By: Marcus Perriello | Our Voice Contributor
There’s a fundamental reason why roughly 98% of voters hold the belief that America is a 2-Party system: Money. More specifically, the concentration of the majority of the nation’s wealth in the hands of 2 select political parties that have come to represent the will of the Owner Class. This grotesque concentration of wealth and power at the top has manifested through the Elites’ control over the major media outlets, which have almost always served as stenographers to power rather than serving as the checks and balances on those in power, as it was constitutionally established to do.
As time went by, and Americans simply drifted with the winds of Capitalism into a culture of indentured servitude and forced arbitration, the Elites recognized that if they let things continue they way they were without some kind of countermeasure to popular resistance, their lifestyles would be upended just as they had been in the 1930s with The New Deal and the growth of unions and other labor movements. So they began to run for public office within the Democratic and Republican parties, which in the end (as we all know) led to the complete Corporate capture of the American economic and political system, leaving the public with literally no way out of their precarious predicament.
This is a prime example of an entire barrel going bad, rather than just a few bad apples being present. The U.S. Constitution does not bar Wealthy Elites from buying the entire Government and rigging it to work in their favor. The only clause in the Constitution that addresses this is the Emoluments Clause, which only bars elected officials from accepting gifts, favors or other emoluments from foreign governments. It’s very specific, and it doesn’t encompass the greater threat of the subversion of Democracy into Oligarchy within U.S. borders.
Moreover, this provision of the Constitution has been in constant violation for decades, ever since President Richard Nixon took the U.S. off the Gold Standard in 1971 and made a deal with Saudi Arabia, who agreed to supply their oil to the United States in exchange for control over the valuing of the U.S. Dollar through the production of oil as shown by the international group OPEC; a collection of oil-rich nations that arbitrarily decide the value of petroleum at their leisure. The U.S. Dollar is the bargaining chip that the U.S. gave away for cheap oil, and now, though we recognize ourselves as a sovereign nation, our very economy hinges on the whims of oil-producing nations that do business with the United States. This is the reason why the U.S. does the unquestioned bidding of Saudi Arabia and Israel, and why it is so adamant about controlling the oil fields of countries like Venezuela and Iran.
Our government has literally sold the country out to the highest bidder and we are left to suffer the consequences of their treachery. Because this occurred within the networks of the Republican and Democratic parties, the wealth of the nation was completely within their control, as the Constitution leaves the nation’s power of the purse in the hands of Congress. Once the Elites gained their seats in Congress, they were then free to rig the system in their favor. This is how and why we got to the point of imperial decline that we find ourselves in today. But there is hope. As more and more Americans find themselves with less and less to set aside for the future, and employment and/or business prospects continue to disappear, it continues to become evident that systemic change is not only desired, but absolutely necessary in order for the nation to recover from the destruction left in the wake of the Wall Street greed machine.
As I explain in earlier articles, the Hydrodollar system is a foolproof and totally viable replacement for the Petrodollar, which would sever our dependence on foreign oil and alleviate ourselves from having to obey the commands of other oil-rich nations like Saudi Arabia. In the process, it serves as the incentive needed to launch The Green New Deal and reorganize the U.S. economy so that it benefits the masses rather than the greedy few. But what about the infrastructure left in place by the previous greed-driven system? There are a few ways to go about reorganizing these facets of our economy.
First, we ban private investment in American companies and nationalize the stock market through a strict organization of said market that leaves company stocks available for investment only by those who are employed at that company. For example, if Ford Motor Company suddenly had its stock supply nationalized, the profits that got generated by their sales would come back to the workers of the company in the form of bonuses, raises in pay, or even as a component in a national UBI program. Another way to reorganize the economy is to simply abolish the stock market and use the profits of private companies to create a giant pool of national capital that would be used to fund a national UBI program. Yet another way to approach this is to abolish the stock market and have the profits of these companies be democratically decided on by the company’s workforce with regards to their distribution. All these options are available, and without raising taxes!
