Implementing campaign finance laws will help improve the system, but they alone won’t fix it. Campaign finance reform will help reduce the supply of money, but it won’t address the demand. As long as money can be used to get votes and whoever wins 50% + 1 vote gets the prize while the loser nothing, there will be a great demand for money.
My campaign finance proposal will help reduce the influence of money, but on its own, it won’t reduce the demand. Politicians should be focusing on serving their constituents rather than continuously fundraising. The following video by John Oliver has language which reminds me of my Navy days and is not entirely appropriate for a political website, but he captures the problem far better than I can hope to do.
What is clear to me is that we need to end the winner-take-all mentality of politics. As long as this toxic, hyper-aggressive environment exists, each and every election will be an ugly fight to the death fueled by money and deceit. It is great theater, but produces poor policies.
To end the theater and expand representation, the second place candidate and more specifically their voters, should be heard. For reasons dealing with Game Theory, I would make that the top three. Before I get to the proposal, here is what it would do.
Here are the Benefits of my proposal.
- Eliminate the effect of gerrymandering
- The federal government can’t directly ban gerrymandering – States rights
- Vastly reduce the demand for donations
- Increase minimum percentage of voter with a representative they voted for in office from the current 50% to over 75%
- In a typical district this real representation will be above 90%
- Greatly reduce the benefit of negative campaigning
- Give 3rd parties a voice in DC
- Reduce partisanship
- Produce near proportional minority representation
I know if sounds like a huge wish list, but this is the power of Game Theory. The win goes 100% to John Nash aka “A Beautiful Mind” Nash, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, and Alastair Smith. I just happened to read their work and have applied it to the problem of politics. The win though is theirs…
- Have not one, but three House of Representatives and Senates.
- The top vote earner would go to DC (richest US metro)
- Second top earner would go to a legislative body stood up in the poorest Metro in the US (moves every decade or so)
- Third top earner would attend an online legislative body
- This would come into effect on a district by district basis once the incumbent for a given position is defeated.
- The incumbent would keep their previous salary for as long as they serve in any of the three legislative bodies.
- These last two points will make voting for this a no lose proposal for current lawmakers while giving them a benefit. It is a must.
How this would help:
- The risk of losing an election wouldn’t be so severe as an incumbent in the DC House or Senate is quite unlikely to slip to fourth place without a major scandal.
- Therefore the need of money is reduced as coming in 2nd place isn’t that bad.
- Gerrymandering won’t matter as far more people in each district have someone they voted for in congress.
- Minor parties will finally have representation.
- Minorities will also likely gain nearly proportional representation.
- When people feel that the culture that they reside in is against them, there is a tendency to block vote.
- This block voting tendency will virtually guarantee that in a district with more than 10% of the population being of one minority group, that one of the representatives will be from that minority group.
- Have the vote of a congress person split by the total number of votes they received divided by total number of eligible voters.
- Bills would still need over 50% of the total representatives of all three houses, votes to pass.
- 60% for the Senate (no change)
- Lets look at an example imaginary district to help explain this. The district has:
- 100,000 eligible voters
- 80,000 registered voters
- 40,000 citizens voted
- Candidate 1 earned 18,000 votes
- Candidate 2 earned 16,000 votes
- Candidate 3 earned 5,000 votes
- 97.5% of the voters have a politician they voted for representing them
- Candidate 1 has 18k/100k of a vote in congress
- Candidate 2 has 16k/100k of a vote in congress
- Candidate 3 has 5k/100k of a vote in congress
How this would help:
- The easiest way for a politician to increase their power is to increase voter turnout rather than discourage people from voting for their opponent.
- This fundamentally changes politics. The incentive isn’t to cost your opponents votes, but rather to garner votes yourself.
- Fix the pay of the top vote earners to 3x the median household income.
- For the second top vote earner, go with 2.5x.
- They still need a secondary residence, but it is in the poorest metro, so their disposable income would be similar.
- For the third top vote earner, go with 2x as they won’t need an additional residence.
How this will help:
- In 2018 the median US household income was $61,937.
- a 3x multiplier will results in a small raise from $174,000 to $185,811
- 2.5x – $154,842
- 2x – $123,874
- This ensures that a politician’s financial well being is tied to that of the financial well being of the most common household. If they want a raise, all they have to do is give us a raise. Sounds fair.
- Allow every representative to submit one bill per year without going through committee.
- If the bill gains at least 33% of the total votes from the top three parties, the representative gets an additional bill which can bypass committee.
How this will help:
- Junior representatives need wins to show their voters the work they have been doing.
- The common sense legislation is getting placed behind ideological bills which will never get passed.
- This will allow representatives to either show their ideological purity or pass several useful pieces of legislation.
- In addition to writing and voting on bills.
- Have the DC based legislatures focus on investigations and appointments.
- Have the second legislative body focus on constituent services.
- Have the third body focus on bills which didn’t go through committees.
How this will help:
- The DC based body can focus more closely on maintaining a balance of power with the executive branch and ensure that their laws are fully implemented as written.
- The second top vote earning politicians will be serving those primarily with an opposing political viewpoint. This will slowly help heal the political divide.
- The third body will get to vet a menagerie of ideas via a floor vote
- These are the bills which didn’t go through committee.
- If the third body approves them, they will get a floor vote via the secondary without going to committee.
- If the secondary body approves them, they get a floor vote on the primary body.
- This body is the minority body be it political, racial, religious, ethnic… Passing this body will ensure that a bill has all of these communities best interests at heart.
For those of you which have reached the bottom, this will take a constitutional amendment. I know, my daughter makes the same face…
To make this passable, I would grandfather in incumbents’ districts so that the proposal wouldn’t hurt those who would have to vote for it. It would also provide some benefit to the incumbents by providing reducing the risk of them losing their job if they came in second during an election. With no cost and a measurable reward to those who would have to vote for it, the challenge wouldn’t be with me to get it passed, but with those who might try to prevent its passing.