It’s impossible to avoid politics during a presidential election cycle. In my mind, this particular cycle is the most ‘interesting’ in my lifetime. The one good or bad, depending on my mood, thing I’ve learned is just how difficult is is for a popular non-insider candidate to clinch a party nomination due to the political mechanisms set in place today. Trump was able to beat out sixteen bona fide competitors and the GOP machine to win the nomination. It was a Herculean task, but he did it; though it wasn’t pretty or elegant at all. Bernie Sanders was unable to grapple with the DNC machine and lost out to Hillary—the ‘establishment’ candidate. It would take greater minds than mine to figure out how to fix the corrupt primary process we currently have in place, state-by-state. So I’ll just leave this topic behind.
There are a few political things, three specifically, that I’d like to see changed. I’ve thought about what I don’t like about American politics and these three items are what I perceive to be the biggest threat to our democracy today. Here is my short list of the things I want changed…
- Congressional term limits
- Election Day being declared a federal holiday
- Voter ID laws being enacted and enforced nationally
Let’s start with congressional term limits and why I think they’re important. The biggest reason I want term limits for both the senate and the house of representatives is because it will deter cronyism, corruption, and limit the ability of lifelong politicians from gaining too much power. There is absolutely no reason why a senator should be in office for 30+ years. Senators should serve no longer than two six-year terms and representatives should serve no longer than a relative amount of time. Unfortunately, our congress is self-serving and will never implement term limits. It will take a constitutional convention in order to enact this reform. It will require the individual states to propose an amendment by a national constitutional convention, which congress must convene if asked to do so by the legislatures of two-thirds of the states; this is called an Article V Convention. This has never been done before and probably will never happen.
The second item I’d like to see changed is having election day declared a civic holiday, where workers will be permitted to take time off from employment without loss of pay. There is absolutely no reason why people should rush around, wait in line, worry about childcare, and then vote. People are busy and one more civic holiday isn’t going to cause the collapse our financial system. The reason why election day isn’t a civic holiday is because more voters might turn out for elections and a greater turnout generally benefits challengers, and thus cuts against the interests of incumbents of both parties. Our self-serving congress doesn’t want any risk of losing power to upstart populist challengers.
The last item is probably the most controversial, voter ID. We should most certainly require proper forms of ID when voting. The biggest benefit of enacting voter ID laws would be to reduce instances of fraud. Politicians and those in power love to bring up the argument that voter ID laws will discriminate or disenfranchise minority and poor voters. The problem with that argument is that it doesn’t hold water. We are forced to have proper photo identification for a number of things as an American: buying alcohol and tobacco; opening a bank account; applying for food stamps, welfare, unemployment, medicaid, and social security; renting or buying a house; driving, buying, or renting a car; getting on an airplane; getting married; buying a gun; adopting a pet; renting a hotel room; applying for a hunting or fishing license; buying a cell phone; visiting a casino; picking up a prescription; donating blood; purchasing certain cold medicines; and buying an ‘M’ rated video game. Why we don’t require an ID to vote has everything to do with cheating the system and keeping the ineligible voting. This all goes back to congress and the powers-that-be not wanting any risk of losing their domination. It’s disgusting.
These are the three things I’d like to see changed in American politics.