Working the US Political Process
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October 08, 2007, 12:46 AM
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I recently saw the news that Ron Paul had raised almost half as much as the current front runner, Rudy Giuliani in the 3rd quarter of 2007. Now, I see that as an interesting and important development. The market at is now giving Paul a 5-7% chance of getting the GOP nomination. That means he`s still a long shot-but he still at least has a chance.

Now, I question the degree to which what the rank and file want will matter in the GOP nomination process. Still, if Paul gives a prime time convention speech like Pat Buchanan did, that could be significant.

However, I think that folks here at need to be realistic that most likely both parties will nominate someone far from sympathetic to their issues. What is the right thing to do in that case?

I would argue that the best thing to wrest corporate control from the electoral process would be a movement away from routine election of incumbents. We are going to continue to see differences on a lot of volatile issues like abortion for quite a while. These have created a situation where razor thin election results are a fact of life.

Actions like Campaign Finance reform can only do a little to help this situation. We need some fundamental change in US election rules. Adopting a system like Condorcet Voting would make it much more difficult for both major parties to nominate candidates with very limited broad based appeal.

Until election reform is on the table, what can folks that are disenfranchised by the current election process do?

I would argue the best strategy in the current situation would be to focus on making the current system more difficult for those currently participating in it. That would mean making unseating of incumbents more likely—and also making changes of the party holding a particular office more likely. Elections in recent years have been so close, that if an organized group making up only 2-3% of the electorate were to systematically switch back and forth between the two major parties, considerable disruption of the political process would take place.

The fallout from this kind of strategy might be rather painful—but this may be necessary to create a democracy that is truly responsive and capable of placing issues like immigration onto the front burner.