I’d like to welcome you all to today’s event. Your support means the world to me, even if we’re bucking the tide, going against the grain, swimming upstream and any other clichés you’d care to apply. Whether or not my candidacy inspires or disappoints, I’m in it to make a difference…or at least to stir up trouble.
I could claim to speak for the American people but I can’t with a straight face pretend to know what they’re thinking—or even if they are thinking. My platform aims to correct some of that by focusing solely on how we improve the quality of our voters, our candidates, and our Congressional representatives. I’m confident that if my recommendations are implemented, every other issue affecting our country, from education to economics, will be resolved.
- Everyone born in this country will be automatically registered to vote. You’re born here; you’re a citizen. You’re a citizen, you pay taxes and you vote.
- Every registered voter will be required to vote. Not voting will mean the loss of driving privileges and a fine. However, no one can vote until they’ve taken and passed a qualification test. I propose using the first section of the test administered to our naturalized citizens. It deals with American government. There are fifty-seven questions divided among three subsections; a passing grade will be 45 correct answers.
- Voters will also be asked to summarize, in one or two sentences, the views of the candidates running for office. Please note: The test will be given in English only.
- Voting will be possible through a variety of methods, including via Internet or mobile applications. Where necessary, polling places and machinery will be used. Every effort will be made to prevent fraud; however lawsuits after the fact will not be entertained. It is a waste of court resources. Note that currently, 51% of the eligible voters actually participate. If that percentage is raised to 98%, the increased participation will more than make up for any alleged fraud.
- Every registered voter may be excused from participating in three local and one national election during his or her lifetime as voters for any reason whatsoever.
- Candidates will be asked to take the ENTIRE naturalization test, which includes sections on American History and Integrated Civics, in order to run. They must answer 94 of 100 questions, including all of the questions in the American Government section, correctly.
- Every candidate must demonstrate experience/expertise in one of the following areas: budget planning and implementation, facilitation, team-building, hostage negotiation.
- Candidates will be forbidden from using the following phrases: “the American people”, “American values”, or “take back our country”, as will those elected to office.
- No private money may be used by office-seekers, including funds from one’s own coffers or family holdings, PACs or 501c3s, or corporations, institutions, unions, or interested third parties here or abroad. Anyone found to be soliciting money will be immediately disqualified. There will be no exceptions.
- Each candidate will pay a nominal amount to a fund overseen by a committee of volunteer citizens. Private donations can also be made into this fund for tax credit. The fund will evenly distribute money to credible candidates for limited advertising. Ads may appear on one channel only, along with public service programs offering discussions, debates and presentations by the candidates and their surrogates; this will likely be an Internet channel. That channel may advertise on other venues in order to remind voters where they can access information that will help them make informed decisions.
- Candidates must be available for one month prior to the election to the voters in their district, appearing at debates, forums or town hall meetings to explain why they deserve to be elected. I recommend elections take place just after Labor Day so candidates can use their vacation days in August.
- Representatives will serve a term of four years (not two in the House or six in the Senate). They will then be eligible to run for office for another single term. This stricture will allow them to do the work required of them without stopping every fourteen months (in the case of United States Representatives) to focus solely on fundraising.
- Representative pay will be computed based in part on amount of meaningful legislation passed in any session, the naming of post offices being an example of “non-meaningful” legislation. Pay will also be affected by periodic surveys measuring voter approval of Congress. Favorable or unfavorable ratings from interest groups will have no bearing.
- All representatives are required to support at least one piece of meaningful legislation (see #3 above) working with a member of an opposing party. Failure to do so will result in early termination.
- Each term, the representative deemed by a citizen committee to have done the most to raise the prestige of Congress will receive an award, either monetary or in free publicity. Awards will also go to the representative who has done the most to convince school-aged children of the importance and/or value of public service.
I recognize these proposals are both far-reaching and narrow in scope. I continue to believe in the power of people to make the changes necessary to put our country back on track, assuming these people aren’t total fools, zombies, or prone to learning more about Miley Cyrus than about their elected representatives.
Thank you and have a pleasant week.