We will hold to the following principles as we execute our strategy:
Comprehensive Reform - Packaging together, Congressional Term Limits, Clean Elections and a Gerrymandering Ban makes for good politics as well as good policy. The three reforms will go forward together.
Left, Center, Right Alliance of Political Outsiders - We must not let partisanship or ideology divide us. Republican and Democratic Washington insiders stand together to protect the status quo, therefore we too must be united.
A Long-term Mentality - We cannot afford to be like our career politicians, always fixated on two and six-year election cycles. Our task is very difficult, but it is as important as it is difficult. Realistically, reaching our goal will take a long time, perhaps a generation.
A Grassroots Movement - Those who thrive in the current system will never abandon their political privileges or reform themselves. We, the people, must force the issue.
From Conceptual Agreement to Constitutional Amendment
Comprehensive election reform is a complex matter that must be advanced one step at a a time. What we propose for now is a broad framework consisting of three reform concepts - Congressional Term Limits, a Clean Elections System and a Ban on Gerrymandering. The survey data is very clear. As a people we agree on the problems: entrenched incumbency / unfair elections, special interest politics, influence buying and selling and the shortsightedness that goes with political careerism. Together, through discussion and negotiation, we will hammer out the specifics of our comprehensive election reform program.
Our process therefore begins with a conceptual agreement, found HERE, which outlines the parameters within which we will develop our final proposal. The conceptual agreement is part generalized election reform proposal for Congressional term limits, clean elections and an end to gerrymandering, and part starting point for a negotiation between progressives, conservatives and everyone in between.
The negotiations will be lead by two nationally respected leaders - a progressive and a conservative- who are already associated with election reform. Each will build a team of experts and leaders, and maintain lines of communication with the activists on the right and left, as the case may be.
Centrists and Independents will also be invited to participate in the project. The aim will be to achieve a consensus, or as close to one as possible, on the language for a proposed Constitutional amendment.
Meanwhile, to build support for our plan and inform the negotiation, we need popular participation here at our website and around the country (Please do not leave this website before signing up, "liking" us on Facebook, sending out a tweet and / or making a financial contribution, even a small one) . We aim to be a bottom-up organization, and therefore we are especially eager to find leaders who will organize their communities, help with fundraising, or write for us. The ongoing success of our movement will be measured in its growth. Our ultimate success will be the adoption of a Constitutional amendment for congressional term limits, clean elections and a ban on gerrymandering.
A constitutional amendment is necessary for two reasons. First, any reform passed by one Congress can be undone by a future one; we need a permanent defense against the corruption of our government. Second, the US Supreme Court has ruled that there can be no Congressional Term Limits without a constitutional amendment. To fix our broken democracy requires amending the Constitution. Of course achieving a constitutional amendment will be difficult, which is why a unified progressive-conservative alliance of outsiders is essential. We require a maximum of political force behind meaningful and lasting reform.
There are two paths to a constitutional amendment. The usual road runs through Congress, where two-thirds of each chamber of Congress proposes an amendment which is then ratified by three-quarters of the state legislatures. A second path, which has never been tried, leads through an Article 5 Constitutional Convention. In that case, two thirds of state legislatures instruct Congress to call a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution, which are then ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures or in special popular conventions called for that purpose. Either way, it is necessary that we "weaponize" reform (No, not a real weapon) - that is, that we turn election reform into a powerful political weapon to be put in the hands of would-be citizen legislators.
Americans United to Rebuild Democracy is currently a 501c3 charitable educational organization. In time, a sister 501c4 political organization / lobbying organization will be formed to raise money and support candidates who back our constitutional amendment. Republican candidates will one day be able to run with designation "Americans United Republican." Likewise, a Democrat will be able to run as an "Americans United Democrat."
The designation "Americans United" will signal to voters, regardless of party or ideology, that the candidate supports our constitutional amendment and is therefore more likely a true public servant rather than a self-serving politician.
There are other worthy and / or interesting reforms beyond Congressional term limits, clean elections and a ban on gerrymandering that have yet to garner much public attention. They include but are not limited to, reducing the size and increasing the number of US House Districts, eliminating the institutionalized privileges of the major parties, instant run-off voting, ending the congressional pension system, open primaries, and eliminating the Electoral College. On our website we will have a lively discussion of all of these, in addition to our big three reforms.
The task ahead is great, but so are the consequences for our country. Let us, in at least this one instance, put our differences aside for the common good. Together we can Rebuild American Democracy. Please join us and /or donate.