The New Governance

    Obviously, there is no shortage of problems in America. We’re facing a laundry list of important issues that need to be addressed in an intelligent, fair-minded, responsible fashion. Yet, for too long we’ve seen partisan gridlock, ideological intransigence, and willful obstructionism rule the day with no substantial legislative solutions in sight. I’d like to offer an alternative, a Grand Plan….what I call The New Governance.
    One of the cornerstones of The New Governance (from here on: TNG) is a minimization of the role of the ossified two-party system. In a time when a proposition, no matter its merits, will warrant a “no” vote based solely on its coming from the wrong side of the aisle, when political brinksmanship trumps pragmatic action, we, as a nation, have clearly lost our grasp on the reins of government.
    Another TNG cornerstone is the belief that a swing of the pendulum toward a more purely democratic one-man-one-vote system is in order. To that end, we should severely curtail K Street’s activities. With Citizens United opening the floodgates to unlimited anonymous campaign contributions, even from foreign sources, the electoral clout of the ordinary US citizen is greatly diminished, with democracy itself the loser.
    A major tool in restoring democratic integrity to the current system is the Internet. In 2013, Internet access is so common that an accurate picture of What America Wants can be gleaned in an inexpensive and timely manner.
Picture a roster of issues. Let’s say the list, in no particular order, looks something like this: abortion, gun control, global warming, foreign interventionism, gay rights, health care, tax policy, defense spending, the deficit, and the space program. Every eligible voter in the country can weigh in in a meaningful way on any or all of the issues on the roster, or ballot, if you will.
    I say “in a meaningful way” for two reasons. First, every issue will have a pro and a con video presentation, each one vetted for accuracy, that will be readily accessible on YouTube or its future equivalent, and/or broadcast liberally on major networks. Ideally, all such videos will be viewed by voters. Combined with the absence of superPAC mudslinging, the aim is to have a well-informed populace free from undue media onslaughts paid for by entities whose goals stand at odds with the common good. Secondly, the issues will be framed in such a way and have a wide enough range of responses such that a realistic picture of public sentiment more complex than “yea” or “nay” takes shape.
    Once appropriate polling algorithms are applied and it’s determined where the populace stands on the issues of the day, the results are released publicly, and Congress then takes appropriate action. That’s a part that bears repeating… and Congress then takes appropriate action.
    The level of commitment to The New Governance comes into play at this juncture. Taking an “all-in” stance might call for total obeisance to national polling results, and even a codified requirement to meet agreed–upon standards of compliance with polling results. (e.g. “At least 75% of a senator/congressman’s voting record must conform to the stated will of the American people.”)
    Now, TNG is certainly a departure from business as usual in Washington, but if the political will were summoned by a critical mass of Congressmen to swap their beholden-ness to deep-pocketed campaign donors for a new set of tune-callers: the American People, we could end the gridlock and usher in a new chapter of more productive, more responsive, and more democratic government.