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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

8 Ways To Solve Some Problems

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 12/30/17 21:50, Edited: 12/31/17 12:22

by Dave Mindeman

As a way to end the year, here are a few things that I believe would solve some of our myriad of problems....

1. Legalize Marijuana - When you talk about the opioid epidemic, there is too much talk about opioids and too little talk about alternatives. And marijuana is definitely an alternative worth exploring. The stigma around pot needs to end and the criminality surrounding it needs to be reviewed. We have never really studied the medicinal value of marijuana because we have been too busy criminalizing it. Evaluate it on merits and maybe, just maybe, we have an answer to opioid addiction.

2. Independent panels for drawing Congressional lines. Face it. Congressional representatives do not answer to the people they represent. They only answer to a tribal base and donors. That is because the drawing of legislative lines have been turned into partisan advantages and both parties are guilty of it. Lines that are drawn for the sake of geography and not based on selecting voters will change that dynamic and make representation more accountable.

3. End the electoral college. We have entered a period of minority rule. Trump didn't get the most votes and neither did the Republicans in the Senate and the House. A similar effect has occurred in state legislatures. Is that what our democracy has become? A method of voter manipulation? Abolishing the electoral college would require a Constitutional amendment, but ending its influence can be done by allowing states to mandate their electoral votes to go to the winner of the popular vote - once states with a total of 270 votes have done this, the electoral college result is moot.

4. Universal automatic voter registration. Once a person reaches the age of 18, they still have to sign up for selective service. So why not have them automatically join the voter roles at the same time. This idea that people have to register themselves is anathema to the democratic process. Every citizen should have the right to vote. If they choose not to exercise it, that is their decision. But to make it difficult to register is ridiculous.

5. Universal background checks for gun purchases. I still do not understand why this is not the law of the land? Purchasing guns is a universal right in America but the rest of us have the right to make sure the gun purchaser can use it responsibly and doesn't have a criminal background. This is not hard. It should not be the least controversial.

6. Obamacare. It's simple. The ACA can be fixed. A public option. Reinsurance for the private market. Reinstate the individual mandate. If we had the political will to fix it, it can be done. A stable health care market would do wonders for the economic engine. Much more than this ridiculous tax bill will do. It will take a Democratic majority and real Democratic will to do it - but that option is there if Republicans would get out of the way.

7. Infrastructure. There is always a lot of talk about infrastructure and it is usually bipartisan. But nothing gets done because we keep bleeding the US Treasury of money via tax cuts. The way to really do this is to impose a surtax on corporations and hedge funds and then actually do it. Fix the bridges. Build the light rail. Get rid of the highway gridlock. The money to do this has always been there, but it keep getting reshuffled to the 1%.

8. End Citizens United. Most of our political problems continue to be derived from big money in politics. A constitutional amendment which would, once and for all, tell the courts that money is not speech and corporations are not people, is a necessary component to solve this problem. The Bible says, the love of money is the root of all evil. In politics, money is the root of bad government.
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