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What would you change about election cycles?

the_mother_thing

Ideal_Rock
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This election cycle has been so 'taxing' on voters resulting in many having a lack of faith in the candidates, the system, the government, etc. It got me thinking (while the caffeine washed over my brain this morning), what could help restore accountability to the process, make it more respectful, honest, transparent, ... palatable ... for American voters.

If we were conducting a post-project "Lessons Learned" exercise and our ideas were actually considered, what would you suggest as a hypothetical change to the system as a whole that you feel would help halt the nonsense. I don't want to get into which party/side did this or that to warrant an idea; that horse has already been so beaten to death.

My first thoughts (will add more as I continue thinking):

- I'd LOVE to see every candidate (primary AND general) take some sort of legally enforceable 'under penalty of perjury' promise/pledge to voters with regard to honesty in all statements made on the campaign trail - from start to finish - in rallies, debates, advertisements, communications, etc. If one is caught lying/cheating, immediate dismissal from the campaign, forfeiture of campaign funds, and appropriate perjury proceedings.

- All states' primary voting on the same day vs. spread out over months. It's sad when earlier-voting states' voters feel their vote is 'wasted' on a candidate who - by the near-end of the primary period - doesn't stand a chance or has dropped out.
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
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- Public funding, which would mean one doesn't have to have access to a big donor base to run, which would mean a diversity we have never seen in the types of candidates running. Ideally either public funding that is good enough so everyone uses it or mandatory.

- I agree with you about the lying - there is distorting of truth and "white lies" that everyone does and I'd consider unpreventable, but then there are big outright lies that are just... no. Doesn't matter which side it's on, if it's an outright lie I would love so that the system moved in a direction where that is disqualifying. (Obviously not for lies necessary for national security, covering classified information, etc, you know what I mean.)

- I also agree with you on the primary voting. This is a weird parties-controlling-the-nominations relic. I would also like to see no winner-take-all states, or the Republicans adding a superdelegate system, and no change to the current Democratic superdelegate system. I think getting rid of the party checks on who can be nominated is a bad idea (see: Trump). Part of the problem is that voters have short memories and don't pay very much attention, which can lead to very bad candidates, but parties have long memories and are watching everything like hawks, so the candidates have to at least be accountable to THEM.

- News media adjusting from "fair and balanced" meaning "give each side 50% of airtime no matter how credible" to "honest representation of actual consensus" meaning if 99.9% of scientists say one thing and there's a crazy guy off in the corner, don't give the crazy guy equal airtime and treat him as sane. The way the news is currently presented leads to a lot of extremism being given credibility when it shouldn't be, and viewers shouldn't have to do EXTRA WORK to figure that out - the news should present it that way from the start.
 

Rhea

Ideal_Rock
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Much shorter campaigning times. This has been going on for well over a year. According to the internet Hilary announced she was running on April 12, 2015 and Trump announced he was running June 15, 2015. That's a 1 year 7 months and 1 year 5 months respectively that they've been campaigning. I know each campaign and election is different but 19 months is too long...and if the next is the same, it means we only get 29 months break before the show starts again. That's too much time, money and resources spent on it for both the American people and the candidates.
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
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I honestly don't know about shorter campaigning cycles... shorter campaign cycles mean only candidates with great name recognition to start with will ever have a chance. If voters paid more attention to politics, or if we were a smaller country, I think that would be doable, but neither is the case. It would be nice but I don't think it's a viable option.
 

Rhea

Ideal_Rock
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Interesting. I don't mean 5 weeks like we have here. But I thought 6 months or so would give the candidates enough time to make their rounds, get their policies together, and focus on the topics. It's always seemed to me like the campaign is nearly as long as the actual term served and while that's just how it feels, it's approx 39.2% of the actual term she's trying to serve if you take Hilary as an example. I know I tune it out and become one of those who stops paying attention, though I think that's from over-exposure rather than needing more time myself.

