This is the moment for a Constitutional Amendment, if there ever was one.
Despite an unanimous consensus amongst the United States' intelligence agencies that the Russians interfered in America's 2016 General Election, the Republican Party has shown little interest in addressing what transpired, and President Trump has refused to so much as acknowledge the brazen attack on our nation's democracy. It's unacceptable. Regardless of whether the Trump campaign or the GOP actually colluded with the Russians in their efforts, the fact remains that the legitimacy of the 2016 election has been irrevocably been tainted by foreign influence. So this begs the question - why, if the legitimacy of our election has been brought into question, would the GOP take no significant action in response to the Russian's actions? The most obvious answer is that doing so would pose a risk to the political monopoly that the Russians bestowed upon the Republican Party. In other words, by taking no significant action in the face of the Russian attack, the GOP has played right into Putin's hands by proving him right in his assertion that western democracy is no less corrupt than the oligarchies of Russia and their allies.
Putting partisanship before patriotism is never acceptable. Regardless of whatever benefit the GOP may have gotten from Russia's interference in our election, Senator McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have an absolute duty to take action in the fact of this unprecedented attack upon our democracy.
That's why Perfect Republic is calling for the passage of a Constitutional Amendment designed to restore integrity to our elections. This Constitutional Amendment should do more than simply address the foreign influence in the 2016 election - it should be a comprehensive, truly bi-partisan electoral reform package designed to fix many of the problems that plague our democracy, from banning gerrymandering to removing the corrupting influence of money from our elections. Such an Amendment would not only remove the dark cloud of illegitimacy that the Russians placed on our recent elections - it would prove Putin wrong on every level by showing that American democracy is resilient, and capable of not only withstanding such a foreign attack, but capable of coming out of such an attack stronger, better, more just, more equal, and more legitimate than ever before.
This Constitutional Amendment should include a number of key components to guarantee that the legitimacy of our democracy is protected and defended both in the short-term and the long-term:
- Partisan gerrymandering must be banned.
- All federal elections should become publicly-funded, taking the corrupting influence of campaign finance out of the picture entirely. By granting all candidates for federal office access to a common online-based campaign framework, we can give all candidates an unlimited platform for free speech, and end the legal fiction that "money is speech" which has quietly and inevitably transformed our democracy into a plutocracy over the past few decades. Not only would this key reform ensure that candidates are chosen primarily on the content of their ideas and positions rather than their ability to fundraise, it would eliminate (or at the very least reduce) many of the most annoying components of our current political system, including endless political ads and mailboxes filled with glossy but low-information mailers. In place of these antiquated campaign tools, politicians should be given access to an online platform where they can upload their biographies, campaign platforms, campaign videos, and other information that would be useful to educating voters about who they are and why they're running for office. For voters who aren't connected to the internet, state election boards could send out hardcopy election guides, containing all the information that candidates wish to get to voters.
- The electoral college should be replaced by a system guaranteeing every American an equal voice in choosing the American President.
- Our traditional system of primaries should be replaced with instant run-off elections, which would have a two-fold benefit: first, instant run-off elections would ensure that the election winners were truly supported by a majority of the voters in every single district; and second, instant run-off elections would significantly shorten the length of political campaigns, reducing the burden placed on candidates and voters alike.
- Lastly, to remove any possible questions regarding the legitimacy of the 2016 election, a new election should be held before the end of the year. This election shouldn't be simply limited to the American Presidency, but to all House and Senate seats that were part of the 2016 election, and should be held in accordance with new electoral reforms outlined above.
While the Republican Party could theoretically lose some of the power they gained through the 2016 election, this Constitutional Amendment and the reforms it includes would restore the American public's faith in our democracy, as well as our faith in both political parties. Furthermore, by giving President Trump the opportunity to sign off on this Constitutional Amendment, he would be afforded the opportunity to take responsibility for reforms that would inevitably establish him as one of the most selfless, noble, and honorable Presidents in American history, and provide a solid moral foundation to justify any pardon he may need by his successor to escape the alleged obstruction of justice investigation that he is currently facing.
And assuming that our politicians in Washington do actually care more about their country than they do partisanship, taking on the risk of losing some political power to protect and defend the long-term wellbeing of western-style democracy would not only redeem both political parties - it would be the most powerful response American could possibly take to Putin's actions.
Note: This post was originally published on AmericanMillennials.com on June 18, 2017. Minor edits were made when it was transferred to Perfect Republic in December, 2020.