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Northeast Ohio Liberals & Progressives Message Board › The Future Starts Now

The Future Starts Now

Mark T.
user 4783078
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 413
Michael V. posted on our mailing list:

"I've been kicking this idea around for a while, but last nights election has inspired me. Why is it that the GOP can motivate people and the Dems can't? They have a movement to rally people around. Sure, it is a fear based, jingoistic, Judeo-Christian, atavistic, bigoted movement, but it exists. What about the Dems?

These are my ideas.

1-A single payer health care system. I think this one is self explanatory.

2- Complete restructuring of campaign finance rules. I would love to see every person in the nation restricted to spending $5,000 in a single cycle; they can put it anywhere, but once that $5,000 is gone, so is their ability to spend. Corporations, Unions, 501c's, and the like can only spend what they take in from individual donors, who can only give them money from their own $5,000 pool. Plus, full (ie 100%) disclosure of all contributions, limitations on advertising, and perhaps even a bipartisan regulatory agency with the power to reject ads that contain false or misleading information.

3- Computerized redistricting/addition of Congressional seats for D.C, Puerto Rico, and the the other US territories. Why Gerrymandering is still possible in an era of computer modeling is beyond me. A computer can neatly split a city into 5 parts, a state into 7, and do so with adjustments to avoid creating heavily partisan, ethnic, or otherwise unusual districts.

4- Restructuring of Congress to make the House Of Representatives equal with the Senate. Another easy one. Right now, the Senate has all the power, and the GOP wave, which should be able to pass major legislation given the size of their majority and victory, will instead pass next to nothing. Pelosi's 111th Congress, bigger than Boeher's new 112th, did their jobs, and watched great legislation wither and die in the Senate. I would think it obvious that a bicameral legislature should be bicameral.

5- A national works program to restructure our country's transportation infrastructure towards a more efficient and environmentally sound system. Meaning more trains, serious investment into fuel cells/alternative fuels, and moving away from an oil-based foreign policy.

6- A major climate change act;
one that cuts emissions, forces companies to cut waste, mandates recycling and a reduction in energy consumption, and perhaps even a major investment into hydro-electric, wind and nuclear power sources.

7- A 50% reduction in defense spending.

8- Comprehensive immigration reform that includes amnesty, a migrant workers program, and serious regulatory efforts to crack down on illegal employers.

9- A serious debt reduction effort that includes tax increases.

Like I said, just a few ideas I've had."

Some great ideas, Michael! I might add "a comprehensive equal rights amendment", something that would put a permanent end to archaic policies such as DADT and the state gay marriage bans, and would forbid religion-based sexism, etc.

Should a cohesive progressive movement be issue-based for starters? Candidate-based or party-based? All of the above?

I'd love to see a calm, forthright, collected, unapologetic, and not-easily-intimidated new progressive movement spring up... would be a stark contrast to the frothy-mouthed, paranoid, truth-warping Tea Party, etc.

Also... should a progressive movement automatically associate itself with the Dems?

A former member
Post #: 494
Good ideas, all—and worth working for. Giving up almost never gets things done!

That said, this question is a big problem:
"Why is it that the GOP can motivate people and the Dems can’t?”

The answer is that blind emotion, fear, hate, dogma, blind acceptance of authority, resistance to change, simple answers and yes stupidity itself, are VERY appealing to human beings in general and American culture in particular. This is not new or temporary. Americans have valued stupidity ever since fleeing their wealthy, educated oppressors to found this nation.

Reason, subtle understanding, complex answers, facts, and yes, intelligence itself are never going to drive people the same way. Those things don’t have the same emotional power, and too few people accept them as being desirable in the first place. Too many Americans WANT a leader with false simple answers, they WANT to hate and fear others, and they want no part of rationality or education or open-mindedness. This leaves them open to being manipulated (by corporate money, by religion, you name it).

Progressives will never motivate large numbers the way the GOP and Tea Party can, unless they turn whole-heartedly against their own principles, and start applying lies and manipulation on a massive scale. (In short, the right has lies—a very powerful and constantly-used tool that we just don’t have. We’re not perfect, but our policies are far more constrained by reality and truth. Lies are a much more flexible tool—they can do anything!)

So I think the question is, given that we simply can’t motivate the masses, what CAN be done using smaller numbers? Getting something small done, or getting something done gradually, is still worthwhile. It may be reversed, but you can always try again!
A former member
Post #: 2
Answer: K-12 Education. Brainwash their children like they're always screaming we are. Unfortunately, it takes longer to create a responsible citizen than it does for a glacier to melt. As a species, I'd say we've taken too long to live up to our self-awarded name. We can't always depend on being able to engage in endless infighting while we innovate our way out of our messes. Climate change wouldn't be my number one choice of fates to tempt.
Mark T.
user 4783078
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 414
Answer: K-12 Education. Brainwash their children like they're always screaming we are.

That's the spirit! cool

Cleveland, OH
Post #: 8
It seems that all of the ideas expressed are basics of the Green Party, and many are basics of the Socialist Party (and other similarly-named parties).
So, in addition to many of the ideas that Mark and others have put forth, I'd have to add: Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), also known as Ranked-Choice Voting. This way, we can all vote for who we actually prefer, without the risk of a worse candidate winning if we don't try to predict the candidate (usually of a major party) who has a better chance of winning. The other major benefit of IRV or Ranked-Choice systems is that it would lead to more positive campaigning, since candidates won't want to alienate their opponents' supporters, in hopes of being their 2nd or 3rd choice.

There is a group in Ohio which is going to be pushing for IRV as well as Open Primaries; meaning, at any primary, everyone would get the same ballot, and could vote for some Dems., some Repubs., some Greens, some Libertarians, etc... THIS has the benefit of leading to less extreme winners in primaries, and could lead to more productive and less partisan government.

David Berenson
A former member
Post #: 505
I didn’t see this before, but I agree! I have long been convinced that a multiple-vote system is necessary before many deep problems in the US cam be solved (starting with the narrow 2-party system and corporate influence over governance).

There are arguments to be made for different specific multiple-vote systems, with IRV being among the best-sounding to me. But the main thing, I think, is to get people used to the concept in ANY way, at any level. For that purpose, the simplest multiple-vote system is best (and maybe that’s IRV).

By my understanding of the Constitution, a multiple-vote system could be established nationwide for presidential elections without requiring any kind of amendment. It could work the same way as the slow death of the Electoral College by the Interstate Compact. But if even ONE state adopted it for presidential elections, it would get attention and (some) others would see the benefit.

The Open Primaries concept is interesting too. I can see a potential pitfall: successful candidates already try to aim for the perceived middle, keeping some great people like Dennis Kucinich on the fringe. We could lose some great people (and variety of ideas) in the primaries if the Democrats vote for the most liberal Republicans while the Republicans vote in the most conservative Democrats. Now, that could be OK if candidates outside the two parties had a real shot! Then the Democrats and Republicans could finish merging as far as I’m concerned :)
bill d.
Cleveland, OH
Post #: 1
any opinions on party-proportional representation ?tongue
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