Voting and Elections

$$, voting, and the two parties

Three things are the root of the hold-up from greatness in Oregon, and probably the rest of the country. 1) Money controls everything. 2) Our voting system forces us to vote for evil. 3) The two big parties have a lock on the system and they aren’t looking after the middle class. When these three things change, Oregon will begin to transform.

The Vision begins with getting rid of the old(O) and bringing in the new(N). No, I don’t mean old wrinkly people, although most (if not all) of those guys and gals should go bye bye. Old government systems like the way we vote, and how we’re encouraged to vote for certain people, keep us out of the mix. The old way of thinking is bringing down the middle class and empowering/enriching the ruling class. Old laws and an Old legal system prevent us from getting justice and being able to hold people accountable. An old tax system keeps us confused and broke. Old corrupt government programs/agencies keep us dependent and sick, and take up a lot of our time. Getting rid of the old like Rep Dennis Richardson(O) and Governor Kitzhaber(O), who have nothing but Old ideas, and support the Old government, is a great way to begin transforming our government.

If we can bring in new people(N) with new ideas, we can get rid of our Old government and bring in a new one that does what we want and works to improve the state and our lives. We can bring in new people with Crazy, innovative, revolutionary ideas that can protect our environment while keeping energy prices low. We can create a healthcare system that leaves no person without health care. We can change and/or get rid of the laws that we feel impede our freedom to do what we want with our bodies and our lives. And so on.

1. $$ controls our government

Here’s the bottom line…$$ rules. If you have enough, you can buy a politician, because they’re all (ok ok. Maybe not “all”. For the record, I generalize a lot, so take it as it’s meant. Obviously, I don’t mean “every single politician”. That would just be stupid.) for sale. Any politician who accepts $$ or favors is going to be influenced and that influence may be (probably is) not in the best interest of the middle class. This is NOT how our government should run. “Woooohooooo!! No shit!!”

As long as our politicians (starting as candidates) accept $$ and favors, our representatives essentially give up the power they’re suppose to have. Those with the $$ now have the power. Is that how it should be? Is that how it was designed to be? Probably not. “We need campaign finance reform!!” You hear that a lot. Do you know who comes up with campaign finance reform policy? Yep, the ruling class. Reform will not come from the government, or the two parties, or any of the politicians. None of them are interested in stopping the flow of $$ that keeps the system working for them.

Removing $$ from the system needs to start at the campaign level, but campaign finance reform is not going to come from the government or politicians, because they and their ruling class buddies like the $$. The good thing is, good people don’t need a law to tell them the right thing to do. Candidates can refuse to accept $$/favors, and not spend $$ on their campaign. “Well how are you going to do that and have even a chance of winning??!!” This can be done with a little Crazy, revolutionary thinking. It’s possible to find a way to reach people without being in the back pocket of the ruling class and special interest groups. Have you heard of a “grass roots” campaign? Yeah, pretty much everyone has. “Grass roots” really means nothing anymore since every single campaign is “grass roots”. What do you think about a “Guerrilla” campaign? It’s designed to connect with people through back doors and untraditional means. I’m betting that this Guerrilla campaign will be much more effective and a candidate won’t have to take $$ or favors from anyone. This book is the beginning of my Guerrilla campaign, and you’ll see more of my Crazy ideas for running a campaign with no $$ as we progress.

When $$ is out of the system, our government will work for us, instead of working for the ruling class.  If we, the voting middle class, insist that candidates use no $$, we’ll see voluntary change in campaign finance…no new law required. I know it sounds Crazy, but it can work.

2. A better voting system. No more voting for evil.

We have one screwed up election system that keeps the ruling class in power. The ballots, the debates (not as much at the state and local levels), the media, and the vote counting are all rigged. Rules are made and enforced so outsiders really have no chance of getting in the game. It’s virtually impossible for a third party or an independent to win an election. Voter suppression, voter intimidation, hanging chads, hours waiting in line, ballots sent to dead people and pets, ballot boxes floating in the bay…all products of a bullshit system.

