WHAT CAN BE DONE TO HELP BUILD A CULTURE OF BEING ABLE TO AGREE TO DISAGREE?
1. The states should do away with gerrymandering districts by their Governors and legislatures. We have a situation where the real election within both parties is the primaries. Politicians of both parties are scared of voting for anything that might bring on a serious primary challenger, typically a “purist” from the extreme. In 2016, only 17% of eligible voters participated in GOP primaries and only 12% in Dem primaries. The whole nominating system is seriously flawed. We need competitive elections and not have the primaries be the election.
2. Get rid of the limits to donations to parties and set strict limits on donating private money to candidates.
3. Require prospective candidates to get petition signatures from elected officials and county party chairs. Send unbound delegates, such as elected officials and county party leaders, to their conventions.
4. Restore earmarks because they help grease the give and take of politics and compromise. Earmarks never amounted to large sums of money, but they helped promote genuine bargaining. I’ll vote for your proposal if you vote for mine works best with some pork. Trying to be a party leader is meaningless unless you have some carrots to dispense or withhold which should include earmarks and committee membership/seniority.
5. Seriously restrict the availability of swarms of political ads from PACs for individuals and shift that money into the hands of the political parties. Do that with restrictions on how the internet can be used to raise funs for candidates and NOT for parties. The parties should be responsible for money raising and spending, not the candidates. We have private political machines such as the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove on the right; and Tom Steyer on the left. Those drive who gets nominated in the primaries and not the parties.
6. Break up the oligopoly of social media platforms of Twitter and Facebook. They are unregulated by the FCC. Restore the “fairness doctrine” to the use of the airwaves in TV, the internet, and radio.
7. The Constitution has no system for holding elected politicians accountable. It should be impossible for one Senator to shut down the government as Cruz did. Such a rogue person should be “fired”.
8. Re-establish the seniority system in both Houses of Congress for appointments to committees. That system rewarded party loyalty and ensured that those at the top were experienced. Restore Gingrich’s cut of committee staffs by one third. We need professionals helping the committees function well. Allow the committees to meet in private so they can put packages together. Delicate negotiations CAN’T be carried out in public. I know that from being the facilitator for labor-management negotiations. You can speak candidly in private. No sane person would negotiate publicly. It is noteworthy that the House and Senate Intelligence committees carried out much of their discussions on Benghazi in private; and, thus produced highly credible reports which torpedoed the various conspiracy theories of the time.
9. We must find ways to reduce the antipolitical sentiment. Trump, Sanders, and Cruz had in common that they were political sociopaths—they did not care what politicians thought about their behavior and they DIDN’T NEED TO CARE. That has to end. Biden’s election should help here.