I truly didn't realise that some people found the nearly 19 months campaign helpful!
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
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Rhea|1476889389|4088597 said:
Interesting. I don't mean 5 weeks like we have here. But I thought 6 months or so would give the candidates enough time to make their rounds, get their policies together, and focus on the topics. It's always seemed to me like the campaign is nearly as long as the actual term served and while that's just how it feels, it's approx 39.2% of the actual term she's trying to serve if you take Hilary as an example. I know I tune it out and become one of those who stops paying attention, though I think that's from over-exposure rather than needing more time myself.

I truly didn't realise that some people found the nearly 19 months campaign helpful!
The issue is that a lot of people tune out politics all of the time, but many of those still vote, so a constant barrage is needed to have any impact on their opinions, like with any kind of advertising. Kind of gross but that's how it is. If people decided by looking up the candidates records and stances on the issues and then voted based on that, little campaigning would be necessary, but that's not how most people decide. It's actually backwards of how most people decide - they decide based on positive/negative impressions of candidates, name recognition, "gut feeling," etc, and mostly bring their opinions on issues in line with whatever candidate they support. And changing the "gut feeling" support is more... subliminal/subconscious than a short campaign can manage. Especially since the persuadable voters (a small slice of the electorate, but what any competitive race hinges on) are the low-information voters (voters who know a lot tend to have strong and immovable party preferences already, and usually already strong candidate preferences in primaries). Short campaigns turn campaigning even more into a voter turnout game than it already is, while lessening the persuasive aspect.

So no one is consciously finding long campaigns helpful to deciding on their vote but they've evolved that way for a reason.

And most of this time is really the primaries - the general election has only really been going on for six months at this point, maybe - officially even fewer if you're going by the convention dates. Having primaries on the same day, shortly before the conventions, instead of staggered over months and months would compress the timeframe significantly, without having to impose any artificial limits on it.
 

kenny

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Every political office should be limited to one term.
Period.
It's not reasonable to expect officials to ignore their own reelection when making decisions during their first term.
Every decision would benefit the country, not themselves.

Funding ... no contributions allowed, from individuals, corporations, or organizations of any kind!
Period.
Taxes pay.
Each party gets the same amount to spend as they see fit.
I have no idea how we decide how many parties get funded.

All state primaries should be on the same day.
Also, the primaries and the election itself should be at the same time.
As it is now some voters on the west coast don't bother voting after seeing results from the eastern and central time zones.

No ID, no vote.
 

Rhea

Ideal_Rock
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That's really interesting. I hadn't considered America's short attention span and in your face attitude toward advertising. I watch the BBC (no adverts) and we're allowed very few adverts on roads, pavements and highways in comparison to what I've seen in the US. I'm sure I'm effected by them, but I have fairly few adverts in my life (none on TV or radio, I don't consume magazines, most of what I see are on the tube for banks, tech, holidays, books and events usually - or at least the ones I notice). We'll boil that one down to culture then!

I do agree about the truth mentioned earlier. We've discussed the lack of correction, fact checking and the impact that has on moderation during debates. My husband and father in law want Jeremy Paxman to moderate the next debate :roll:
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
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kenny|1476893952|4088621 said:
Every political office should be limited to one term.
Period.
It's not reasonable to expect officials to ignore their own reelection when making decisions during their first term.
Every decision would benefit the country, not themselves.

Funding ... no contributions allowed, from individuals, corporations, or organizations of any kind!
Period.
I have no idea how we decide who gets funded. ... Chicken and egg problem there.
Term limits are actually a terrible idea - especially if only one limit. First and second-term legislators rely on lobbyists for information on policy issues (and sometimes drafting of bills) far more than seasoned legislators. It also takes time to build relationships with other legislators and to learn how to legislate effectively - relationships with other legislators are very important for passing policies, especially passing them with bipartisan support. This shifts power for legislation from elected officials (and their constituencies) to lobbyists and others whom voters have no control over, and to some extent to the execute branch of government. Term limits would effectively decrease democracy, not only by shifting influence to the unelected but also by constraining who voters can vote for, ie you can't vote for your representative again even if you really like them and think they're doing a good job - even if 100% of the people would vote for him again. The last thing we need is decisions made by people we didn't vote for or by fewer people (ie the executive branch). Undemocratic.

