Readers: The entries in this blog are built around the assumption there will be a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.
Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US. Entry #400 was the most recent “sense check.”
ENTRY #408 BEGINS: Entry #407 suggested Democrats should work with principled Republicans to form a new political party. #407 also noted this entry would present ideas to help form such a party.
Maybe the best way to start is to refer to an old adage, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” For this discussion, let’s label principled Republicans as “enemies.”
However, the real enemies to the US democracy are not principled Republicans but the far-right Republican fringe groups. These groups have demonstrated a number of times, the most recent of which was the 01/06/2021 attack on the US Capitol, they do not support democratic elections, but support violence and/or threats of violence to ensure far-right ideas are implemented.
How do Democrats help principled Republicans form a new party? For certain one needs to “think outside the box.” One needs to put away the notion that politics must be a zero-sum game.
The vast majority the US population wants government to function. The recent Covid relief legislation is an excellent example. According to a Pew Research poll, 70% of the US population supported the bill, including ~40% of Republicans.
Despite widespread support among constituents, did any, even one, Republican vote for the relief bill? No, nada, none. Why? For many House members, apparently it was fear of losing the next primary to a far-right candidate.
But what was the excuse for voting “no” among moderate Republican Senators, especially those elected in late 2020 to six-year terms? Senators are elected by everyone in the state, not just voters from smaller districts. So, why not vote for the Covid relief bill?
Many of those same Senators who voted “no” to help the America people with the Covid relief bill, voted “yes” to confirm Merrick Garland as US Attorney General. In fact, 20 Republicans supported Garland’s confirmation, including none other than Mr. Hypocrisy himself, Mitch McConnell.
Why the disconnect in voting between the Covid relief bill and the Garland nomination? Put aside the idea of Covid relief bill was too expensive. The same group of Republican Senators voted to support the Trump tax cut which was far more expensive. If you have a reasonable answer for the illogical behavior by these Republicans, please let me know because it makes no sense to me.
Since Republicans, or seemingly principled Republicans, don’t have a home and keep wandering about aimlessly, Democrats need to help them. Far-right Republicans despise those Republicans with principles and want to get rid of any moderates.
What can Democrats do to help these aimless principled Republicans? Following are proposals intended to: (i) provide some cover for these pour souls and (ii) make democracy function more in line with people’s needs. The ideas are not to suggest that the will of the majority should always prevail. Such an approach is contrary to basic tenets of the US Constitution.
The proposals are geared to allow candidates with different views to be elected and to diminish the influence of groups whose interests seem contrary to the best interest of the country. Yes, I understand the definition of “best interests” can be murky and can change over time but reasonable people can agree on many proposed actions. The proposals listed should also be considered as “work in progress,” since some tweaks are likely needed.
#1. Create a legitimate umbrella party for independents, moderate Republicans and even some moderate Democrats. The umbrella could be called the “Independent Party.” The action to create the umbrella party would include a federal mandate requiring all states to allow candidates to register as members of the Independent Party.
#2. Primaries would consist of a single ballot that includes all candidates from the various parties. The candidate’s political party affiliation would be designated on the ballot.
#3. Primaries would allow voters to select at least two, and possibly three candidates. The three candidates with the most votes, regardless of party affiliation, would be on the ballot for the general election.
#4. Early voting and mail-in voting would be expanded. Online voting would be tested and implemented as quickly as possible after security concerns are addressed by a third party.
#5. House and Senate rules would allow Independent Party members to become leaders of each body. The Independent Party would be considered separate, but equal to the Republican and Democratic Parties.
#6. The Federal oversight provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would be reinstated fully to help ensure fair voting procedures in all states.
#7. Even without the Independent Party, Democrats would work with principled Republicans to develop legislation that both could support. In addition, Democrats would let principled Republicans take the lead on shepherding some legislation through Congress and take credit publically for initiating many of the proposals.
#8. The US Attorney General, as Merrick Garland stated within hours of taking office, would ensure to the extent possible that all prosecutions are based on facts and blind to party affiliation. To the extent possible evidence in high-profile cases would be made public, with the purpose of reducing doubt about the legitimacy of the case.
#9. USAG would encourage the Attorney General in each state to take the same approach to evidence-based prosecution as done by the DOJ.
#10. Democrats and principal Republicans should agree to approve only moderate nominees for the Supreme Court. In addition, the vote for any Supreme Court nominee should return to previous requirement of 60 votes in the Senate.
In less than two months in office, the Biden Administration seems to have made considerable progress in beginning to restore some confidence in the Federal government. These proposals are designed to help build on those early steps.
Will these changes work? I don’t know. But, for sure we need to do something. More to come.
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