What if Washington represented its people and kept its promises?
WHERE WE ARE TODAY
We have a system that rewards political leaders who do anything to hold power, and is trusted to “do the right thing” by just 2 out of 10 Americans.
WHERE WE NEED TO BE
Build a system that rewards service-oriented leaders who can drive measurable results in the form of amazing citizen experiences. And ensure at least 7 out of 10 Americans trust the government to do what’s right.
HOW WE GET THERE:
Let’s create a Government Reform League to reimagine Congress and SCOTUS. We need to pay closer attention to our elected officials, how they spend their time, the things they promise, and the decisions they make on behalf of the American people. A Government Reform League can reimagine Congress and SCOTUS as the representative, inclusive, and equitable advocates that the people deserve. On top of that, we must enact real, measurable performance standards to serve and stay in service. Empty promises can and should not be rewarded in a meaningful democracy.
Step 1: Institute term limits for elected officials and judges.
- In Congress, enact 2-term limits for U.S. Senators (12 yrs) and 6-term limits for U.S. Representatives (12 yrs).
- On the Supreme Court, enact staggered 18-year terms to bring regular turnover to the bench. Under this system, justices would sit in staggered terms of active service on the Court, such that a new vacancy would open every two years. Each president would have two, and only two, appointments during a four-year term. And we would have an evolving Court that better reflects and evolves with prevailing public values.
Step 2: Develop a “License to Lead” and a “Scorecard to Stay.”
- You need a license to drive, you should have a license to lead in Congress. This license application process could be crafted similar to the citizenship process for immigrants and will ensure we have leaders who understand our history and the Constitution.
- Enact stiff and swift penalties for leaders found guilty of spreading lies and mistruths about our history and Democracy.
- Ban federal lobbying by anyone who has held federal elected office.
- Develop a scorecard on outcomes for both what you do (real metrics) and how you do it (values, decision making, collaboration, etc.).
Step 3: Decrease the cost and time required to run for office.
- Introduce publicly-funded elections with shorter campaigning time, a minimum number of required public debates, and a civics test requirement. Require candidates to raise a minimum amount of $1 per voter using the Government by the People Act as a model. Have the government match small-dollar donations at a 6-to-1 rate (or higher under certain conditions) with a $25 refundable tax credit to encourage political donations. This form of election system levels the playing field for potential candidates and frees time for incumbent members to focus on serving their constituents.
- Overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This court decision was based on the principle that campaign contributions are a form of political speech protected by the First Amendment and decreed corporations effectively the same as people. As a result, wealthy individuals, businesses, and other groups were able to influence elections more easily and with more freedom.
- Pass the Disclose Act which creates transparency requirements for super PACs that don’t have to disclose the source of their contributions.
Step 5: Expand equitable voter turnout.
- Institute national voter registration for all eighteen year old citizens.
- Amend the Voting Rights Act to eliminate unlawful regulations that result in the disproportionate impact on racial minorities.
- Make Election day a National Service Day where communities work together to clean up communities after they vote.
- Grant statehood to Washington, D.C and Puerto Rico to reduce the Senate’s current bias against metropolitan areas and Black Americans.
- Expand early voting, vote-by-mail, and same-day voter registration, and limit states ability to purge voter files.
Step 6: Keep elections safe and fair.
- Provide federal funding for improved cybersecurity measures.
- Require online platforms to disclose sponsors of political ads on their sites.