Taking Control

So, what exactly is needed to transform congress into an effective law-making body that works hard to make our lives better? First of course, we need to reach out to other voters. Second, the voters need non-politicians to vote for, so at least a few of us have to run in elections. As we've seen, only a very few hundred of us from across the entire country actually need to run for office. And as we'll see shortly, because we can rely heavily on the Internet and on each other, we shouldn't need an overwhelming amount of money or time, which we ordinary folks don't have to spare. Instead, we can rely on email and social networks and word of mouth to spread our message. If we're running we need to get our names on the ballot if we can. And if we can't get on the ballot, then where permitted we can ask voters to vote for us as write-in candidates. Then, enough of the rest of us who aren't running just have to vote for the non-politicians to elect them. For our government to begin to work for "us" instead of "them", only slightly more than half of us voters, in only slightly more than half of the 435 congressional districts, have to vote for "us".

So, as a voter your first job is to be sure you can vote. That means you should find out if you're eligible to vote, and if so be sure to register. In general, you can vote in the United States if you're a U.S. citizen and you will be at least 18 years old by the time of the election you want to vote in. If that's you, then probably all you have to do is register to vote in the state you're a resident of. How to do that depends on the state you live in, because each of the states sets up their own rules and processes that control how to register to vote. But it's generally pretty easy. To find out how to register in your state and to get some assistance if you need it, go to https://RegisterToVote.org/state-info.html, or call the voting authorities in your area. 

Unfortunately, many people with a criminal record believe they can't vote when in fact they can, and it's worth checking into. The law on this varies from state to state, but in most cases you probably can vote, and it's vital to vote if you can, especially if you feel like you were unfairly caught in a legal snare and didn't do anything morally wrong. Why? Because the United States imprisons more of its citizens than is rational by any measure, and there's no legitimate reason for it. The only way to fix that is to change the way the laws are made, and that means exercising your right to vote, and even your right to run for office. Our state and federal governments together imprison a far greater proportion of us than virtually every other regime on the entire planet throughout all of recorded history. And there are more than twice as many people with supervised suspended sentences or on parole than there are in prison. The result in some minority populations is that something like half the people in those populations have a criminal record. There can't possibly be a rational, legitimate reason that so many Americans have been criminalized. It's only natural to conclude that there must be far too many unfair laws, and that they're unevenly and unfairly enforced. Otherwise, there would be fewer "criminals" and we wouldn't have the dramatic "justice system" disparities between different populations that we have. It is vitally important that you vote, especially if you feel like you were caught in a legal snare that resulted in a criminal record. Because the only way to remedy that situation is to fix the laws so they're less arbitrary and have a strong moral core, and it's the federal and state legislatures that makes the laws! There are far too many laws that make far too little sense. And there are a lot more laws than you probably thought possible. The systems of laws that govern our behavior are literally beyond human understanding. So of course we trip over laws! They're strewn all over the place! So, check to see if you can vote. To find the information you need, go to https://www.aclu.org/map/state-criminal-re-enfranchisement-laws-map. If you find that you're eligible to vote, then be sure to register. If you have a hard time registering, then reach out to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for help. They generally provide such assistance without charge. Their local contact information is listed at https://www.aclu.org/about/affiliates?redirect=affiliates. 

If you're not sure if you're registered or not, or you aren't sure what identification is required to register, or you don't know where in your area to go to register, or where to go on election day to vote, check by going to http://www.CanIvote.org. We should all vote if we're able to. Especially if you haven't voted lately because you believe that voting for party politicians will never change anything. That's true. But if we have independent, non-politician, ordinary people on the ballot to vote for, then you absolutely should because that can drive genuine change. 

There are 435 congressional voting districts, each of which comprises an average of over 700,000 people. Only ONE of those people needs to run for a seat in the house of representatives as an independent non-politician. To gain control of the house of representatives, we only need a majority, or 218 seats. To win each of those seats, only slightly more than half of the voters in their districts have to vote for them. So we, the People, can gain immediate and direct control of the house of representatives if only a little more than half of us voters in a little more than half of our voting districts vote for "us" instead of "them". That amounts to just slightly more than a mere 25% of the voters around the country. The rest can still vote for a party candidate if they want to, and in this scenario we'd still gain control of the house of representatives! 

How about the senate? There are 100 senators, but only 1/3 of them run in each election. Each senator represents everyone in their state, and the states have an average of over 6 million people. Only ONE of them needs to run for a seat in the senate as an independent, and only in the states where there's a senate race. A majority of the senate is 51, which is more than can be elected in a single election cycle. So it will take at least two election cycles for us voters to gain control of the senate. So we need to win as many senate seats as possible in every general election to obtain and maintain a majority in the senate.  

And of course, the nation as a whole has well over 300 million people, and only ONE of them needs to run for president as a non-politician. About half of the rest of us just have to vote for that person, by lifting a finger in the voting booth.  

The 2016 election was interesting because a political outsider, Donald Trump, gained traction and won. But is Donald Trump really representative of YOU? A billionaire born to a rich family, who lives atop a skyscraper he developed himself in the financial capital of the Americas? Sure he's not a politician, but he's not one of us either. The most important thing Trump tries to sell us on is that he can make a better deal for us than the politicians can. Think about it. To make the kinds of deals Trump is bragging about requires jockeying for position, and applying pressure to various parties, and making backroom deals, and bending the truth. But isn't that what politicians do? His biggest selling feature is that he's better at politics than politicians are? How is that supposed to make anything better? And as we've seen, his administration is plagued by chaos and fact spinning. If politicians weren't regarded as such scoundrels, would he even have been taken seriously? Sure, Trump may know how to out-do politicians at their own game. But is he someone we can rely on to think of our needs above anything else? Or is he more likely to think of setting the stage for when he's back in business?

