Today, October 26, 2022, this country of ours is not the “United States of America,” and has not been for decades. We are terminally divided unless serious and immediate change happens. Politics and politicians are the culprits, and only taking control of them while relieving them from their power over us can save America.
Deliberation and Compromise
America was never intended to be a nation of puppets. Disagreement is one of our strengths. During the Constitutional Convention, 1787-1789, there was constant disagreement, and sometimes very heated debate. This is the only way democracy works and survives.
However, our politicians fail to act intelligently with the welfare of the majority as their primary focus in the 21st century. Washington is completely dysfunctional. One entire political party is focused on power and financial gain. They refuse to listen to the men and women on the left side of the aisle. They are incapable of and unwilling to engage in intelligent and honest deliberation.
America Should be “Red, White, and Blue,” not “Red, Purple, and Blue”
America is divided between red and blue states. The deciding votes in our presidential elections are offered by “purple states,” also called “swing states.” The only reason for these labels is the existence of the Electoral College. Red and Blue states received their labels after multiple elections when their electoral votes were received exclusively by Republican or Democratic presidential candidates. Purple states fluctuate from election to election. I am glad that my state of Nevada is a purple state. This is democracy in action. Independent voters are informed voters.
The Cost of the United States’ Elections is too Damn High
Whether the election is a general election or a midterm election, the process for holding our elections is a disgrace and a literal mess. The cost of running a campaign is unacceptable. For example, the base pay or the 535 men and women in the House and Senate is $174,000 per year. The cost of campaigning for a seat in the legislature reaches millions. If the seat is in the Senate, it can reach tens of millions of dollars. Why? I offer you the truth without talking around the issue as politicians prefer.
First, the length of the campaign season is ridiculously long. The truth is, the average voter no longer pays any attention to television ads for the last two months prior to the election. We don’t want to hear any more lies or false promises, we just want it to be over.
Most of the money spent on a campaign is focused on television ads. They tell me nothing about the candidates. They are allowed to attack each other and lie incessantly. Television ads are very expensive, and I believe they serve no constructive purpose.
Campaigning in Other Countries
Canada recently ended a campaign season. Based on past elections, it was exceedingly long at 11 weeks. The average campaign season in Europe is about three months. It is less in Mexico and Japan. This makes it simple and factual to claim that if the United States restricted its campaigns to just a few months instead of more than a year, the cost of running a campaign would be greatly reduced.
The funding for television ads should be restricted, and the candidates should be forced to debate each other on the issues a minimum of six times in different areas of their states or in the case of the presidential election 10 times in various states. The voting public has the right to know where each candidate stands on the important issues.
The Electoral College Opposes the United States Democracy
The solution for simplifying our presidential elections is clear. Repeal the Electoral College. If the popular vote decided our presidential elections, every vote would count and the people would choose the woman or man who would lead us for four years, not the states. This was the original intention of our Founding Fathers.
A final question: “do you believe that if your state had 1,000 voters, and the final count favored one candidate over the other by a vote of 501-499, and your vote was part of the 499, should all your state’s Electoral College votes be given to the winner of the 501?” Does it anger you that your vote would not count, that it would simply be discarded in the trash?
Every other argument claiming that the Electoral College should remain is bogus. Only one thing is important, every vote should count. This cannot be repeated often enough.
Only Change in our Election Process can Save Democracy
Change is not easy, but the 2020 election demands it, and the time is now. This was the safest and fairest election in history according to Trump’s “election czar,” but millions of Americans continue to question the results although every court in the land discarded appeals from loser Donald Trump. Lies and conspiracy theories should not be allowed to decide our elections. The people are the nation and their votes are all that matter.
By James Turnage, Author of “The Holiday Killer”
270 to Win: Electoral Map: Blue or Red States Since 2000
National Archives: The Electoral College
NPR: Why Are U.S. Elections So Much Longer Than Other Countries’?
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Giuseppe Milo’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License