Review: Nation on the Take – How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy

4 Star, Democracy
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman

4 Stars New Material on One Old Issue — Neglects the Other Eleven Electoral Reform Issues

There is new material in this book, the authors are passionate, informed, and articulate, and they raise an issue that is of vital importance. However, and I list ten other books below to make the point, this is not a new issue, nor is it the whole issue. There are twelve separate electoral reforms that must be implemented together, in a single simultaneous Electoral Reform Act, if we are to restore integrity to how we elect our representatives (at all three levels — the authors excel at showing how state and local initiatives are changing the fund-raising dynamic).

935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America's Moral Integrity
Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders
Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny
Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
The Ambition and the Power: The Fall of Jim Wright: A True Story of Washington

Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism
Escaping the Matrix: How We the People can change the world
Extreme Democracy
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World that Works for All
Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

I am the top Amazon reviewer for non-fiction, reading in 98 categories. I have posted a free online essay, Democracy Lost, with one hundred of my Amazon views organized to support that short essay (tiny url dot com forward slash Steele-Reform). Call this book one hundred and one, but I am not doing a long form review in part because too much money is not the core problem; too little integrity is the core problem.

The twelve issues contained in the Electoral Reform Act that Bernie Sanders and his staff have six times refused to introduce on the Hill (note how #12 would eliminate Hillary Clinton's super-delegates) are as follows, based on five years of aggregation that began with the Occupy working group on electoral reform and crystallized during my brief candidacy for the Reform Party's presidential nomination (which led to many people getting in touch with me — these are their ideas, not mine):

01 Universal Registration + Prisoners Vote
02 Free & Equal Ballot Access (I had to run for president to learn we have EIGHT accredited national parties, six of them blocked)
03 Tightly-Drawn Districts (end of gerrymandering)
04 Free & Equal Public Funding
05 Free & Equal Media Access
06 Inclusive Debates + Cabinet Debates with Cabinets announced in advance of Election Day)
07 Open Primaries
08 Election Day Holiday + Free Public Transport
09 Paper Ballots + Exit Polls
10 End Winner Take All Voting (e.g. Instant Run-Off)
11 Legislative Process Integrity — all legislation posted in advance, no secret clauses)
12 Proportional delegate assignment based on voter choice, no super-delegates unique to each party

Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge

Dr. Russell Ackoff used to talk to the need to stop trying to do the wrong things righter, do the right thing. Getting money out of politics is tired. Necessary, but insufficient. Having a national discussion — an Electoral Reform Summit and a nation-wide Living Room Conversation — about electoral reform in all its possible permutations — that would be wired.

With liberty and justice for all,
ROBERT David STEELE Vivas (a white Latino, yes, they come in all colors)
Democracy Riots! We are all black now – deal with it.

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