Ideas and Opinions

This is a place to enter information that doesn't fit well into the other Issues categories.  What direction should the Democratic party take in the future.  A comparison of Progressives and Socialists.  What sort of programs should we consider for the future.  Practically anything that comes to your mind that you think would interest fellow Democrats.


Here is a film clip from "Newsroom" now called the Greatest Three Minutes on TV.  We recently watched the show on Prime.  I was especially affected by the last, wrap up episode which featured this clip.

Lee LeFaivre


Policies to Consider

The following is a series of ideas that have been on my mind for some time.  They all favor logic over politics, which we all know is close to an oxymoron.

License for Politicians?
Do you ever wonder why we don't license politicians?  Lawyers, doctors, real estate agents, even the technicians in a nail salon all have to have a license yet the people we entrust with running our country, our lives, get no consideration.  It's hard to think about just what a test for a license would include.

Some level of knowledge?  Would President Trump qualify with his limited understanding of history and international relations?

Background - we seem to elect people and then figure out that they have a shady past.  Extramarital affairs, criminal activity, etc. are discovered while they are in office.  Could part of acquiring a license be an investigation that would uncover shady past before the election?  The voters could decide if they really want to elect a crook.

Psychological makeup - might be hard to evaluate but a through background check would uncover things like a tendency to lie, discriminatory behavior, and other traits not consistent with a person in power.

There could be different levels - one for local and state politicians, another for national level congress people, and the ultimate for those involved in international relations ie. the president.

National ID
We have the technology today to create an ID that is definitely tied to you.  Using your face, eyes, or fingerprints a person could show an ID and by being scanned anyone would know that you are really you.  It would eliminate all the voter fraud concerns immediately.  No more scams where one person tries to say that they are another.  There would be some cost but I think that the money saved would exceed the cost several times over.

Do We Still Need Cash?
We also have the technology to totally replace the need for cash.  Why?  The biggest reason is to recover taxes lost by but paying cash under the table.  How much crime depends on moving cash around?  How much does the country spend maintaining the cash supply?

A basic requirement would be that everyone has to have a bank account.  It would be a stretch for some poorer people but not insurmountable.  If every transaction was logged through an account, there would be a record of who you got money from and who you gave money to.

Is Our Jury System the Best?
Hove you noticed what we go through to select a jury of your peers?  If you are looking at a trial that may last more than a month, do you think that the resulting jury are your peers?  People who can take off work for a month?  Think how much work lawyers go to trying to seat a jury sympathetic to their client.  There is even a TV show based on a "jury consultant" who is hired to find biased jurors ahead of time.  Ever hear about requests to move the venue because the jury may be "tainted" by the pre-trial publicity?  How much time does the judge spend educating jurors about trial procedures and protocol?

An alternative would be to have a pool of "professional" jurors.  They would be carefully chosen for open minds and impartial attitudes.  They would be schooled in procedures and protocol.  They would be certified impartial - no need for lawyer challenges.  There should not be instances of "odd" jury behavior for example the single juror who refused to go along with the others on 8 counts of the recent Manafort indictment.

Eliminate Electoral College
There is no need to keep the antiquated procedure in place.  If we look at how it originated (in 1787) it was born out of the founding fathers distrust of the people to choose a president wisely.  Hamilton wrote "electors should be a small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass".

The biggest problem with the Electoral College is that it is incompatible with democracy.  There are today 538 electors - each state has the number of electors equal to the sum of its senators and representatives.  In addition, the District of Columbia is assigned 3 electors.

A little analysis will show that small states (ie Wyoming with 3 electors and a population 579,315) compared to California (55 electoral votes and a population of 39.5 million) have a discrepancy in the "worth" of an electoral vote.  One electoral vote in Wyoming represents 193,105 voters while one vote in California represents 718,818 voters - a vote in Wyoming is worth 3.72 times an electoral vote in California.

In the US today, states with only 23 percent of the country's population have enough electoral votes to choose the President.

Does this make any sense?  Changing the process would require a Constitutional Amendment which is not an easy process.  There is a move afoot to declare part of the Constitution unconstitutional.  The Constitution clearly states that we are a democracy based on 1 man 1 vote.  The electoral college doesn't even come close.

Is Voting a Privilege, a Right, or a Requirement?

We have so many arguments about voting, registering, who is eligible and who is not, and all of the supposed voting fraud - we should do something about it.  How about making voting a requirement?

To be sensible we would probably remove the voting laws from the states and control everything from a national database.  Voting would transition to an on-line exercise.  The federal government would be responsible for securing the whole process.  Individuals would log on with their federal ID (see above).  They would have a record in the national database. Once they voted, they couldn't vote again. No one could vote under someone else's name (again, unique ID tied physically to the individual - face, eyes, fingerprints).  No more narrow windows (Tues afternoon) for voting.  Once the ballots are settled (state and local elections would have to be uploaded to the federal base) you could vote at any time.  If, by the time we work this out, there are actually people without internet access, then the state could provide a number of locations with connectivity but they would be far simpler than today's problems choosing election hardware.

To encourage people not to ignore the "voting requirement" there should be some penalty for failing to vote.  Maybe $25 fine added to your taxes.

If you think about our situation today, fully 40% of eligible voters ignore their voting right.  How can we be a one man, one vote democracy if almost half the people don't vote?


Submitted by Lee LeFaivre


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