The long road to fixing politics

Steven Barnum, News editor

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If you’re like me, you’re repulsed by how our political process works. The road to fixing it is a long journey, but I have several possible solutions.

Firstly, the 2020 Presidential Election is 20 months in the future, but the race is already well underway. This creates a never-ending cycle that puts too much emphasis on elections and not enough on coming up with ideas to solve current problems. Scheduling primaries and debates this far in advance distracts politicians from the already-thin chance they have of working together to accomplish something. Drastically slashing the timeline of elections would eliminate months of pointless news coverage.

Secondly, voter turnout in the United States is embarrassingly low. I’d be in favor of making Election Day a national holiday. I don’t just say this because I’m about to join the workforce and I’d appreciate another holiday, but that doesn’t hurt either. If it could be done securely and safely, I’d also be in favor of allowing citizens to vote online. One or both of these changes would hopefully drive up interest and give people fewer excuses to abstain from voting.

Thirdly, countless politicians remain in power for too long. They get complacent and lose motivation to push for change since their name recognition carries them to multiple re-elections. Term limits would force them to focus on making decisions to benefit the voters as opposed to their donors and their career in politics. This would greatly reduce the number of New England Patriots-like dynasties that exist today in the Senate or Congress and give new candidates a chance.

Next, politics are too divisive with party labels. Many local candidates choose whatever party label isn’t taken or even change their party affiliation to whichever one they think will help them the most, which shows that they are often irrelevant. Stripping party labels would encourage candidates to be more authentic and worry less about catering to a certain voter base. As voters, we may hear more of their ideas and be less inclined to choose one side over the other, like we often feel pressured to do.

Lastly, politicians can essentially buy their way into office. We saw this with Bruce Rauner and J.B. Pritzker, who each broke spending records to become the latest two governors of Illinois. Even if candidates use their own money, this still shows the wealth privilege in politics. An amendment to get money out of politics would create a more level playing field and introduce us to a crop of candidates who truly represent our interests. Elections should not come down to just the wealthiest people or their fundraising capabilities.

These ideas are intended to make our political system more fair and tolerable, while also giving power to more ordinary and overlooked voices. I find it unlikely that any of these will ever happen considering that they don’t benefit the status quo, but maybe the Illuminati will read this article and grant my wishes. Until then, we can continue to endure our lackluster system.

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