Next is the issue of Healthcare. It’s no secret that poll after poll has proven that the American people have democratically decided among themselves that the future of Healthcare in the United States is one form or another of a nationalized Healthcare system, funded through tax dollars rather than by individual out-of-pocket expenses dictated to them by private for-profit institutions. Eliminating the profit motive from the equation automatically drives down the cost of the system. In addition, legalizing, taxing and regulating all drugs cuts government spending down by billions as these drugs become legitimate competitors for the products forced on the public by Big Pharma, forcing the downsizing of the Prison Industrial Complex as prison profiteers now have fewer loopholes to use as a means of incarcerating people for profit. With the downsizing, and eventual elimination of the private prison industry, the vacated facilities would be converted into medical and psychiatric centers as part of a Medicare For All system.
Another element to drive down costs is to bring back the practice of House Calls, whereby doctors can come to the homes of their patients rather than the patients having to go to a large facility and contribute to mounting costs that are synonymous with hospital visits. Obviously this practice would only be limited to situations where hospitalization would not be necessary, but it would drive down the cost of a Medicare For All system, as well as present the opportunity for more doctors to establish local practices in their communities.
The final issue I’ll discuss here is the issue of our election system. This 2-Parties-Only myth that has become the foundation of electoral politics in the United States is rooted in the issue of wealth inequality and distribution in this country and the two parties that the wealthy elites have slowly and methodically seized over time as more and more elites ran for public office and won. First thing we need to recognize is the language that is analogous to the principles, values, and processes we stand for as a nation. Words like Democracy, Republic, Liberty, and Freedom. All of these words are triggers that once they are uttered and perceived by voters, they flush out the instilled sense of patriotism and civic duty that all of us underwent when we were school children.
This demonstrates how powerful propaganda can be; especially when it’s introduced to young minds who are growing and eager to develop themselves into whichever versions of themselves they have in mind for their futures. Part of how we address this political stigma is through our Education system. Instead of reinforcing the notion that America is only comprised of Democrats and Republicans, it’s all the more important to reform the Civics platform to include the other parties and platform nuances that make up political reality. Rather than instilling a sense of duty to one party or another, we need to reinforce the liberating experience of being exposed to multiple points of view and leaving these young minds open to explore and decide for themselves which is the best way forward.
The support for a Ranked Choice Voting system is growing in the United States and has been adopted by the city of San Francisco and the entire state of Maine. As a result, the scope of electoral politics in these places has shifted greatly, giving all official contenders more equal opportunity to win a given election. At the local and state level, RCV is more attainable than at the national level (the presidency) because states are not bound to the Electoral College in lower races. Getting rid of the Electoral College is essential to getting to a system that is more equal and fair for all citizens, as is the elimination of money in politics.
One way to achieve this is to amend the constitution to ban private funding of elections, and turn the power of the purse over to the voters. In other words, if elected officials are unable to determine their own salaries and they have to go through a public referendum in order to secure funding for their salaries or any other specific purposes, those officials are 100% accountable to the people they are elected to represent BY DESIGN. They no longer have the ability to do with U.S. taxpayer money as they see fit without going through their constituents first. It also provides a more clear cut representation of where the American people stand on both Public and Private institutions and where their tax money should go.
One way to replace the Electoral College system is to hold a national primary involving every candidate from every party, including Independents. From there, each state votes using RCV and the top two candidates remaining head to a run-off election, which would be the General Election, to be decided on by popular vote. Another way is to forego primaries altogether and simply use a national General Election using RCV, and the candidate to break the 50% threshold wins the election.
As the current COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, our election system is incredibly archaic and needs to be seriously reorganized to move our Democracy into the 21st Century. One method we can use is the Vote-By-Mail initiative, which has been gaining in popularity since the pandemic began.
Another method is Voice Voting, whereby voters can call in to a designated line and cast their vote through an automated system. This system would be much like the ones used to schedule appointments, refill prescriptions, or pay bills. Voting in person can remain in place, but these two options provide additional avenues for voters to participate in the political process.
Extend the voting period to one whole month. This allows us to observe the vote tallies in real time, as well as provides the means for voters to fit voting into their schedules without having to wait in long lines. If we push for these policies and practices, we can fundamentally change the way America functions and transform the economic and political landscape for the betterment of the people as a whole.