It’s so cool having the choice of the “lesser of two evils” when voting time comes around. Isn’t it? I mean, who doesn’t want to vote for evil? Yeah, you can cast your vote for one of those other guys, but then your vote is wasted, because that guy obviously won’t win. Actually, that’s all backwards thinking. Wasting a vote happens by voting for the lesser of two evils instead of the best person for the job…the person who represents your values the closest. Evil is evil, and feeling forced to vote for evil is something that shouldn’t happen in the United States of America. There are other ways to vote that would make it impossible to “waste” a vote, but we stick with a screwed system. Why? Because it works so well for the two big parties and the ruling class. Why would they want to let someone in on their gig? Chances are, it would only screw up the good thing they have going. So we’re told who to vote for and most people, obviously, do as they’re told.

Let’s get a little Crazy and make a better system that works for us, not them. Let’s make a system where it’s impossible to waste a vote, and we’re not forced to vote for evil. It can be done, but we need to be willing to do it.

Once a Crazy candidate finds his (no, not all candidates are men, I just don’t want to waste my time typing “his/her”) way to the ballot, there has to be a better way for the voters to find out about him. How many times have you voted and seen names on the ballot you’ve never heard of and know nothing about? That happens to me all the time. I’ll either look the candidate up in the voters pamphlet, or I’ll just vote for the non-incumbent. In today’s world of awesome communication devices, why in the world are we using expensive paper booklets? Why do we have to fill in bubbles with an ink pen? Why do we still have to drive to a ballot box to drop it off, or lick a stamp? How much $$ is our government spending on this stuff anyway?

Some of you are going to freak out about this. I believe we should move to computer voting. This is a revolutionary, innovative solution that brings our voting system into the 21st century. “You’re CRAZY! What about those evil corporations who will manipulate the votes?! What about the people who don’t have computers?!! How will we know our vote is counted?!” Yeah, yeah. You’re old(O). Can our voting system really get worse than it is? It’s a pain in the ass in every way. It’s inefficient and outdated by at least a few decades. It relies on people to get the count right, which as we’ve seen, people can’t be trusted (not necessarily for nefarious reasons). With the old system, there’s no way to verify that your vote was actually counted, or counted correctly.

Creating a computerized voting system doesn’t have to be done by a corporation. In fact, it could be built with very little $$. When the federal health care computer system took a shit, two college kids designed a working system within days (or maybe it was weeks). People are actually motivated by things other than $$. We could find independent programmers who would happily create this system for the state. After it’s built, hackers could be challenged to hack the system and offer a cash reward for anyone who can hack it, and fix it. Kind of like a bounty. If no one can hack it, the original programmer gets the reward.

This system would be awesome! It would link each listed candidate and ballot measure with information, maybe videos so the voter has everything they need at their fingertips. It would verify that the voter is actually the person who should be voting so every vote counts. It would keep a running, real time count of votes so we could see how our candidate or ballot measure is doing. You could vote from your phone or tablet as well as your computer. Social media could be incorporated so voters can easily communicate with their friends about the measures and candidates. No computer? No problem! There will be an option to vote through mail or at a polling station as well.

Voting is broken but it can be fixed. It shouldn’t be possible to vote for a candidate that you don’t support. You shouldn’t be forced to vote for the “lesser of two evils”. All we need to do is change the ballot voting system. Simple! Let’s create a system where the voter casts a vote for the candidate he likes the best, then casts a secondary vote for another candidate. The secondary vote only counts if the candidate the first vote was cast for doesn’t win. This way you will never have to worry about wasting your vote on someone who has no chance of winning. Simple, yet the two parties want to have nothing to do with changing the status quo.

Kind of off topic, but kind of not…in Oregon we have a citizen initiative law that allows citizens to create a bill that can be put on a ballot for a vote. The system has been manipulated to a point that it’s very difficult for a citizen to actually use it. It’s expensive and very cumbersome. The state regularly throws out legal signatures of registered voters by the hundreds, sometimes thousands or more. Rules have been created by both parties to make this process pretty much impossible for the ordinary citizen. It shouldn’t be like that. Any citizen should be able to use the system and it should be simple. We should be able to sign a petition easily and expect our signature to be counted. “Yeah sure…then we’ll have hundreds of initiatives and everything will go to hell!!” More is better. If a citizen has a problem with the government, he should be able to take action. Let’s get a little Crazy and computerize this system, making it easily available to all citizens, rich and poor. A petition would still need to be signed (on-line) by a certain amount of registered voters, so only the initiatives that are popular with the public would make the ballot.

