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The Political Fix: Changing the Game of American Democracy, from the Grassroots to the White House Hardcover – January 5, 2010
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“This is a perceptive and provocative look at how our democracy works—and doesn’t. I don’t agree with all of it—for example, I think Bork deserved to be Borked—but THE POLITICAL FIX challenges settled assumptions and proposes bold reforms that range from grassroots empowerment to the way we elect Presidents. It’s a charter for a new kind of politics.”—Bob Shrum
About the Author
Douglas E. Schoen has been a Democratic Party adviser for the past thirty years. A founding partner of Penn, Schoen, and Berland, he was President Clinton’s strategic consultant during the 1996 reelection campaign and has advised New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, Indiana governor Evan Bayh, and former British prime minister Tony Blair. The author of five books, including Declaring Independence, he lives in New York City.
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While I don't agree with all of his proposed solutions, he did a great job documenting sources in the "notes" near the back of the book!
The solution that I have the most dislike for is the idea of eliminating the electoral college. It does to some extent balance out the relevance of smaller, less populous states. Without it states like California and New York would be emphasized far more and would render the smaller states almost irrelevant. Not a good or fair idea in my opinion.
Mr. Schoen offers a myriad of ideas to reform our broken system.
I think he excelled in the section regarding the Judicial system. One of his criticisms was the nasty, attack ads in judicial elections. Seeing one in my state recently, I whole-heartedly agree with the author.
He accurately pinpointed major concerns and provided some very good solutions.
This is a short list of potentially good solutions in the book:
+ Open Primaries.
We have them in Wisconsin and they work well for us.
+ Free air time for presidential candidates.
This would also address the high cost of campaigns.
+ Make election day a national holiday.
He isn't the first to offer it, but a great idea that may spark higher voter turnout.
+ Lobbyist regulations.
Force Congress to disclose contact with lobbies and also ban lobbyists from all political fundraisers.
+ Expand voter-candidate contact in debates.
This was used in the last presidential debates via online sites and other questions directly from voters and it spiced up an otherwise dull event.
+ Merit selection of judges.
Eliminate elections and insure the independence of the judiciary.
+ Abolish senate "holds".
Particularly in judicial appointments, one Senator can anonymously block an appointment for a number of days with no justification needed.
On page 92 Mr. Schoen summed up why we still have a broken system-
"It's not that we don't know how to fix our politics. It's that we haven't yet summoned the will to do what needs to be done."
There are potential improvements for our ailing political system in this book. Despite disagreeing with some of the solutions, I recommend this book for it's effort, mostly bipartisan criticism, and it's creative ideas.