Logically this isn’t as complex as many think. One of those problems over-analyzed, over-discussed, over-complicated by everyone with an oar in the political river.
Two-Party system. No reason exists to change this and lots of reasons exist not to. Adding new parties transforms a presidential system into a parliamentary system. Yet without the ability to have a government fall when failing a Vote of Confidence because of fixed presidential terms, a multi-party system based on coalitions cannot work. Changing this would entail many very transformative Constitutional amendments. Those are very hard to pass, and for good reasons. The fact that we won’t be changing the presidential terms at any time in the new or distant future argues strongly against more political parties. And it isn’t as though one party has a monopoly on idiocy – – or intellect.
Honesty in the Media. This is hard to track, gauge or change, and it ought to be up to the market to do so anyway. There is no way to “watch the watchers” should any individual or group take this on. Honesty in politics is in the eye of the beholder. Besides, America never has been served by unbiased media. Even – especially – in the days of the Founders, newspapers were biased – historically so. Today’s bias pales in comparison, frankly. Not a serious discussion on fixing our politics.
Attracting good people to office. In George Washington’s second term, Jefferson quit as Secretary of State. The first seven men approached by George Washington to fill that position declined due to the incredible partisanship of attacks – far more vicious than today’s attacks – against the nominees and their families. America has always had partisan press. It is very hard to fix. One can’t define “Honest and Objective,” any more than “Fair and Balanced.” This is not a serious issue.
Recognizing failures and voting them out. The concept of Term Limits regularly rears its head. Again – not serious. We have term limits; they are called, “elections.” The problem is in continually returning to office politicians not acting in the best interests of the voters. No one is going to change the tendency of politicians toward corruption. They have a job and they need to keep it to pay their mortgages, grocery bills, etc. They aren’t particularly experienced or trained to find a real job should they be turned out of office. To think they won’t dissemble to keep that job is unrealistic. It is up to the voters to recognize the problems of the politicians they elect, voting them out when those politicians fail.
The problem is that recognizing the failure of a politician to perform for the public good requires an understanding of the public good. But the public good must be judged within the context of that public. For example: Why taxpayers in Seattle should pay federal tax dollars that go to improvements in the Los Angeles Harbor – which will then draw shipping traffic and jobs away from Seattle’s port – is beyond me. (If Los Angeles wants a better harbor and more jobs, let L.A. or CA taxpayers pay for it.) But Congressmen from some states send tax money to projects that draw jobs away from their states. Voters return to Congress office holders who continually vote against the interests of those constituents, from farm subsidies to highway bills to foreign aid. Voters need to be aware of this and act accordingly.
Redistricting. The continual fights over redistricting to enable one constituency’s dominance over another are silly in the 21st Century. It would not be at all difficult to write a computer program to start at a corner of a state (said corner rotating with each new census), and group together zip codes, covering the smallest total geographic area (to ensure the closest alignment of issues – rural/urban, etc.) until the population of a Congressional District is reached. Then the program would begin with the next open zip code and do the same thing until the redistricting is complete. In this way we could have Congressional Districts actually representative of their constituents, not held by specific interests of any type. This would provide for more competitive races – and better government. Nor would it require a Constitutional Amendment; it is up to the States to establish how they determine their Representative. In the event some think it must be done nationally, all the better, frankly. And it if takes an Amendment ultimately, it is worth fighting for as it is very difficult to see how our government again becomes responsible to the electorate without changing our methods of creating Congressional (and state) Districts. On both sides.
Education. The lack of recognition of the above issues is due to the single most important issue facing our country (and given our country’s place in the world as the primary creator of jobs and wealth globally, the most important issue facing the world): The complete failure of our K-12 education system. Addressing the failure of our education system is the only way to improve our government.
That this failure is real, and not just figments of the imaginations of Conservatives, is evidenced by the numbers of Democrat politicians schooling their children away from unionized teachers. The unions (and the Democrat Party talking points, paid for by their largest contributor – the teacher unions) can advertise all they want about needing more money to do the same old (failing) thing, but in reality everyone in this country who can afford to do so already has removed their children from unionized schools, or moved to a district or state or municipality in which teacher unions lack the kind of power they retain in California, Illinois, Washington DC and every other major state and city.
Elites on both sides of the political aisle, from Washington, DC to Chicago to NY to Hollywood and across the nation, educate their children as far from unionized teachers as they can. More need not be said.
It is past time to outlaw unionized teachers – by Amendment if necessary (no matter how hard that is because this is the base of our future).
It is difficult to see how we improve our government without improving our education. Specifically it is impossible to improve our education without removing a rent-seeking union from the total control of that education.
Unions have controlled education for over 40 years. They have failed their students, their society and their country. It is time for them to go.