Fixing America’s Broken Political System Once and for All
Politics in America is broken. How many times have you heard someone say this, or said it yourself, in the past year and a half? Money is running the table, and those elected with support from high-dollar donors are rigging the system to represent their own special interests. This presents a problem of epic proportions. The system of government that should represent the needs of every America instead advocates for an elite
(tl:dr: What are we going to do to fix it? Unrig the System 2/2/-2/24/18: https://unrigsummit.com)
Over the past thirty years, a political insurgency has been underway in America. Newt Gingrich began consolidating the ideal circumstances of unrivalled Republican control of government back in 1990. His 1994 proposal for the Contract with America made way for the first of three House-control backlash elections which would follow over the next two decades. In the same period, Roger Ailes (may he rot in hell) began the consolidation of a propaganda platform designed to reshape the civic fabric of the American mind.
In the yearlong rule of the Trump regime, every corner of our democracy has come under threat. We have seen hard-won programs destroyed, entire departments decimated, and the American tax code rewritten to increase the tax burden of the poorest Americans, repeal the Obamacare tax incentive, and tax the tuition waivers of graduate students. The FCC has repealed net neutrality, so you have no way of knowing whether this piece of content is opinion journalism, or fake news.
But these are tactical losses that distract from the strategic degradation of our democratic culture. In this environment, Democrats celebrate small tactical victories as a bellwether of changing winds, while the GOP iron guard marches tirelessly towards authoritarianism.
First, the tactical victories, notably Virginia’s governor and state House of Delegates election in November 2017, and the victory of Doug Jones in Alabama this December. These victories were highly visible and broadly funded. Jones and Virginia’s new Democratic delegates benefited tremendously from financial support from liberal bastions across the country, who were summoned to “chip in” to help. The cost of a U.S. Senate seat in America is $10.5 million, and Jones raised $7.6 million more than Roy More from out-of-state donors; $1.6 million came from California and $1.5 million came from New York.
These outlier elections do not simulate the political environment of 2018 or 2020, when hundreds of Congressional candidates will be battling for the dollars needed to take the nation’s lower Chamber. As many have done after the Moore-Jones election in Alabama, to suggest that black voters will save America is both foolish and outrageous. 1) to lay this responsibility at the feet of those who have been so underserved and disenfranchised by America’s political system is wholly offensive. 2) There are not enough black people in America to save us from the anger and apathy of white people who will predictably and consistently, either vote for racists, or not vote at all.
In this environment, running for office — or donating and volunteering your time for those who do — is insufficient to change the direction of our government. To reclaim a progressive future for America, those who oppose the evil faction of the GOP currently driving America towards authoritarianism can no longer count on winning the game. It’s rigged, and its time to consider how to commit the time, resources, and coordination needed to unrig it, once and for all.
What exactly does that mean?
It means bringing together the community of individuals and organizations that have been working for a more effective and inclusive democracy. It means understanding Citizen United — and how to fight it, the effects of gerrymandering and the electoral college, and how technology and data are shaping politics. More than anything, we have to understand the corrupting force of money on the current state of our democracy. The huge cost of elections means that candidates and elected officials spend most of their time raising money, rather than understanding and addressing the needs and concerns of their constituents. Now we also know that the tools being used to shape voter perception — digital ads, avatars, and other content — can be co-opted and shaped by malicious foreign powers. Plutocrats — both foreign and domestic — are making a grab for America’s democracy.
It’s up to us to come together and put an end to government corruption, once and for all. Not to resist the tyranny of the current administration, but to set aside our partisan differences over, say, healthcare or taxation, to instead protect our republic from the forces that have controlled and compromised it for far too long. Change begins with finding our allies and understanding the issues. It starts with a candid conversation about what’s broken, and how we can work together to fix it.
The Unrig the System Summit, taking place in New Orleans February 2–4, 2018, will begin a collaborative conversation about how this can happen. Activists, scholars, and campaign leaders from across the United States — and across the political spectrum! — will converge on New Orleans for three days of strategizing, relationship building, and general pre-Mardi Gras fun. It’s the beginning of a turning point in American politics, one where we set aside our differences to protect the future of our democracy.
I’ll be there. Will you?