Third Party & Independents Archives

Campaign Finance On Steroids

A good article in today’s WaPo relating to campaign fiance. Contains quotes from millionaires like “you know, we just don’t count anymore” and from a large ex-donor, ” I just think it’s morally not right. It’s corrosive on our democracy.”

There is this growing feeling that the money influence needs to be reined in. Here is a repost of an old post that still has merit, IMO.

People are becoming more frustrated with their government as time passes. Most believe, as I do, that a third party, as we know it, is not seen as a viable solution. But, what about a party with a different political attitude? Here is an attempt to flesh out a radically different 3rd party.

Some would say government has grown too large to manage. Some would allude that cultural and ethical differences are too great. Some will espouse those, and similar excuses even as they realize the real outlier is too much money influence in government. Many retiring elected officials readily admit that the money influence is causing great problems within government.

The money influence comes primarily from owners/stakeholders of large corporations in their quest to influence government policy. A natural phenomena to which we would all engage if we had the wealth, IMO. Their influence is so strong as to give us government by Corpocracy, permeating every facet of government.

Therefore, the solution to most of our problems with government comes down to 'how to remove the money influence' from government. I can embrace two methods: one, using Article V Convention (AVC) as a means of reform and, two, fighting fire with fire by standing up a new third political party. Unfortunately, the path to AVC, a constitutional right being denied, is blocked by congress and the courts.

Thus, we are left with fighting fire with fire. But, I would be the last person to suggest we stand up just another 3rd party such as the third parties currently vying for public favor. A party capable of bringing reform must be able to address accountability for party leadership and those party members elected to government office. Also, such a party must be founded with rules in place to prevent the party from ever being co-opted by special interest/money influence.

In addressing accountability we would need rules that provide for rejecting elected officials from the party by membership vote. This party would install volunteer watchdogs in each state with the purpose of keeping their antenna up for ethical or performance violations relative to party rules.

Here are a few simple rules that would, when properly enforced, accomplish the above objectives. Prior to the founding of the party these rules would be subject to debate and modification. Post-founding the rules could only be changed by a 66% favorable vote by the membership to do so.

1. Members must sign s pledge affirming their support for the party agenda and rules set forth.

2. Members will cast their votes relating to party business via the Internet on the party's website(s).

3. To change, add, or delete a party rule requires a two-thirds approval by the membership, based on the total votes cast.

4. If 15% percent of members, local or national party as the case may be, submit a complaint against a party member a vote to clear or terminate must be held. All complaints must be posted, in a cumulative manner, on the Party's website within 8 hours of receipt. (This will be a pro-forma process).

5. Pursuant to Rule #4, a party member who holds an official Party position, or position of U.S. Senator, U.S. House of Representatives, Cabinet Head, Supreme Court Justice, Czar Appointee, Political Appointee, Ambassador, Vice President, and President, must enjoy an approval rating of two-thirds of the total votes cast by the national party membership. Otherwise, his/her party affiliation will be terminated with no further support for current or future political endeavors.

6. Pursuant to Rule #4, a party member elected to a State office must enjoy a two-thirds approval rating, based on the total votes cast by that States party membership. Otherwise, his/her party affiliation will be terminated with no further support for current or future political endeavors. Members serving in the position of U.S. Senator or U.S. House of Representatives are excluded as these positions are included under rule #5 covering the federal or national sector of government.

By invoking these few rules at the founding of the party we can stop, or severely limit the money influence in politics. Enforcing these rules will require a strong communications base, primarily using the Internet and SKYPE or similar media tools. Watchdog volunteers can monitor for infractions and a strong communications base will provide balance, a way for incumbents to defend their positions and get their message before the membership.

Having observed Convention USA trying to get its organization off the ground using the Internet for communications/debate, it is clear that it would take some time and won't be easy to accomplish.

The cost to manage/operate such a party could be held in check by using volunteer support where possible. By giving members an oversight function along with strong interaction between incumbents and members should work to the success and growth of the party.

As to how the party might function lets assume a Senator in the US congress from Kentucky receives a flurry of complaints to the website, alluding that the Senator has proposed legislation that is incongruent with the posted party agenda. Computers tally the pro-forma complaints and if 15% of the membership has complained then, at a later date, the senator will be subjected to a follow-on up/down vote. If the senator fails to garner 66% favorable vote he/she is rejected from the party. The senator can certainly serve out the remainder of his term, perhaps run again under another party, but will no receive support for any future political endeavor.

Note that a US senator of this party would be subject to vote by the national membership, whereas, a state senator would be subject to a vote by that state's membership. Rational is that a US senator has the authority to expend revenue collected on a national basis and is, thereby, accountable to voters nationwide.

In defending his/her action the Senator can take to the website airwaves, addressing the complaints at length through website media and may convince the membership that his/her proposal is the better approach, thereby, winning 2/3rds of the votes to his/her favor.

At founding the party agenda would include two primary objectives: one, to abolish corporate personhood law and, two, implement REAL campaign finance reform. (topics for another article). Certainly, the party would have to address all issues but these two would be primary and elected officials from this party would have to advocate for the accomplishment of the party agenda as posted or suffer the consequences of membership oversight.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve.

Posted by Roy Ellis at March 26, 2015 3:43 PM
Comment #390886

So Roy are you suggesting a Senator from say Colorado whose job is to represent the people of Colorado is subject to a national vote within the party and could be voted out of he party based upon the votes of people in the other states even if the people in Colorado agree to keep the Senator in the party by over two thirds of the state votes?

I don’t know if I would like to see my representative thrown out of the party based upon the say of the party members in other states.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 29, 2015 1:54 PM
Comment #391030

j2, I would agree if we this were say, 1790 - 1800 or thereabouts. At that time politics was pretty much local. In current elections where does the money come from to influence congressional elections? People from all over the world and party affiliates pool their resources to get ‘their guy’, your rep, elected irrespective of state residence.

US senators and reps from other states decide how to spend your tax dollars.

Let’s assume Menendez is guilty and his cronies in congress let him slide under the ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch your back’ clause. If he were a member in this new 3rd party the members might vote him out of the party if 66% of the majority vote goes against him. Why would you want to be stuck with a Menendez? I believe the majority is most always right?

Thru such a party the silent majority can work to reform gov’t, IMO. I can think of no other pathway to reform that hasn’t been securely blocked.

Otherwise, we have the corpocracy we deserve.

Posted by: roy ellis at April 5, 2015 6:48 PM
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