Who is on the right track (and I hope will form the base of this coalition!)
I am no extremist, revolutionary, or radical free thinker. These ideas are simple, rational, and common-place. Many people, most a good deal older and wiser than I, have been making the same arguments for years. Most Americans I talk to agree that two massive parties is not working. Countless advocacy groups and think-tanks have been trying to facilitate greater democracy and freedom for years.
- FairVote.org has been advocating the use of Instant Run-Off Voting, Proportional Representation, and other effective forms of voting, and educating citizens about their use. Find more information about other forms of voting, how easy they are, and how they will increase your voice in government, at their site.
- ProtectOurElections.org is a group trying to maintain fair ballot access and the use of paper ballots. Without a paper trail and proper documentation of your vote, how can you measure its value? Not to mention the numerous examples of problems associated with electronic voting machines and the companies who are contracted by the government to make them.
- Democracy21.org is focusing on the problem of money in our politics. The Supreme Court said in “Citizens United” that “individuals and corporations giving money to politicians does not lead to corruption or the image of corruption,” but I think common sense pretty well refutes that.
- StrongerDemocracy.org has a similar concept to mine, and has formed a coalition of prominent democracy and freedom advocacy groups including: Deliberative Democracy Consortium, The Democracy Imperative, International Association for Public Participation, Justice at Stake, Liberty Coalition, National Freedom of Information Coalition, OpentheGovernment.org, and more! Many of these are coalitions of even more advocates for democracy! I contend simply that they should focus their efforts of the coming election on running candidates for change, and fostering cooperation with as many more organizations as possible.
- Robert Steele made a very concise and eloquent appeal to the Occupy Movement last year with a very similar proposition, to focus their gaining momentum and civic power toward the singular goal of electoral reform. He gained little traction in uniting the vast but fragmented group, but got the conversation started. It has continued on www.bigtub.com, and his proposal has been edited and reworked by the community since then.
- AmericansElect.org made the bold move of trying to bypass the party system , holding an online primary for presidential nominees. The movement gained lots of support but lost steam, and some candidates from Americans Elect are running on other third party tickets.
- An activist conference called “Take back the American Dream,” led by Van Johnson, is focusing on building jobs from the bottom-up, instead of from the top-down. Most economists and small business owners (and architects) will agree: building from the bottom makes more sense. They are meeting June 18-20 (when I’m posting this, I hope everyone there has time to take a look and discuss!)
- Another activist network meeting from June 20-22 will be held by Netroots Nation, bringing grassroots organizations together.
- FreedomWorks.org helps everyone connect and coordinate, keep in contact and call their representatives. The site works great for connecting Tea Party and other protest groups.
- MoveOn.org and SignOn.org, ThePetitionSite.com, and other petition sites do a great job of consolidating a consensus of opinion, then presenting that to legislators. It has proven an effective method of pressure, especially in conjunction with direct contact from individuals to back it up.
- The National Initiative for Democracy (vote.org), led by former US Senator Mike Gavel, would empower all citizens to check and balance representatives, similar to ballot initiatives in 24 States, but at all levels from local to national and with major improvements. You can register, add your vote to his petition, and when he has enough petition signatures (he will not reveal anyone’s vote until he has enough) he will present the demands of his registered voters to the US Government.
- CivilRights.org is a coalition of lots of great members, an advocate and tireless worker for civil rights and voting rights.
- And of course, all third parties have always known that the two party system is a sham. They are agreed with consistently by large percentages of Americans, yet cannot gain traction because of the winner-take-all electoral system. It is easy to argue that the Libertarian, Constitution, and Liberty and Freedom Parties are the most rational conservatives, and the Green, Workers, and Reform Parties are the most rational liberals. There are plenty of parties already ranging from far right to far left, and many single issue parties. One is doubtlessly more in-line with your values than the Duopoly Parties.
Obviously, all these people are working very hard for good causes. I will gladly help one of these groups in their endeavors, but I believe the most important thing is to unify all groups motivated for change and greater representation and focus efforts unilaterally on the most accessible, root level of all our problems: The Two-Party System.