This is ELECTION DAY (November 8, 2016) and we are off to vote. We have been subjected to a brutal campaign. Junk political mail, broadcast ads and phone calls have been pouring in for months. Most of us are exhausted by it all.
The rules governing campaigns and candidate conduct have not changed for decades. The result is that power and money accrue to those politicians of both parties. They serve their own interests and not those of the people. Many of the elected have never held a job other than an elected office. “Public service” is not what is happening. Moneyed “special interests” are being served.
WHAT IF we changed the rules for the next election cycle? Consider these radical looking ideas. Then, add a few of your own.
- No candidate may spend or cause to be spent in his/her behalf of the campaign more than four times the annual salary paid for serving in that office. (Job pays $75,000 annually so the campaign may spend only $300,000.)
- All candidates must sign a binding pledge to serve only two terms in the same office.
- No candidate may castigate their opponent. The electorate deserves to hear the personal policies and plans explained by the candidate and not as misrepresented by the opponent and surrogates.
- All printed campaign material and advertising in any broadcast or social media outlets are similarly prohibited from mentioning the name of any opponent. Promote yourself!
- Every candidate must be identified his / her party affiliation. No hiding!
Partisans and party loyalists may think that my proposed new rules are intended to favor one party over the other. That is not true. As a registered independent and keen observer of the today’s election rules and practices, I find myself equally appalled by both major parties and the campaigns of their candidates.
Is there any doubt that politics today is brutally dishonest and rife with excess? Do you share my view that some correction and simplification is over-due? Or, is doing something to change the rules completely out of the question? You decide, please.