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2012: How U.S. Voters Can Wrest Control of Congress from Special Interests: A Series

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Nancy Bordier

The electorate's dissatisfaction with the nation's lawmakers has reached a critical stage. A majority of U.S. voters want to see most elected representatives in Congress defeated because they favor special interests over voters' interests. Unfortunately, legal obstacles erected by the two major parties prevent voters from replacing most of these representatives unless they use the revolutionary self-organizing tools described in this series to work around them.

These obstacles range from federal and state election laws to campaign finance laws and Supreme Court decisions that favor private over public funding of elections. Voters can't change these laws within the foreseeable future. But they can circumvent them at the Congressional election district level. The web savvy 125 million voters who use the Internet to influence the outcome of the 2008 elections can use new web technologies to leverage the collective action power of the Internet and elect a majority of Congressional representatives untainted by special interests in 2012.

These technological advances, particularly the web application discussed in this series, enable voters to build winning transpartisan voting blocs in their Congressional election districts. These blocs can:

  • Operate within existing political parties, across party lines or in new parties;
  • Form broad-based electoral coalitions with other blocs, parties and labor unions that can outflank and outmaneuver stand-alone parties running special interest-backed candidates;
  • Engage broad-cross sections of the electorate in setting legislative agendas which they can use to hold incumbents accountable at the ballot box;
  • Stop the spread of special interest propaganda and disinformation by engaging the electorate in informed consensus-building at the grassroots;
  • Run winning candidates untainted by special interest campaign contributions against militant fringe group candidates;
  • Elect representatives who will break the political stalemate in Congress between the two major parties by removing anti-majoritarian rules like the Senate's filibuster.

Voters can bring these possibilities to fruition through the breakthrough web-based technologies described in Parts I – V of this series.

(The document can be read in its entirety here.)

Part I. The U.S. Electorate versus the U.S. Congress

The most irate, aggrieved voters are being mobilized by special interests into a new hybrid voting bloc that resembles the bloc the Republican Party used as its electoral base to drive the country rightward, and gain control of government for the better part of 40 years. The IVCS application enables mainstream voters across the political spectrum to build transpartisan voting blocs that can outflank and outmaneuver special interest-funded voting blocs, and elect a majority of representatives to Congress who are untainted by these interests. More . . .

Part II. Why the Political Context Is Favorable for a Populist Takeover of Congressional Election Districts Using the Interactive Voter Choice System

40% of the electorate has rejected membership in the Democratic and Republican parties. Their membership has shrunk to roughly 33% and 23%, respectively, and not all of their members identify strongly with the parties. With more than 80% of the electorate wanting to oust most Congressional representatives, because they favor special interests over their constituents' interests, typical election districts have more than enough dissatisfied voters to decide who wins and loses in the 2012 Congressional elections.

Part III. Why and How Congressional Elections Can Be Won by Transpartisan Voting Blocs in 2012

The number of voters needed to put Congressional candidates on the ballot in party primaries is small and often requires less than 10,000 signatures on nominating petitions. Also, primary elections are often decided by a small number of votes. In addition, only a plurality of voters is needed to win an election. (U.S. election laws permit candidates to be elected without a majority of all votes cast; they just need to get more votes than any other candidate.) Voters determined to oust their representatives can take advantage of these low numbers and use the IVCS application to build transpartisan voting blocs that run winning candidates in primary and general elections in 2012.

Part IV. How Voters Can Build Transpartisan Voting Blocs and Use Legislative Mandates to Get Control of Electoral and Legislative Processes

Individual voters can use the application's tools to set their policy agendas. They can then form voting blocs with like-minded voters around shared agendas, and run winning candidates in their Congressional District.

Voters can use these agendas as legislative mandates to set the terms and conditions for supporting Congressional candidates. They can also use them to oversee their representatives' legislative initiatives, guide them through legislative decision-making processes, and help them decide what compromises to make in order to build support for their initiatives. Voters can also use their legislative mandates to evaluate their representatives' track records and hold them accountable when they come up for re-election.

Part V. How Voting Blocs Can Expand Their Electoral Bases by Increasing Their Membership and Building Electoral Coalitions with Existing Parties, New Parties, Labor Unions and Other Membership-Based Groups

Voting blocs can use the application's consensus-building tools to increase bloc membership and build electoral coalitions that increase their overall voting strength to the levels required to win Congressional elections in 2012. As voters seeking to build coalitions negotiate alternative combinations of options, they will simultaneously solve the contrived conflicts over legislative initiatives that political partisans and special interests have created to inflame voters' passions and prejudices, divide the electorate into hostile camps, and create the appearance of Congressional stalemates to camouflage their obedience to special interest agendas.

Conclusion

Voters can elect a majority of untainted Congressional representatives in 2012 if public-spirited citizens, political activists and web technologists join forces to weave together breakthrough democracy-building technologies like the Interactive Voter Choice System into user-friendly seamless applications.

(Cross-posted at All Life Is Problem Solving, Fiscal Sustainability, and Reinventing Democracy)

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