The Renew Democracy Amendment
1. The right of the individual qualified citizen voter to participate in and directly elect all officeholders by popular vote in all pertinent local, state, and federal elections shall not be denied or abridged and the right to vote is limited to individuals.
Our goal is to renew American democracy by creating a political climate and national will to promulgate a constitutional amendment ensuring the primacy of the individual voter in the American political process.
Area of Focus
Help make the Voter matter, Support the Renew Democracy Amendment!
Recent Gallup polls indicate that a scant 14% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing as a whole. Coupled with the recent downgrade of our nation’s financial status caused by the legislative failure of the debt limit crisis, it easy to find an overwhelming number of Americans who feel our political system is broken. We feel we have no recourse and are powerless to ensure our political system works for our behalf and for the long-term benefit of the nation.
Our political system resembles a game of street basketball with no referee, each team trying to foul and steal the ball and score only at their own goal with little regard for the rules of the game and no regard for their opponent. All that each player is concerned about is victory for their team and personal glory. This type of fractious and divisive leadership is not capable of moving our country forward at the pace Americans deserve. It's easy to define the problem with American politics, but it's much harder to determine why this divisiveness and failure of governance is the case.
There can be no doubt that our political party system causes distortions in a representational democracy. The prevalence of party line votes is the obvious objective proof that party concerns override the individual representatives concerns of reflecting the wishes of their constituency. Absent the party system one would expect that there be far more crossover voting and commonality of interests as our representatives reflect the mixture of policy desires of their particular constituency. Given the prevalence of party line voting, it can be seen that the party structure and the power it wields over its members causes a distortion in the representational democratic process.
There is another extraordinarily significant set of political actors that come directly between the American voter and their representatives. These special interest groups, political action committees, labor interest groups, corporate interest groups, media organizations, large bundled and individual campaign donors all receive undue influence with the representatives of the voters. Most Americans would agree that campaign money does buy influence. Special interest gridlock is there for everyone to see every day Congress is in session. All one has to do is observe the contortions created by offsetting and contradictory special interest group demands. This badly distorts our democracy as our representatives become increasingly responsive to large donors and less concerned of the desires of their constituency.
For our political system to evolve to one that allows America to remain competitive and prosperous we must have a system instead that resembles a relay track race with all of the political leaders able to clearly observe and broadly agree on the goals and aspirations and requirements from government of the plurality of American citizens. Each politician and political party then competing to speed along the mutual goal of improving the common good. The American voter sets the track and chooses the participants who compete to see who can achieve the clearly defined national goals the fastest.
Between the influence of the monolithic political parties and moneyed special interest groups, the wishes of the voter receive short shrift from their representatives today. But what can be done? Just like in the street basketball game, many Americans have picked a team and are only interested in changes that help their team to "win". It's hard for all of us to envision a change that truly levels the playing field and allows for political decisions based on the strength of the popular support for their policy ideas alone. Many of us who are involved in politics can't see past our ideological blinders and think that if we just could stop the other side from their taking unfair advantage of the process; America's problems would be solved. Whether you think the best policy ideas come from Karl Rove or George Soros, the RNC or the DNC, if you can discard the blinders you are left with the fact that in a democracy the best, most enduring policy ideas must come from the popular support of the voters.
Groups and organizations of any kind that aggregate economic power and use it to buy influence in the political process distort democracy in ways that can no longer be tolerated by the American voter. Politicians and policy that attract popular support based on the strength of their ideas form the relay team that has in the past, and will the future, move the American common good and prosperity forward. If you belong to a group that feels their position and policy prescriptions are so weak that you must buy the political process to ensure your preeminence, then beware the trash bin of history.
Renew Democracy is particularly interested in posting your comments or essays on the issues involved and action steps to promote the RDA. Please submit those comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. As building a sustained effort toward a constitutional amendment requires support from the full cross-section of the American political spectrum, it is the policy to reject comments that are derogatory or assign blame to particular individuals or groups. Please focus on current and future progress as there is plenty of past blame to go around!