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A Minor Change in Political Concept, But Profound in the Positive Ways Our Lives Will Be Affected

Progressive Term Limits? In America?

A Populist Nonpartisan Perspective On Politics

By Rich Stevenson ÓMay 22, 2004
Interim Acting Chair of the Hamilton County IVA

IVA LeadershipYou create this country. You elect the leaders who will create our future. With nothing but bipartisan candidates on the ballot we have few choices. We have even fewer good choices. Our lives are short. Political parties far outlive us. Even our great, great, great grandparents, long dead, would not be able to remember the beginning of the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. Political parties have the advantage of immortality. You and I do not. What we do to safeguard our country for the next generations, must be done today. We are mortal.

One hundred Senators and 435 Representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives control every aspect and quality of our lives.

Enron and the constant scandals over the past several decades prove the need to throw career politicians out on their collective butts.

535 members of congress are equal to two one-millionths of our 273,605,861* population. That is the tail of a flea wagging a huge galaxy size dog. It makes no sense to me to send the same people to run our lives for 10 to 20 to 30 years or more at a time. Few, if any, congressional representatives merit long term service. There may be one such exception. If you know of one please let me know. However, the vast majority of congressional representatives only work to maintain their careers and prestige. Most of us are deluded enough to have a few heroes in congress. I know of none. Well, there is independent Rep. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont. Also, independent Senator Jim Jeffords, of Vermont, who quit the Republican Party so he could vote his conscience in the U.S. Senate.
*U.S. Census Population Clock on 9-26-99

I have my reservations about the entire system of bipartisan incumbency. Never has so much been done for so few for no reason.


Progressive Majority for Re-Election: A simple solution might be to progressively increase the percentage of the vote needed by an incumbent to be re-elected each election cycle. We could add 5% for every two years of term. First term Congress, 50% of Instant Runoff Votes. Second term Congress, 55% of Instant Runoff Votes, until by the Tenth term, 20 years, 100% would be needed. A second term Senator would have to get 65% of Instant Runoff Votes. 80% for the third Senatorial term, 95% for the fourth Senatorial term, and 100% thereafter.

When an incumbent is eliminated in the first instant runoff, one of the other candidates would win in one of the subsequent instant runoffs with over 50% of the vote. Every elected public servant would be elected by at least a simple majority of all votes cast. (Top of Page)

To make re-election even tougher for incumbents, put the word Incumbent on the ballot, not the incumbent's name, so people are not wandering into the voting booth and voting for a familiar name without knowing who the person is or what they stand for. You cannot know who candidates are from today's negative sound bite ads. The familiar incumbent name should not be on the ballot as an obvious easy choice, a safe haven used to avoid the uncertainty of less familiar candidate names. Eliminate impulse re-election based upon easy media produced name recognition. (Your Voice)

 Yes, I think a Congress person could probably get one of my votes for as long as he ran. Nevertheless, there are none on my ballot who would deserve to be re-elected. For example, Rep. Steve Chabot would need an 85% progressive majority vote to be re-elected in 2006. Instant Runoff Voting is a supremely fair way to elect the alternate winner from among all candidates for an office, when the incumbent does not win re-election. The ballot could include another candidate from the incumbent's party to give the voters a second choice in the same party.

I would like to see a lot of new faces on Capitol Hill after each election. We need populist nonpartisan candidates and candidates from all parties, not just from the bipartisan two-party monopoly, which I perceive as a wholly owned subsidiary of international Corporate America. As of today, we have a permanent corporate-run incumbent government. In the current election system corporate interests always come before the interests of human citizens. Before you and me.

New people in office are the most promising means to avoid empowering a permanent self-serving ruling elite in control of our governments. 

I would like to live long enough to see my country free. Long enough to see a country for all the people. The need to reduce incumbent re-election applies in local government, in Columbus, Ohio, and in Washington DC. Cast your vote against bipartisan incumbent candidates in every election.

A public office is not a career incumbent entitlement. Incumbents are not entitled to keep what they call “my job.” At the point they begin to serve “their career” they no longer fully serve in the public interest.


Your Responsibility: Who gives a Democrat or a Republican the right to stay in public office for 10, 20, 30, or 50 years? You do, every time you waste your vote on a Democrat or a Republican. You do, every time you stay home and fail to vote to elect a nonpartisan non-incumbent to public office. Remember in November! Use your vote to elect fellow populist nonpartisans to public office. You win a voice in the political process. You win a government of the people.


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rls/May 22, 2004

edit: 11-14-05, 07-24-06, 10-03-06, 12-25-06, 05-11-08, 09-23-08, 03-23-09,
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