Three Steps to Sustain Democracy
The following recommendations require a “one before the next” approach to maintaining democracy in the era of “Citizens United” summed up best by the bumper sticker that says, “I’ll consider a corporation to be a person when Texas executes one.”
National issues research is long term with a stopping point leading to 2020 (also the 100th year of the 19th Amendment). We are subject to the work conducted by large influential outfits such as Brookings or Heritage, tend not sit in silos of “news” offering what you want to hear as they righfully fear lies. Research recommends the following filter and review approach becoming involved. Identify sources to trust using these three issues followed by facts used, the debate tone, and political ideology (progressive/conservative) in that order:
- Financial Reform (It is all about the budget – start with the ACA
- Informed and Trusted Voter Resources
- Support for Referendums and Ballot Initiatives
The essential first step is the radical reform of campaign finance and political funding. The power of money in politics poisons everything. The Pollution Paradox is a good example to use. The dirtiest companies believe they will be regulated out of existence and spend the most on lobbyists, politics, and misinformation. The paradox means businesses that are the dirtiest (or maybe with the most short-term outlook) dominate our national/local) governance. Where is the check and balance essential to the democracy?The energy health and pharmaceutical industries and today’s glonal corporate establishment
Second, given significant steps toward financial reform, a focus on how to assure truth is given to voters should become the highest priority. Large institutions are available and designed to help people, but they struggle to reach those who are not already well informed. Research seeks to develop a robust short-list for your review. These are the top few:
- Center for Responsive Politics -(examines campaign finance and representatives)
- GovTrack – (find representatives and senators, get alerts on legislation that affects you)
- Ballotpedia – (baseline data on who, elections)
- Daily Action – Federal dollars and a script on almost every issue that crops up.
- Take Action NYC – Useful for participation in local events.
- The Open States – State government reps, committees, voting record, and campaign finance
- Countable – Federal legislative activities with upcoming votes with pros/cons
- Swing Left – Flip the House in 2018 with local technical assistance.
- See the Tweet-O-Rama list of “watchdog” and “thinktank” groups, neutral, left and right.
Pick one, review, write tags, make additional recommendations.
Third, with substantially completed efforts to support financial reform and identify trustworthy institutions, it is reasonable for local, state and congressional representatives to support the practice of referendums and ballot initiatives by citizens who do not want to wait for national action. In fact, national action, does not occur without substantial local initiatives. These measures allow citizens to gather signatures and demand a vote or enabling legislation. For example, in New York State:
Would the redistricting practices of the political party in power ever change without an independent office?
Would refusal of PAC funding occur without election finance reform?
Financial Reform: Health Care & the Budget Resolution
The Budget is the soft underbelly of the Republic Party, and an honest conservative like Rand Paul spells out why in this YouTube presentation. The national debate on the budget should be separate from the ACA, but not according to the Budget Committee.
On March 7th the Heritage Foundation’s Chief Research Fellow came out against the first congressional attempt at “replace.” It points out that low-income people still get a discount and while less than before, it leaves 25 million who do not get a discount and the likely hood of increased premiums and no offsetting subsidies. The solution implied is the impoverishment of people who are least likely to afford a health emergency are the most liable to have a one.
Sponsorship Analysis Yvette Clarke: Serving Jan 3, 2013 – Jan 3, 2021
The analysis of the bills Clarke has sponsored cosponsored provides insight into her position in the House of Representatives. There are rewards from the Speaker for “winning” that leads to sponsorships on more prestigious bills more likely to pass with one big IF. If that Speaker is the head of her party. In other words the three main issues listed above – finance reform, practices that inform voters, and support for local and state ballot initiatives are not treated with priority.
The chart below is a member of the House of Representatives. The dots are positioned horizontally according to GovTrack’s progressive—conservative ideology score and vertically according to our leadership score (leaders toward the top). Clarke is shown as a purple triangle. See the analysis methodology on this site it is very helpful.
Yvette Clarke sits on the following committees:
- House Committee on Energy and Commerce
- House Committee on Ethics
- House Committee on Small Business
Descriptions of these committees will be found HERE