Thursday, September 27, 2018

America Needs a Reset: Set Terms for Supreme Court Justices, Senators, Congress Representatives, and Presidents

America has politically become a dysfunctional entity.  For example, Supreme Court justices are now just as overtly politicized and as tribalized as the politicians who support them.  Such a phenomenon is the effect of a larger problem:  national politicians should be limited to specific terms in office and then banned from running for other national offices other than for President of the U.S.  And even the President should be limited to one term in office as well:  Get the job done in a certain number of years.

For example, Supreme Court justices should be limited to one eight-year terms, not lifetime appointments.  And such terms should be staggered so that diversity becomes the norm in the highest court of the land.  And like judges in many jurisdictions, they should face public reaffirmation via the voting booth after their first four years to determine if they can finish their eight-year terms or be removed from the bench within 30 days after the election results are certified.  This would keep them on their toes:  the public should be the final arbiters of judges' abilities to serve.  Thus, such individuals literally can't negatively affects millions of lives because they serve until they die or retire.  And whatever controversial rulings they issue, the public can be assured that a new set of judges can decide to overturn such rulings.

Furthermore, the President of the U.S. should be limited to one five-year term in office:  This would prevent any president from wasting years running for reelection.  And they should be banned from hiring any immediate family members as cabinet members or as staff in the Oval office since those relatives will undoubtedly have plenty of access to influence their familial heads of state.

As for Senators and Congress men and women, all should be limited to one four-year terms in office.  And once they serve, they should be banned from running for any other elected offices at the national level for at least a ten-year period--unless they decide to run for the presidency.   And once they've served in the Senate or the House of Representatives, they can never again run for the same office from the same state.  Let them move to another state if they wish to run again for a U.S. Senate or House of Representatives seat--but they will have to wait for ten years to do so.

And new rules need to control both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.  Let's take a cue from California:  If the state's legislature fails to pass the state budget by a certain deadline, these state politicians don't get paid.  Let's withhold pay from Senators and Congress men and women if they too fail to get budgets passed by certain deadlines.  And we should require a two-thirds majority vote for all legislation and for all appointments to the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court.  If two-thirds can't agree, then the public will vote via secured means (such as simple paper ballots instead of electronic voting machines that can be hacked) to determine if legislation should be passed or if judicial appointees should be confirmed.

Might this slow our government's daily business?  Possibly, but at least we can limit the time a piece of legislation will be debated before politicians vote, and then if these national leaders fail to pass legislation, those in the public who want to vote will vote and the issues will be settled.

And we need to limit the amount of money that can be spent by political candidates for their campaigns:  No national hopeful should spend more than one million dollars for rallys, signage, bumper stickers, and buttons; as for political ads on radio or television, candidates for national offices should be given--given--five-minute to ten-minute spots on Saturday and Sunday mornings aired just twice each weekend day by local and national networks as part of their commitment to public service--and such ads should only run for three months prior to the election days.  This would take billionaires and PACs out of the equation entirely:  the media should no longer be flooded by paid political advertisements that can literally skew the public's perceptions.  But candidates should be allowed to go door-to-door or hold political rallys in venues that would be limited to no more than 5,000 rally goers--and they should be limited to no more than one rally a week.  Let their campaigns become truly grass roots-oriented operations.

Moveover, to get more people to vote, all voters in America who vote both in primaries and in November elections should be able to get both federal and state tax deductions that would literally double those deduction amounts:  financial incentives have a way of spurring even the most lazy or apathetic among us.

And, finally, for the United States of America to become a true democracy, our simple majority votes should determine who wins the presidency, not an Electoral College that has its roots in slavery.