Seventeen Reforms to Improve USA Democracy
by Hank Pellissier
The USA is a sub-par, wretchedly-flawed ‘democracy.’
- A Princeton/Northwestern study suggests the US government more closely resembles an oligarchy or a corporatocracy than a democracy because “average citizens have little or no independent influence.”
- The 2018 Democracy Index ranks the USA #25 in the world behind currently-rioting Chile and longtime sex-slave-trafficking Mauritius.
- Only 40–50% of American vote; a statistic far below average for a developed nation.
- US trust in government has plummeted in the last half-century
USA DEMOCRACY SUCKS. The “Land of the Free” never really was, but it’s worsening quickly, crippled by narcissistic leaders and paralyzed institutions. What can we do?
To gain actual ‘Rule by the People’ let’s follow these 16 steps:
Abolish the Senate : This 100-body assembly is shamelessly warped. Wyomingans get 70X the representation as Californians; Senators representing just 17% of the population can pass a bill.
Abolish Electoral College : The 21st century has already elected two lost-the-popular-vote Presidents due to this archaic process. 53% of Americans favor its elimination.
Two More States : Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia deserve representation.
Limit Presidency #1 / End “Commander-In-Chief” status : The USA hasn’t declared war since Pearl Harbor, but we’ve been battling anyway ever since. Disconnect POTUS from the Pentagon — let legislature decide.
Limit Presidency #2 / End Veto Power : Congressional decisions have been cancelled by ham-fisted executives 2,580 times. Vetos are near-impossible to override due to the 2/3 majority requirement.
Limit Presidency #3 / Eviction from White House : Why did a rebel anti-tyranny nation install POTUS in a lavish palace? Get a Potomac apartment; WH can be a Democracy Museum.
Abolish the Presidency : Let’s defenestrate the bloated POTUS position. Demand the 435 Congresspeople to work cooperatively. If they can’t, they only have 2-year terms so they’re easy to get rid of.
Adopt Parliamentary Government : With the Senate and President disappeared, we’d only have Congress, acting as a Parliament, with the Speaker of the House as Prime Minister. If this sounds sickeningly-British to you, read the studies. Presidential governments are destined to be unstable with coups d’etats & assassinations, plus their populations are poorer. Let’s escape!
Tear Up Constitution : We could have & should have done this first. It isn’t a ‘sacred text’ — it’s just four antique pages of parchment. Its biggest problem is rigidity; out of 11,000 amendments proposed since 1789, only 27 have passed.
End Gerrymandering : This corrupt, cowardly practice was conceived by Governor Gerry of Massachusetts, who shaped a partisan district like a salamander in 1812. The remedy? Ask an apolitical robot to draw the lines.
Only Public-Funded Elections (ban corporate & private donations) : This reform is essential if we truly want ‘one person, one vote’ instead of may-the-best-beggar-or-richest-candidate-win. Nominees would get cash & public airtime from the government. Recruiting volunteers might sway the day?
Break up Major Media : Glenn Greenwald says mainstream media spreads “patriotic state propaganda.” Noam Chomsky says its goal is “manufacturing consent” for war and voter manipulation. Today six companies control 90% of media. Let us break up big media into hundreds of small autonomous units, to resurrect neighborhood newspapers.
Supreme Court Reform : “Justice for life terms” is a foolish idea; let’s replace it with 6 years max. Judges should also be elected by the general public. Going further, SCOTUS could be dumped entirely; let state courts decide.
Direct Democracy : Selecting representatives to travel to the capital and speak up for our interests is a fossilized concept from 1700’s. Today, every US citizen can easily be connected to issues & vote with a smart phone, via responses to text messages.
Election Day : make it a holiday so everyone has plenty of time to vote, provide thousands more polling places and offer free snacks in line.
Adopt Rojava Confederalism : Kurds in northern Syria established multiethnic, grassroots, green, secular, feminist ‘openDemocracy’ in three cantons, using ideas formulated by US political philosopher Murray Bookchin. “Neighborhood assemblies” formed the initial block of this bottom-up structure. Let’s try it.
Tinyism / Decentralize Power / Break up the Union : The most democratic nations, claims the Democracy Index, have populations between 4–10 million. If necessary, let’s break up the USA into 35–70 autonomous units.