It’s not at all clear president Trump is actually trying to support the needs of average Americans. But what is clear is that he has taken us down paths we didn’t expect, and it makes us nervous. On the international stage, he has gone out of his way to personally antagonize the undisputed leader of a hostile nuclear power, on his own initiative and without provocation. And, without due care to avoid triggering another world war. He has offended long-standing allies, and adversely affected our relations with them. He has brazenly promoted a closer relationship with Russia while benefiting from its apparent interference in our election process. He has upended initiatives to improve international trade, and to reduce global warming. He did this not by trying to drive a better bargain as he promised, but by quitting the field of play. He has single-handedly diminished the international stature and power of the United States, to the advantage of our historical adversaries. On the domestic front, Trump populated his cabinet and heads of federal agencies with millionaires, and even a few billionaires, who appear not to know or care what average folks want and need. He addressed healthcare not by improving it, but by making it harder to access for People of modest means. He promoted and signed into law changes in the tax system that greatly benefit corporations and the wealthy, but do very little for the middle and under classes. All while adding trillions to the national deficit. And that’s just in the first year of his presidency. Thus far, it’s hard to pinpoint anything he’s done to ease the burdens or promote the freedom, privacy, or safety of us ordinary citizens.

Of course, the overwhelming majority of the incumbents and major party candidates are politicians to the marrow. It's ridiculous to suppose any career politician will ever refuse to participate in "politics as usual". But an alternative, non-politician candidate relying most heavily on the help of regular folks like us can promise to do exactly that, and can make good on that promise if elected.  

So how should we proceed? As we know, to run for a seat in the house, you have to be at least 25 years old, and a U.S. citizen for at least seven years, and you may have to run in the electoral district where you live. If you're not sure which district that is, just look it up. Here is a link to a detailed map of all of the congressional districts in the United States. Every seat in the entire house of representatives is up for election every two years. So, in every single national election, a new majority of 218 non-politicians can be elected in the house of representatives, and even a new super-majority of 290. The founders set it up this way so that we ordinary citizens can completely refresh the entire house every two years, so that we can stop the government in its tracks if needed. And it's needed now.

To run for a seat in the senate, you have to be at least 30 years old, and a U.S. citizen for at least nine years, and run in the state where you live. As we've seen, it'll take at least two election cycles to obtain a majority of 51. It's not even possible to win 1/2 of the senate in a single election, let alone 2/3. And winning the presidency by a non-politician in any election is a long shot. But winning a majority of seats in the house of representatives is a real possibility. So, what can we accomplish with only a simple majority of the house, and without the support of the senate or the president?

The answer is, we can do plenty. As we've seen, if we win a majority in just the house of representatives, we won't be able to repeal, modify, or pass any new laws of our own, and we won't be able to override a presidential veto if we do manage to get a bill passed by both the house and the senate. But for the politicians to pass any laws, they also need a majority of both houses. So even with a majority only in the house, we'll be able to stop politicians from passing any new laws, simply by voting against them. If politicians try to pass a law we don't like, either because it doesn't serve the people well or because it's too complicated to understand, we can vote against it and keep it from passing in the house. If a law includes a sunset provision that will cause it to expire, we can refuse to vote for an extension and just let it expire. Furthermore, the federal budget is approved every year by law. So we can refuse to pass a federal budget that includes an obscene amount of money for things we don't approve of. So, even though we won't be able to change the laws we already have, we'll at least be able stop politicians from making any more bad ones. We can stop the insanity of dangerous, irresponsible, and corrupt lawmaking and spending we've all been putting up with, and force the federal government turn on a dime after every single national election. Let's do it!

And then let's do what's needed to gain control of the senate as well, so we can start making laws that don't offend our common sense. Laws that protect our own lives and property, and increase our own freedom, and give us greater control over our own future, and promote our own individual pursuit of happiness. Which is precisely what the founders intended when they invented our republic.

Here is a list of all of the federal political races in the upcoming election. If you've managed to get on the ballot and you're not a politician, then please let us know which district you're in. If it's too late to get on the ballot in your district, then find out if you can still run as a write-in, and please let us know if you can. We'll post your name on this site, and a link to your website if you have one. This will let your constituents know they can rely on you to refuse to participate in business-as-usual politics! And, if enough of us run in different congressional districts, the voters will also know that voting for any one of us is really a vote for a new, more effective congress!

For those of us who decide to run in an election, we need to get our names out there so our neighbors can vote for us. Let's see how that can be done without spending a lot of money or a lot of time we don't have to spare. But before we leave this topic, let's take a closer look at what's involved in getting on the ballot, so we can begin to prepare for future elections, and work to reform ballot access.

And finally, if you haven't done so yet, PLEASE take another moment, right now, to consider posting a link to this site on a social network, or sending a link in an email to a contact list. Or doing whatever you're willing to do, anything at all. If you're not willing to do anything different, then don't expect a different result. And don't ever complain when politicians do things you think are just plain dumb, or too expensive, or ineffective to help ease ordinary folks' burdens, or is otherwise bad for the People. You can get involved, right now, and do something about it. Something that's free, and easy, and convenient. Even if you reach out to just one other person, you will have doubled your voting-related footprint! If politicians are the only ones willing to run for elective office, and they're the only ones you're willing to talk about and vote for, then you should realize that YOU, personally, are helping them maintain control of our government. As far as you're concerned at least, politicians don't even have to struggle for control. You're handing it to them. And they'll continue to make laws that infringe our Constitutional rights, and favor corporations, and delve into areas that are none of their business and they have no legitimate Constitutional authority to go.