3. The two party system

I don’t find myself fitting into either of the two big political parties, or any party for that matter. Do you? In fact, they both kind of make me sick. If you’ve associated me with either party after reading this far into the book, please try to get that out of your head. Both sides suck in their own ways, and neither gives a crap about me and you, so where does that put us? It puts us on the outside, looking in, with people on both sides flipping us off and calling us names. They prefer to keep those of us who think differently out of the mix, because we’ll really screw things up for the establishment. They don’t want innovation because they don’t want to change. They don’t want other people to hear us because they know there are many others out there who feel the same, so they do everything they can to shut us out. Are you one of them? Do you fit in the narrow confines of a party? Why should you have to? You don’t. Following a belief or a principal, or even a person sounds like a better idea than following a party. We’re all individuals, let’s act like it.

The two parties like to keep the power between them, and that’s all. No outsiders allowed. When it comes right down to it, both parties are the same. One election cycle, one party wants to get rid of the electoral college and the other loved it. The next cycle, the other party wants to get rid of the electoral college and the opposite loved it. Notice, neither party when in control of the Presidency, the House of Representatives, and the Senate tried to get rid of the electoral college. The government spying on American citizens was appalling to one party…until that party became in charge, then it was just fine. Throwing people in the slammer in a foreign country (Gitmo) was bad, bad, bad…until the party in charge changed, then it wasn’t a big deal and everyone forgot about it. Now, bombing people and killing civilians is unthinkable for one party…but wait ’til they’re in charge. I’m betting their opinion will change. It always does.

So many people are so attached to their party that no matter what, they follow their party and support them. Then when the party positions change with the wind, they make excuses for it and continue to follow. Loyal to the end. “Well my party can explain why they did that!”. Yep, and so can the other. The point is, nothing ever changes. The parties just get more powerful, and we lose more control over our government.

A politician once said, “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.” Not long after this was said, the same politician led the charge to raise the debt ceiling after his party took control. Which party was this? It doesn’t matter. They both do it.

No matter who’s President, war and killing is wrong. No matter which party’s in charge, people should be able to do with their bodies as they please; Americans should be safe; Children should have the best education in the world. Speaking of children, they shouldn’t be stuck with hundreds of trillions of dollars of debt. Borrowing $$ from China so we can loan it to the Ukraine isn’t good for our kid’s future. Both parties don’t seem to care about these things (oh they pretend to).

Our government shouldn’t be giving $$ to rich people, and bailing out banks and multi-billion dollar corporations while people are suffering. Both parties do it. Nope, yours is no different, sorry. A lot of people reading this are probably thinking, “Well…well…my party wants all of that too!”. Sure they do. Both parties have had chances to do what they want, or rather what they say they want, but guess what? They didn’t do it! Sure, lots of programs have been created by both parties, but have any of them helped the middle class, and knocked down the ruling class? Nope. They increase the power of the government (the two parties) and reduce the power that the American people are suppose to have…and rightly should have. In the meantime, the ruling class get richer and more powerful.

There’s currently a movement away from the two parties. It’s similar (if not the very same thing) to the “Consciousness Movement” that’s been making it’s way around social media. It’s simply not necessary to fit into a party to be relevant, and it would be good if people decided to not have anything to do with the two parties. We’re not part of the “masses”, and we don’t want to be. We’re individuals and want to be treated as such. We can decide what’s right, and what’s wrong without being told by our government masters. We don’t need to be told what to believe and which way to vote. We believe in the goodness of people and that they will do the right thing without being forced to. We believe government should conduct itself based on the notion that people are good, not that every person is a potential criminal.

Out of the three root problems, this is the easiest to fix. Simply stop voting for candidates from the big two parties. There’s a viable third party that already exists, but it’s not very well known. It has the power to take out the big two.

This little known third party is you. The individual. You are the solution to the two party problem.