Leftists have always fought an uphill battle against the oppression of a system built by and for the bourgeoisie. The system has to be radically changed to fit the needs of everybody. This can happen in one of two ways: violent revolution and electoral reform.
In the United States, it’s pretty much impossible to stage a successful violent uprising. We aren’t a third world nation after all. Most people are complacent enough to not risk the death of themselves, or friends and family.
Because of this, we have to change the system, using the system. While it was founded by rich, landowning, white men, it still remains exploitable.
If we want to rebuild the system to benefit the most people, we cannot just pass certain legislation to ease the suffering of a few of us at a time. We have to change the way our government is run at its most basic level: elections. Only after we’ve established a true democracy can we create something that lasts.
“Thinking men of all classes begin to see that a new line must be struck out, and that this line can only be in the direction of democracy.”
– Friedrich Engels
Abolition of the Electoral College
Most people seem to find it weird that an election can be won without winning the popular vote. Most people have this idea that 1 person should equal 1 vote, and no vote should be worth more than any other. In any other situation of decision making, it would be unacceptable for a fewer people to make a decision that affects the lives of everybody (except business, I guess). It only seems fair.
The electoral college doesn’t care about fairness, though. When the founding fathers were building the foundation for a new, sovereign nation, they had to deal with all 13 colonies. Some colonies had fewer populations than the rest. The politicians of those smaller colonies didn’t really want to give up that much power just because there are less people in their state.
Thus, one of the reasons for the existence of the Electoral College is so that our nation exists. Without the support of all 13 colonies and their leaders, a cohesive union could never be formed. In this sense, it was only logical that certain compromises were made for the integrity of the Union. That was over 200 years ago, though. Now it’s safe to say that any sovereignty felt by individual states is long-gone and none are going to leave.
Here are some great videos detailing the former benefits and current problems with the Electoral College:
With this system in place, it’s no wonder that certain demographics of people’s votes count less than others. Specifically, non-whites. The requirement of half of the electoral votes also denies the possibility of anything but a two-party system (mathematically, nobody can win when there’s three major candidates all taking similar amounts of votes).
It is well past time we do away with the Electoral College and replace it with something that treats every vote equally, no matter where you live.
Publicly Funded Elections
It’s no secret that politicians have been bought and paid for by the rich. I’m pretty sure that nearly every single comedian in the past 50 years has made some sort of joke about it.
The largest form of legal bribery in politics comes from campaign contributions. In which case, a few people are literally paying for certain politicians to win over others. Without contributions, politicians don’t get very far and lose. Campaigns cannot afford fliers, buttons, shirts, posters, bumper stickers, or radio and TV ads without money.
Money = Exposure
Exposure = Votes
This creates an environment where the rich ultimately rights against itself. Some support one major candidate and others support the other candidate. None supports third parties. It’s an investment for a person to help a politician win an election and returns come back in the form of legislation that favours their other investments.
The best way to get rid of this system is to abolish private individuals and businesses from contributing to campaigns. The replacement then, would be to raise funds through taxes and pay each campaign equally. Doing so would allow campaigns to win or lose on their merits, not their wallets.
Automatic Voter Registration
Everyone should be voting. There’s no other reason to limit the amount of people able to vote than if a party is not supported by the majority of people. In which case, the less people voting, means the more likely that party is to win. This is inherently undemocratic and shouldn’t be happening.
To fix this, people must be automatically registered as they turn 18. Men (and soon women) have to sign up for selective service. Why not this, but for voting?
It would make sense that when more people vote, the left wins. People vote for their own interests, and most people are not rich. Make it mandatory to vote and impose a fine on anyone who does not vote. It is everyone’s civic duty, after all.
This, however, could be problematic if not paired up with:
National Election Holiday
A national holiday dedicated for United States elections is a pretty nifty idea. The biggest reason people don’t get out to vote is that they simply do not have time for it. People have busy lives and voting can sometimes be a pretty heavy inconvenience. This disproportionately affects the working class more than middle and upper class voters. Making a national election holiday will make sure that everybody has time to spare to get out and vote.
National Standards on Voting
A massive problem that would definitely arise if everyone got out to vote is that the nation couldn’t handle it in its current state. We’re already seeing ridiculously long lines and certain polling places running out of materials. This is why a national standard has to be created.
More money needs to be spent on the proper infrastructure needed to support the whole population voting.
The strangest of things in an election occur during the primaries where political parties decide their candidates. Some state primaries have very sketchy rules for voting in place (looking at you, Iowa). We could standardize the way political parties operate their primaries by revoking public funding for their party if they do not operate in a way that is sufficiently democratic.
Prisoners Right to Vote
One final note, I do believe that everyone has the right to vote. Prisoners are in a position where they are the most vulnerable to the government, and yet they have absolutely no say in what could potentially happen to them. (That’s not even mentioning the fact that it’s basically eliminating a large population of voters from people of colour.)
So let’s fight for their right to vote, and fight for everybody’s right to free and fair elections.