisory Public Poll operated by the state’s Government Accountability Board (GAB) to assess taxpayer opinion.
On #5 I’ve struggled…
… but I am absolutely fed up hearing that “phone calls to politicians are running in favor of this or against that.”
I know and you know, by the number of emails we get, that the control and content of those calls are generated by the moneyed interests and how much they are willing to spend to get into taxpayer’s pockets. And the number of people they can garner to write letters and be rowdy at town hall meetings.
This is a total distortion of our democracy by the moneyed interests and it must stop. Now!
That’s not how I want my politician swayed or the country run. We must put the people back in charge. Technology has changed politics and we must change with it.
I want the nonpartisan GAB to supervise a random “advisory” poll of Wisconsinites on the serious issues at hand. They can write the questions after reviewing both sides of the argument, and then outsource the phone calls to multiple vendors. Or establish a new department with no more than five people in it, moving existing personnel from wasteful projects.
We must run this state more like a business, and that’s called “market research.” Unbiased at that.
- Of course the politicians won’t like this, because it interferes with their ability to bend with the special interests that fund their campaigns, and to pull the wool over voter’s eyes.
- FoxPolitics.net has excellent coverage of Dave Obey’s retirement. My question is, who’s going to keep the pork train going?