If everyone in the world woke up tomorrow with no memory or evidence of America’s electoral system, and we had to invent a new one from scratch, there’s zero possibility that anyone would, or even could, recreate what exists now. It’s so absurdly broken you couldn’t make it up.
The most powerful positions in the government are held by 100 members of the Senate, 435 members of the House of Representatives, the president, vice president and hundreds of appointed officials. The elected seats are filled by hosting popularity contests between wealthy, professional campaigners who are matched against whichever other contestants live in the same geographical area as them. The presidency is a nationwide election, but everyone still votes with their state, and the winner of the state-wide election gets to vote on the national level. However, the state representatives don’t always have to vote the way the people do, and there are unelected super delegates who can vote however they want.
It’s debatable whether or not Americans’ votes matter at all, but if you’re a twenty year old gay black atheist socialist living in a county full of white, Christian Baby Boomers, there’s no doubt that your vote doesn’t count. It’s a cold, mathematical fact. Even if we stopped voting by states and made every federal election nationwide, the generation with the most people will still have the mathematical advantage.
Right now the Baby Boomers have the mathematical advantage, and thanks to the horrible economy they created, they’re also the most likely to have enough free time to go vote at one of the convoluted voting stations the system provides. So it should come as no surprise that the average age of Congress is 62.
With age comes wisdom, but it also comes with senility and obsolescence. Strom Thurmond had no business taking up one of the highest seats of power in the world, and neither does anyone who has never sent an E-mail. Age also comes with a shift in priorities. You tend to stick with the old ways and prioritize short-term security over testing radical ideas and looking far into the future. As a result, the youth are forced to perpetually live in an archaic system that doesn’t represent their values or goals.
I can’t help but feel like there’s a more effective way to stock elected seats than by culling them from 50 arbitrary, gerrymandered geographical areas, and holding a popular vote within them between contestants who are old and rich enough to devote their life to being professional campaigners who work for one of two warring staffing agencies.
Any teenager could come up with ten better ways to staff the federal government. Here are a few that I would be satisfied with over the train wreck we have now. Assign a percentage of the votes and/or seats by age group, income bracket, IQ level, personality type or by the sector of the economy one works in. In addition, make all federal election national and online. Give voters the perpetual option to vote politicians out of office, and eliminate super delegates and anything resembling them.
Any of these ideas would put my vote in a pool with more people who share my interests. No matter what flaws these options may have, they aren’t worse than what America has now.
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