Or as all my friends say: "We have term limits. They're called elections."

re: public funding, an obvious answer is for your party to have to hit a certain % limit in the previous election to get funded. I don't know what people propose to do with primaries as long as we have open primaries - I should go look up what people have proposed. But yeah. Public funding or individual funding with strict limits and no SuperPAC type things for sure. I think campaigns shouldn't even be able to accept contributions from corporations or other organizations - should be individuals only.
 

the_mother_thing

Ideal_Rock
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LOTS of great ideas shared here, many of which I wholeheartedly agree with! :appl: Especially Kenny's mention of voter ID; to me, this is and always has been SUCH a common sense no-brainer.

Another one I'd like to see - but may be difficult to enforce/implement - is that candidates' policy proposals include publicly-posted details not only on the pros/cons of the policy itself, but - in plain English - how they plan to pay for it using the current budget and WITHOUT increasing national debt (e.g., eliminate XZY program, increase taxes on ABC, etc.). It may be that the primaries have a slightly lower level of required detail that must be completed/provided when party's make their official nomination, or something like that. I do NOT trust the media to fairly investigate these claims for voters and report on them fairly.

ETA: strict criteria for when the debt ceiling is raised, and NOT just a threat of 'shutting down the gov't'.

And on political advertisements (and this is a stretch, I know) I'd like to see implementation of a household rule I instilled for my family: if you say something negative about someone, you need to also state 3 positive things about that person. That ought to put an end to the attack ads if they're paying to attack but thrice compliment their opponent. :D
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
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Also re: term limits - which would you rather: that your legislator focuses on pleasing their constituents (ie, running for reelection) or focuses on their future career in the private sector? Adding term limits doesn't suddenly make people into selfless actors.
 

the_mother_thing

Ideal_Rock
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distracts|1476896435|4088627 said:
JoCoJenn - offtopic but I love your avatar of your new ring!
Thank you! ;-)

On term limits, I agree there needs to be 'some' limit aside from just being re- or un-elected. It needs to be reasonable enough to allow for things to actually get done, which we all know is not always overnight, and requires time, research, relationship-building, etc. but not so long as to create 'career politicians'. Not specifically 'election' related, but perhaps limiting the "lifetime benefits" politicians receive might also help this, along with more stringent 'in-office' benefits, such as "live within the laws you pass for ALL citizens".

But I think limits are needed to allow for an influx of new and innovative ideas. Maybe limiting the time they have in office will help drive innovative ideas on how to get crap done more effectively & efficiently within their term.
 

ksinger

Ideal_Rock
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Right now, this thread is too surreal for words. :-o
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
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JoCoJenn|1476897577|4088634 said:
But I think limits are needed to allow for an influx of new and innovative ideas. Maybe limiting the time they have in office will help drive innovative ideas on how to get crap done more effectively & efficiently within their term.
The thing is, we actually have fairly high turnover in congress. Something like over 40% in the past decade in both the house and the senate. The average length of service in both the house and the senate is around ten years - yes, there are certainly many legislators who've served far longer, but on average people are cycling in and out in a reasonable amount of time. Between the 08 wave, the 10 wave, and the likely forthcoming 16 wave, there's plenty of fresh blood in any remotely competitive seat. What amount of turnover would you be satisfied with? Or is even one guy who has been in office fifty years too many, even if everyone in his district thinks he's doing a good job?
 

House Cat

Ideal_Rock
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I believe a two term limit for congress would be beneficial. Lobbyists have their hooks in them now. The reason why we should enact a two term limit is because otherwise we have congresspeople who are constantly campaigning and never getting anything done (like now!). Every move they make is in the interest of keeping their seat, not in the interest of the people.

I also think we should do away with congress' lifetime salary and let them draw on social security and take part in Medicare.

Redistricting done by a unbiased entity that would not creatively exclude certain voters to ensure certain outcomes again and agin.

I want Election Day to be a national holiday to make it easier for certain groups to vote.
 

