Class Warfare Blog

August 7, 2013

The System’s Broke. Is This a Fix?

A fellow blogger ( commented that as a liberal Democrat, he looked forward to his annual survey from the Republican National Committee(!) on what Republicans like him thought. I responded that these are bogus surveys. They really don’t care what your opinion is. I would be shocked if they actually processed those forms. What they are looking for is whether or not you returned the form, period. If you do, then you are an “active” Republican and they can hit you up for money, send other pieces of propaganda, etc. The DNC does the same thing. And since he responded (albeit scathingly) to the previous survey, he will keep getting them.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if there were accurate polls of what people in each Congressional District wanted and then at election time, we judged incumbents by how “on task” they were? Whether they effected any of the things we wanted and whether they dithered away what little time they spent on meaningless votes over unpassable legislation? This would be a scorecard for incumbents and an agenda for challenger’s promises, e.g. “The incumbent has done nothing about Climate Change. If elected I will work with my fellows of all political stripes to get . . . blah, blah, blah.”

This would focus their attention on doing our business because they wouldn’t get elected otherwise.

The other thing needed, and I have opposed this for years, is the public funding of elections. I used to think this was a really bad idea and I was wrong. The average estimate of a Congressman’s time spent fundraising is about two-thirds of their time in the Capital. In other words they spend two thirds of their time identifying people whose interests supersede yours. It is psychologically impossible to not feel indebted to someone giving you a gift. The same is true for our elected officials. And the people who give the biggest “gifts” (campaign contributions) earn the greatest indebtedness. Is this not obvious to one and all?

So, public funding of elections, full disclosure of political monies being spent outside the campaign, and independent accurate surveys of the business the public wants to get done (in the purview of the office; we can’t expect dogcatchers to effect social legislation) to establish a people’s agenda.

Yes, this system can be manipulated. Yes, candidates can claim the survey does not accurate reflect the wishes of his/her constituents (“Why I talked to a constituent just yesterday, who told me blah, blah, blah.” ). But at least the discussion would be about our agenda and not that of the monied interests. If they wanted us to give a flying fuck about the Keystone pipeline they would have to educate us about that and then lies, misinformation, and so forth would be out in the open (a pipeline being a long-term job creator is a joke and any pipeline construction history would show that, for example).

S’worth a try, cause what we have now is a mess, loaded in favor of the monied interests, aka the 1%.



  1. I suspect too that what congress critters to divine about their constituents is then passed on to their money-handlers who will devise model legislation through their ALEC connections that will make the system even more dysfunctional for voters while protecting corporate special interests.


    Comment by lbwoodgate — August 11, 2013 @ 5:01 pm | Reply

    • Me, too. Remember when corporations were good citizens. That was before the fiction that corporations only serve to crate sghareholder value became dogma.


      Comment by stephenpruis — August 11, 2013 @ 8:33 pm | Reply

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