America claims to be the model of democracy, but our system badly needs a few tweaks to improve its efficiency and effectiveness. It’s time we change the game to make those things happen.

The problem of course is that these changes can only be made by the people already in office, and they most often prefer the status quo. But here we go anyway- maybe we can somehow make progress in spite of the obstacles.

Rank Choice Voting

Rank choice voting works like this.

With rank choice voting, the winning candidate is often the one who is the least polarizing, and able to generate some level of appeal among groups with dissimilar voting interests. A candidate pandering to a narrow base will not win if ranked choice voting is used.

Candidates would be forced to be reasonable, focus on cooperation and downplay partisanship. Ranked choice voting would encourage thoughtful community servants to run for office and discourage those looking to promote themselves or their own agenda over the good of the country. Those on the fringes of the political spectrum would likely be pushed out.

Enable More Parties

The 2 party system has become totally adversarial. In many other countries, there are multiple parties. When none wins an absolute majority in an election, they have to reach agreements with other parties and form a coalition to lead. This allows for more voices and ideas to be heard and it values cooperation over winning at all costs.

Open Primaries

Primaries should not be limited by party. They should be open like a general election.  Voters should be able to vote for the best candidate no matter which party they represent.

Term Limits

Those elected to office should get one shot to do their best, serve the people, and vote their conscience without party-induced re-election pressures. When their term is up, they go back to whatever career they were working before.

Overturn Citizens United

If you’re unfamiliar with this landmark ruling, read this. But, let’s go even further in regulating campaign spending. If the NFL can operate under a salary cap in the interest of fairness, why can’t we do something similar for elections? Wealth should not be the advantage is currently is.

Abolish The Electoral College

One of the reasons often cited for maintaining this procedure is that it protects small states whose interests would likely be dominated by large states who have more voters and therefore, more representation. But the Senate already provides this protection with its 2 senator-per-state structure. In addition, 2 of the last 5 presidential elections were won by a candidate who lost the popular vote yet won the electoral college. And we wonder why people say their vote doesn’t count. The electoral college may once have had value, but that time has passed.

All of these changes aim to discourage us from electing politicians, and instead elect public servants determined to make the best decisions on behalf of everyone they represent.

For more thoughts and stories follow me at Five O’ Clock Shadow and at Wise & Shine Magazine.