Yesterday was an Election Day, and of course that got me to thinking about how we could do this whole thing better. Here are five reforms we need to implement as soon as possible.
1. Term Limits
My suggestion on term limits is a little more nuanced than ‘two terms and you’re done’ kind of thing, although I appreciate that sentiment. I suggest something like an accumulative tally where an individual can only serve sixteen years in a federal office. That means a woman or man could do a couple of stints as a state representative, then a senator for a term or two. I wouldn’t include the President in this accumulation because there is already a constitutional term limit on that office which I fully endorse.
2. Age Restrictions
I hate to sound ageist, but I don’t think people in their seventies and eighties should be doing the day-to-day business of running the country. Part of this is out of respect for them, but it is also out of need. We need fresh blood, because those who are running things now are fighting battles and nursing vendettas that are leftover from the 70s and 80s. Dems are still mad about Reagan and Bush and the GOP is still really seething about the way Nixon was treated. I’m serious — I still see tired old internet memes about Hillary Clinton and Watergate or the national debt under Reagan. We need new voices and new ideas from people who aren’t settling scores.
3. Vote-By-Mail/National Holiday
I was a convert to vote-by-mail. Originally, I hated it. Voting should be hard and troublesome, I thought. Then I moved to a state where every vote was done by mail. I loved it: no confusing machines, no hassles, no taking off work, no standing in line. I could make a cup of coffee, study the candidates and the issues, mark my ballot, seal it up, and mail it away.
I understand people are hesitant with this, because I had the same misgivings. So, I could meet half-way. If no vote-by-mail, then perhaps declare a national holiday on Election Day. I think that would help ease some of the burden involved with work and time involved. It wouldn’t solve it for everyone, but it might increase civic involvement.
4. Top Two Open Primaries
Of all my ideas, I think this is the best one. Instead of the top Republican and the top Democrat going at it in the general election, let the primaries choose the top two, regardless of their party affiliation. Some states do this already. If any candidate gets a majority in the primary, then no runoff is necessary. What this would do is free up more conversation in one-party states where two Republicans might be going at in the general election rather than a Democrat who can’t win. Flip it around for a blue state like Washington or New York and you see it works both ways.
5. Eliminate Private Funding
We’ve got to get unaccountable money out of our election system. Therefore, I propose eliminating private funding and limiting campaign advertising to a three month period before the election. I know lots of people have concerns about things and conspiracy theories run rampant, but one of my fears is foreign involvement paying for political campaigns in this country. I think it happens on both sides, and I want it gone.