By RICHARD HERTZ
“I never vote for anybody, I always vote against.” — W.C. Fields
Where to begin in order to make America’s political system function more like the founders had in mind? There are no easy answers but I’ll take my swing at ringing the reform bell by identifying the three biggest challenges I think we need to address:
Notice I say reduce rather than eliminate, because realistically, a reduction is probably the best we can hope for. I also say we need to address because if we want meaningful political reform, then we, as voters, need to be better informed and reconsider our priorities for evaluating candidates.
Let’s face it, special interest money will always find a way to ooze under capitol doors. Many will cling to political parties to avoid having to think for themselves, and there will never be a highly rated TV show based on Americans’ love of politics and government.
But knowing voters are paying more attention would give elected officials a reason to pause before casting votes that could be seen as harmful to constituents. They might also become more fearful of the consequences of accepting large contributions and freebies from special interests.
In upcoming blog posts on Watch Sonoma County, I’m going to conduct an ongoing Consumer Politics 101. We’ll look at these and other problems with the goal of identifying specific steps individuals can take do something about them. I also want to show people how they can follow the political debate without taking up a lot of their time.
We’ll do this through several means:
The focus of this blog will be different than that of most other political analysis or commentary. While I believe there are some significant differences between the two major parties, the bigger problem that makes government so dysfunctional is the institutional corruption that has become an entire industry.
Making the endless solicitation of campaign contributions from special interests politically unacceptable behavior, and shuttering the revolving door between elected officials and lobbyists, are both important prerequisites to achieving meaningful political change in the U.S.
I’m not undertaking this to convince anyone with deeply held views that they are right or wrong about any specific issue, candidate, political party, or ideology. Rather, it is intended for people with busy lives and open minds who would like to be better informed and come to their own conclusions.
This blog’s for you! Thanks!
Bodega Bay resident Richard Hertz owns Hertz Research, which conducts polling for news organizations, public agencies, businesses and other organizations. Contact Hertz at firstname.lastname@example.org.