Top 10 Election Problems
By David Swanson
We got 1,001 things wrong in the latest U.S. election. Here are the top 10:
- Expecting an election to solve deep injustices that require a massive movement, as have all the deep injustices of the past. This can be fixed through education and activism.
- Rigging the DNC primary to deny Bernie Sanders a nomination. This could have been fixed by Sanders running as an independent. It can now be fixed by all DNC donors abandoning it and putting their funds into activism. Of course the DNC should dump Brazile and all Clintonites, but installing Howard Dean or Keith Ellison hardly solves anything. Disempowering parties through some of the proposals below would work.
- Rigging the RNC primary by giving Donald Trump endless free media coverage. This can be fixed by busting up the media cartel, requiring free and equal air time for candidates, limiting the election season, banning legalized bribery, and publicly funding elections. (These things also disempower parties.)
- Voter suppression that Greg Palast says stripped 1.1 million voters from the rolls in swing states, but which Democrats seem not to give a damn about — perhaps because Putin didn’t do it. This can be fixed by creating a right to vote, making voter registration automatic, debunking the myth of “voter fraud,” undoing the anti-voter restrictions of recent years, providing adequate polling stations, and making election day a holiday.
- Unverifiable election machines, including optical scanners, that have left us in an awkward situation. Exit polls, which the U.S. Department of State uses to judge the credibility of elections in other countries, show that Clinton won in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin. But we are supposed to just take it on blind faith that in fact she didn’t. This can be fixed by publicly hand counting paper ballots in every polling place. Of course the acceptable position is to believe on faith that the vote counts are accurate, but since when is taking it on faith the progressive position, when taking it on empirical evidence is a perfectly possible alternative?
- The winner-take-all system in most states, which concentrates the election on a handful of states and leads to the winner of the popular vote losing the election. This can be fixed by states choosing to distribute their electoral college “votes” in proportion to their actual human votes.
- The gerrymandered districts that make it virtually impossible to unelect rotten incumbents. This can be fixed through non-partisan redistricting.
- The winner-take-all system in each election that fuels lesser evilism. This can be fixed through ranked choice voting, as just done in Maine and in Benton County, Oregon.
- The Presidential Debate Commission which limits debates to moderators and participants who — even when they are fed the questions beforehand — are an utter embarrassment to the human species. This can be fixed by allowing the League of Women Voters or any independent organization to host the debates.
- The United States Senate, which gives the 40 million people of California no greater representation than the 0.6 million people of Wyoming. This can be fixed by abolishing the United States Senate.