This article is based on a report, OUR COMMON PURPOSE, produced in June, 2020, by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In his New Yorker article of 11/16/20, Evan Osnos likened the report to the civic equivalent of the 9/11 Commission Report. It offers bipartisan recommendations in the form of six Strategies, with between two and eight recommendations per strategy.
Voice and representation. The debate over the electoral college, which in recent history, has resulted in three presidents taking office with a lower actual vote count than their competition, has raised the question of who gets to be heard in the selection of a president. The weakening, in 2013, of the protections in the national Voting Rights Act raises questions about voice and representation, as does the expanding range of methods to disenfranchise eligible voters.
STRATEGY 1: Achieve Equality of Voice and Representation
This strategy includes the following 8 recommendations:
- Substantially enlarge the House of Representatives through federal legislation to make it and the Electoral College more representative of the nation’s population.
- Introduce ranked-choice voting in presidential, congressional, and state elections.
- Amend or repeal and replace the 1967 law that mandates single-member districts for the ouse, so that states have the option to use multi-member districts on the condition hat they adopt a non-winner-take-all election model.
- Support adoption, through state legislation, of independent citizen-redistricting commissions in all fifty states. Complete nationwide adoption, through federal legislation, that requires fair ngressional districts to be determined by state-established independent citizen-redistricting commissions; allows these commissions to meet criteria with non-winner-take-all models; and provides federal funding for these state processes, with the goal of establishing national consistency in procedures.
- Amend the Constitution to authorize the regulation of election contributions and spending to eliminate undue influence of money in our political system, and to protect the rights of all Americans to free speech, political participation, and meaningful representation in government.
- Pass strong campaign-finance disclosure laws in all fifty states that require full transparency for campaign donations, including from 501(c)(4) organizations and LLCs.
- Pass “clean election laws” for federal, state, and local elections through mechanisms such as public matching donation systems and democracy vouchers, which amplify the power of small donors.
- Establish, through federal legislation, eighteenyear terms for Supreme Court justices with appointments staggered such that one nomination comes up during each term of Congress. At the end of eir term, justices will transition to an appeals court or, if they choose, to senior status for the remainder of their life tenure, which would allow them to determine how much time they spend hearing cases on an appeals court.
End of Strategy 1 recommendations.
For the full report in pdf form, go to https://www.amacad.org/ourcommonpurpose