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|Marin, Sonoma County, CA||November 7, 2006 Election|
Reforming Our Political Process
By Cat WoodsCandidate for Member of the State Assembly; District 6
This information is provided by the candidate
The control of this country by corporations and the elites who run them is enabled by 1. an unrepresentative electoral system, and 2. citizens who support corrupt institutions with their votes.In this country, we have what is called "a two-party system." It means that only two parties are given any serious consideration -- that two parties have built machines so powerful that anyone who does not run within their institutions is considered to "not have a chance."
This two-party system is held in place by two things.
THE UNREPRESENTATIVE ELECTORAL SYSTEM
The first is our antiquated plurality electoral system. The plurality system means that whoever gets the most votes wins. It is NOT majority rule. A majority means more than half. In a plurality system, it is not guaranteed that the winner will have majority support. The vote can be split and someone can win without majority support. This is what happened when George Bush won the presidency in 2000. Whether or not there was cheating in Florida, Bush won without getting a majority. In 1992, Bill Clinton also won the presidency without getting a majority.
Now please note: this is a flaw of the voting system, not of the voters. It is unfair and undemocratic for people to turn around and blame others for "spoiling" elections by voting for their preferred candidate. A good voting system does a much better job of reflecting the will of the voters than allowing votes for a first-choice candidate to help elect a voter's least favorite candidate.
Better voting systems solve the "the spoiler" problem with ranked voting, where voters rank candidates in numerical order. If your first choice candidate is eliminated, your vote goes to your second choice candidate instead of helping your last choice candidate. "Instant runoff voting," as it's called, has been used in Australia and Ireland for many decades, and was used in San Francisco in the 2004 election without a hitch. In single-seat elections, ranked voting ensures that a winner has majority support.
In multiple seat elections, ranked voting offers proportional representation. This means that if a certain perspective or value (say, peace or fair taxation or environmental protection) wins 20% of the vote, its candidates get 20% of the seats.
Fair representation and majority rule: these form the essence of real democracy.
Real democracy is what I am promoting in my campaign. I maintain that, until the system is changed to better reflect the will of the voters, your participation in the electoral process is being twisted, and your values are being ignored. This is the first thing we need to change about our government + in order to implement the rest of our shared values.
The second thing that holds the two-party system in place is so-called "lesser evilism." Lesser evilism is a misnomer. It assumes that the institution of the Democratic Party is less evil than the institution of the Republican Party. That's not true. Both of these parties are funded and controlled by corporations and the elite who run them. Both of the parties; the exact same elite. This is where political literacy comes in. Historical literacy.
The Democrats first fought the Republicans by fighting a bloody, violent war in defense of slavery. The Democrats resisted women getting the right to vote longer than the Republicans. Democrats have repeatedly run as "peace" candidates only to involve us in bloody, violent wars. It was the Clinton administration which gutted welfare, passed NAFTA to gut environmental and labor rights legislation worldwide, and bombed Iraq for 8 solid years. The Democrats helped give Bush the right to invade Iraq and helped pass the Patriot Act multiple times. They refused to filibuster to oppose right-wing Supreme Court nominees. Diane Feinstein and Hillary Clinton have long been banging the drum for another war with Iran.
The history of the two parties has been like this for many decades. 2004 stood out for one thing: as Peter Camejo has pointed out, it was the first time that people voted for a candidate because they HOPED he was lying. John Kerry didn't even pretend to be anti-war, but the entire anti-war movement stopped in its tracks to campaign and vote for him.
The Democratic and Republican parties serve the same agenda and the same corporate masters + people whose wealth puts them in the stratosphere compared to you and everyone you know. They do not serve you. Yet you serve them every time you vote for their candidates. The media tells you to vote for this person or that person, because everyone else will. Then everyone heads out and obeys the self-fulfilling prophesy. You don't have to obey. You don't have to betray yourself and your values year after year.
You've heard the expression, "Fool me once shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." So what do you say when a whole nation is fooled, like clockwork, every election year since its founding? Shame on US? Or: "Time to wake up!" Time to stop giving votes to the very institutions which are destroying the life on Earth. Time to start voting to change the system to one which empowers your true values of peace, civil liberties, and responsible corporate citizenship.
Position Paper 2
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