Friday, November 07, 2008

Time for a Simple, Structural Reform of our Presidential Elections

No real change can be expected in our national election procedures until we address a structural fact of life - this is a confederation of 50 states, it is not a centrally-powerful unified nation. Our elections - even our election for the only two positions with national domain - President and Vice President of the US - are managed under the power and domain of local governments at the county, city and even precinct levels. Jimmy Carter would be - in fact, he is - aghast.
The only solution that will really matter is a structural one - to decree that the election for President/Vice President be held on a separate day during which no other election or voting event can occur. That way, it can be run in a unified way under one set of rules and accountable to one authority, ideally a non-partisan authority with real power and independence.
In one fell swoop, the silliness would end. Because the rules would be consistent across the country - same hours of voting and the same voting method, etc., no local or state officials would be able to jimmy or hijack the results by monkeying with the rules. No funny stuff like butterfly ballots in some precincts or battles over a voter's polling place. Just a simple, clean result. We need only a procedure to prevent any person from voting twice and it's done.
IMAGINE - no locally-derived rules and widely varying procedures for how we elect our President and Vice President of the United States. No more coat tails either - just a clear, simple up and down vote for the biggest offices in the land.
Are you with me? 
Remember, when the problem is structural, only a structural solution will work. So, let's start a movement to hold these races - our only nation wide elections where we all participate together - on its own day: a National President's Election Day. 

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Solving the 50 State Bottleneck

Earlier I wrote about the impossible bottle neck of 50 states in the US funneling down to one federal level government organ and the awful inefficiencies that that alone may have created.
Given some assent on that point, here's the solution: Require each state to form an alliance with one or more neighboring states over some fixed time period by forming a governing entity/mechanism that will have and execute domain over these matters:
- transportation
- natural resources (water, minerals, land, etc.)
- environmental matters
- what else?
As a result, with respect to these matters - which do not observe political borders between states - we will get these important benefits
-- more comprehensive decision-making
-- better, more comprehensive planning
-- more competent management due to project and program coordination on a more complete scale
-- more efficient execution due to slimmer overhead in relation to # of projects and people "on the ground"
Must Be Revenue Neutral - reallocate revenues and tax sourcing, no net increase allowed
Must Be Bureaucracy Neutral - reallocate employee head count, no net increase allowed 
NOTE: Somehow, and if possible, this would need to be done within the framework of the Constitution so someone needs to consult constitutional lawyers for the attendant rat's nest of issues and complications. Hey, all I ask is that this is a theoretically good and sound idea. As to practical doability, I know: "Forget it."  But I'll never let that stop me.