SMC

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I like the idea of having primaries on the same day. I'd like all registered party voters to be required to vote in the primaries if they want to vote in the general election. I feel like too many people sat out during the primaries.
 

ksinger

Ideal_Rock
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House Cat|1476907047|4088687 said:
I believe a two term limit for congress would be beneficial. Lobbyists have their hooks in them now. The reason why we should enact a two term limit is because otherwise we have congresspeople who are constantly campaigning and never getting anything done (like now!). Every move they make is in the interest of keeping their seat, not in the interest of the people.

I also think we should do away with congress' lifetime salary and let them draw on social security and take part in Medicare.

Redistricting done by a unbiased entity that would not creatively exclude certain voters to ensure certain outcomes again and agin.

I want Election Day to be a national holiday to make it easier for certain groups to vote.
The problem with that, is too many people don't believe that you can even have an unbiased group. I personally disagree, but we act out of how we view the world. Suspicion of everyone from the president, to local politicians, to the guy next door, is the tenor of the day.

I read that Obama has already made non-partisan redistricting his post-election "thing". I'm willing to bet that almost everyone on the right will scream foul no matter how on the level it is. I hope it works though. Gerrymandering to the level of the last go-round, needs to stop.
 

kenny

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House Cat|1476907047|4088687 said:
I want Election Day to be a national holiday to make it easier for certain groups to vote.

+1

Of course the cons don't want those 'certain groups' to vote.
I say, the more votes we get (even from that other group, the deplorables :knockout: ) the stronger our democracy.

The more deplorables America has the more deplorable America should be.
 

Matata

Ideal_Rock
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I would love to see an end to political parties -- no dems, reps, libertarians, greens. No labels. Just one big melting pot of people who think they are qualified. Imagine the shift to our cognitive paradigm that would ensue.
 

kenny

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Matata|1476915324|4088747 said:
I would love to see an end to political parties -- no dems, reps, libertarians, greens. No labels. Just one big melting pot of people who think they are qualified. Imagine the shift to our cognitive paradigm that would ensue.
I like this. :clap:

I'd like to see and end to all countries.

One planet.
One people.
Sharing.
 

ame

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No campaign contributions will be allowed, from anyone. (My husband feels they should be government/state funded, as in, each candidate gets X amount of money, and that's all they can spend and whatever isn't spent gets returned to the government.) No advertising allowed--no radio or tv ads, no signage. You are only allowed rallies or debates or grassroots efforts.

All of your financial data must be publicly released the day you publicly announce your campaign. Taxes, etc. If you're not paying your fair share, the people have a right to see that from the start. Your platform/plans must be made public from the start as well. Don't screw around with this "I have big plans, great plans" and not actually have plans and logistics.

Voting day is made a national holiday, moved to the first MONDAY of the month instead of Tuesday so that you're not disrupting a work week if that's a big deal, and transportation will be provided to any and all who need it, or a mobile voting setup brought to them if they're housebound, complete with election officials from any involved party (assuming we can't abolish this stupid "party" system). Picture ID will be provided to everyone where it's required free of charge and if necessary the paperwork and materials brought TO THEIR HOME if need be to make sure it's not an issue for them to get it.

Any redistricting will be done by a non-partisan group to prevent any gerrymandering. (My husband thinks this should just be done in squares or rectangles and they don't get changed.)

Two term limits max and you must reside permanently in your district, fly your own stupid butt back and forth for sessions and rent a place there if you so choose, and prove that those things are paid for out of your own pocket and not the taxpayers' pockets, and your max pay will be minimum wage during your term, with social security and medicare as your benefit package. NO government pension, NO lifetime personal security unless you're elected President/Vice President. You're there to serve the people, not to make a friggin bankroll. Lobbying/receiving anything from a lobby is punishable by 10 years in prison per offense, with no commutation, mandatory minimum sentence, as it constitutes bribery.
 

ame

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kenny|1476915400|4088748 said:
Matata|1476915324|4088747 said:
I would love to see an end to political parties -- no dems, reps, libertarians, greens. No labels. Just one big melting pot of people who think they are qualified. Imagine the shift to our cognitive paradigm that would ensue.
I like this. :clap:

I'd like to see and end to all countries.

One planet.
One people.
Sharing.
:clap:
 
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