Electoral Summit Conference Call Notes
The electoral reform act was discussed and we reached consensus that while the bill is an outstanding effort worthy of passing, it is too complex for the average citizen to support without an extensive education campaign, and therefore not passable in the short run. And, there are also provisions in it that likely would not garner supermajority support.
However, time is of the essence, and now is likely that time. There is angst in the country from a broad spectrum of groups both conservative and liberal. A greater middle seems to be forming—that is pragmatic, centrist, realist and tolerant. And no real change for the 99 will come until the entrenched duopoly the two parties have which is funded by all forms of lobbyists is broken up.
If all the aspects of electoral form were subjected to a focus group, real, researched, and/or blinked, and the items that had supermajority support were found and packaged, there could be a pledge crafted that would be “bulletproof” for passage. Something a vast supermajority of people could go viral on.
We discussed Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point Theory. There needs to be collectors of data, people, and answers.
DATA: We need to get to a consensus supermajority bill summary/pledge as soon as possible. Some aspects as Term Limits are already shown to have about a 75% approval rating with the general public. We need to determine by either focus groups, like aGREATER.US, or existing research, what the bill should be appraised of. If say 300 people went on to the Election section of aGREATER.US and posted all aspect of electoral reform, then rated them, we might get a consensus quickly. And that consensus could be edited to be compelling and catchy. That could be tested by independent polling if we can raise the funds to proof it out. Or we could take “blink” bills from http://www.rebuilddemocracy.org/strategy (term limits, end gerrymandering, and get money out of politics) or Robert Steele’s summary. Bottom line we need an easily explained, simple, meaningful, passable pledge. It was also brought up to include the arts on the eventual website to draw in the viewer.
PEOPLE/Groups: It was thought that once we had a clean, simple, strong message, that the Modern Whigs and the Centrist Party could start assembling a coalition of hundreds of groups to co-sponsor the pledge. The goal is to go viral. And approach groups like Occupy and cultural creatives and Tea partiers to sign on. There are also nonprofits who have funds but would need to see a powerful coalition building to offer funding support for advertising, and related advocacy expenses.
ANSWERS: Once we know what the bill is we can field the objections from the early adapters and gather the best answers to get to “yes”, and an early majority.
Candidate Pledges: Start with contested races to pry a signature out of the trailing candidate. Once enough contested races have yielded enough early pledgers we can post the pledges on a website for tracking with the pledge downloadable for advocates to wave at the candidates.
GREATER BILL: As a plan B, rating the pledge bill on www.aGREATER.US would easily get it onto the GREATER BILL which would add other advocates passionate and interested by non electoral issues to join in with the other two winning bills. And the added benefit of the Star Salute hand sign. A coalition of the willing.
States: Since the bill may require a constitutional convention of the states, state organizing becomes critical. That could also be leveraged by the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact which is a State issue, which has broad support of the public, and is deliciously local and has the added benefit of being doable (already 49% complete). A quick win here would be galvanizing to a weary citizenry.
We agreed to meet again by phone, but our facilitator (Jon Denn) has a conflict for next Wednesday so is kindly asking we do it Tuesday 4pm to 6pm instead.
In the meantime we will work by “reply all” emails to include editing this summary, setting an agenda for the next meeting, making progress on the three working groups, and bringing other interested individuals into the core. If the group grows past 20 we will have to find a different way to “meet’ as the group dynamic of a teleconference maxes at about 20.
Branding Idea. (this was not on the call, I just woke up with it)
The PRE— Plan
The Pledge to Reform Elections
“Before we will engage with you on the urgent issues of the day, we first need to know that you will restore elections to the people back from the duopoly funded by special interests lobbyists. If you will pledge to pass, Term Limits, Get Money Out of Politics, and Ban Gerrymandering, we will engage with you. If only your opponent does—we will only engage with her or him, and if neither of you do we will find a candidate who does.“ I,___________, pledge to support the PRE-plan for Election Reform.
Candidates who sign would be posted online as being PRE-Approved Candidates. The pledge can be modified for State and Federal candidates.
I grabbed the domain names PREplan.US and Pre-Plan.US, just in case the group liked the idea.
The PRE “prefix” also lends itself to clever point marking copy of