Thursday, April 24, 2003

Calls For Electoral Reform Increase

All over the country, concerned citizens are calling for electoral reform in America. Even the mainstream media and major outlets are starting to pick up this theme. Every day I will link to a different article or case for reform, and toss in some analysis and rah rah stuff. Today I'm going to skip the analysis, and just give you the link - this one pretty much speaks for itself.

Let's start with the appalling lack of debate in Congress over the Bush administration's dramatic shift to the concept of pre-emptive warfare. That was preceded by the inadequate response to the Enron energy scandals, just the tip of an iceberg of ongoing deregulation and subsidies to corporate interests. Combined with the complete absence of African Americans and Latinos in the U.S. Senate, the stalling of women's representation in Congress, the muted response to the presidential election debacle in Florida, and the history of duplicitous, poll-driven campaigns where winning candidates change their spots right after the election, it's no surprise that government is dangerously adrift from the needs and desires of average Americans. The resulting cynicism and resignation contribute to the United States having the lowest voter participation among well-established democracies...

...when progressives link this reality to elections, it usually is through the lens of campaign finance reform, just as 15 years ago it was focused on voter registration. But at this point the failures of American democracy are so much greater and more fundamental. Reducing the impact of money on politics and increasing voters on the rolls are both critically important, but they are just two pieces of a much larger and desperately needed enterprise... energized democracy demands, at minimum, diverse representation, meaningful choices across the political spectrum, full participation before and after elections, robust public debate, efficient election administration, and accurate voting machines. Voters must hear from a range of candidates, have a reasonable chance of electing their preferred representatives instead of the "lesser of two evils," and feel that they are electing a responsive government that makes a positive difference in their lives.