“She said “there is no reason”
And the truth is plain to see.” — Keith Reid
I’ve spent the last few posts complaining about campaign ads. It occurred to me that simply complaining is a more or less empty gesture. Besides, at least some of my readers are not Texas residents, so complaining about Texas campaign ads likely falls on deaf ears. So, I thought I would offer three suggestions to improve the public discourse.
All 50 states, D.C, and Puerto Rico have the same election rules
This would require a law from Congress. There are three parts to this law, but the first one involves voting rules. This one is pretty simple. If you want voters to have ID, then it should be the same throughout the country. If you want the polls open 24 hours then it should be that way everywhere. If you want drop boxes then it should be the same and mandated with a certain number per one million voters.
If you want early voting then it should have the same rules and times everywhere. Congress has the right to regulate elections where a national office is involved. That involves the presidency, Senate, and House of Representatives. If you are electing city officials, school board races, or dog catchers in odd numbered years then follow whatever rules you like. If my family were to move across the country I should know what the rules are because they would be the same everywhere.
Congressional Districts are Drawn by Computer
This sounds simple, but it would be revolutionary. If you go back to my complaint in the last piece it would be how easy it is to tie candidates to the most extreme members of their party. One of the reasons why these extremists are there is because the Congressional districts are drawn by the state party in power. Louie Gohmert was never going to lose in East Texas despite how stupid he was.
Sheila Jackson Lee is never going to lose in urban Houston either. When a member doesn’t have to worry about reelection then they will never appeal to their voters. They can continue throwing bombs and acting like a fool. Studies have found that less than ten percent of districts are truly competitive. When you go to the fringes of each party you get more performance artists and fewer serious adults. Different research models have predicted that a neutral drawing of districts would result in more than 50 percent being competitive. When you are forced to campaign to the middle you will find different candidates rising to the top.
All General Elections are Publicly Funded
We aren’t eliminating dark money, the Koch brothers, or George Soros. We are simply saying they can only influence the primaries. If you want to use foreign money, drug money, or money from terrorist groups like the NRA to get out of your primary then go right ahead. The rules then change for the general election.
This allows for two things. First, it puts everyone on an even playing field which makes for fairer elections. Second, it means that a public commission gets to approve all ads. So, hit pieces on your opponent will be a thing of the past. You can run ads about your record, your plans, or your life story. If you want to throw mud around then your ad doesn’t get approved. Period. We are the federal election commission and we approve this ad.