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How to break money’s grip upon the government

 

It would seem that American democracy is in a downward “death spiral”. The masses of people do not control their own government; and there seems to be no way that popular control can be regained.

Two long-standing political parties, the Democrats and Republicans, dominate the electoral process. They each have their constituencies and sets of issues. The common denominator, however, is money. Money buys influence with both parties. Policies such as free trade which benefit the moneyed-interests have support both among Republicans and Democrats. There is no one, at least with money, who supports the general or public interest.

Obviously, there are certain policies that have gained general acceptance under the present system. One would be uniform support for Israel. Another would be a large and active defense establishment. Still another would be sympathy for victimized minorities although, in practice, this sentiment is not always acted upon. Also, we defer important policy decisions to the unelected judiciary. Down the line, involving divided loyalties, would be such issues as gun control, abortion, labor rights, and gay rights. There are people who fervently support or oppose each position. Their various enthusiasms decide the outcome of certain elections.

What we have, then, is a patchwork of competing special interests influencing public officials who are, in turn, elected under the auspices of the Democratic and Republican parties. One would hope that motivated individuals could affect the political process by starting with the local political parties and then gain influence, or even be elected to public offices, by persistent and effective activity. Even then, however, government policy would be hopelessly split between the two parties’ interest groups. And, on a national level, the challenge of making significant change is too great to accomplish much of anything. There is no common interest.

One should recognize that, to be elected to a major public office, candidates need to be able to communicate their message to voters. If their prospective constituencies are large, they have neither time nor energy to knock on doors and talk individually to a significant number of voters. They either start small, where such contact is possible, or they run for office under a party’s brand name which is already widely known. Increasingly, however, these candidates must rely upon the commercial media to get their name and message out.

The media has communication access to the mass of voters whose support is needed to be elected to public office. We have the romantic idea that largely unknown but virtuous candidates such as ourselves will catch the eye of an influential political reporter or editorial writer who will take fancy to our insightful ideas or compelling personalities and will write about us often and in a sympathetic way so that the wider public becomes inclined to vote for us. Nowadays, however, reporters cover the horserace aspect of elections more than they do candidate positions. Also, the news coverage given to political events has steadily declined. Reporters today seem more interested in gaffes and other negative information about candidates than they do in reporting the positive, informative aspects of election campaigns.

Instead, if we as candidates want to appear in the media with anything resembling a positive image, we will have to pay our own way to this coverage through advertisements and commercials. This is especially true of the all-powerful television medium. Through paid commercials, we can project the images that we want to our intended audience, the voters. But the media will not run these commercials for free. That means that, to air the commercials, we must either be independently wealthy or we must raise the money from well-heeled contributors.

However, contributors to political campaigns generally want something from the candidate once he or she is elected to public office. Wealthy contributors generally want government policies that will help them maintain or increase their wealth. Campaign contributions plus hordes of paid lobbyists who roam the halls of Congress or state legislatures increasingly call the tune of policies that will be adopted by government. That’s the problem. Money calls the tune.

It would appear that, because of the bone-crushing need for political candidates to raise money for television commercials and thereby communicate with voters, the forces of money have an iron-clad grip on government and its policies under our bipartisan system. Real democracy is dead. Here Gold Party enters the picture. The scheme of gaining political power that is proposed in an organization called “Gold Party” offers a way around public captivity to the interests of money. If the media will not offer access to voters other than through paid commercials, then the voters will come to the candidate directly in an organization that excites and captures their interest. Candidates will then no longer need media coverage. The voters, knowing about them in other ways, will already be inclined to vote for them.

The trick is to build up membership in a political organization to the point that its candidates can win elections. The standard way is to try to find a package of compelling issues. But, again, the problem is that people are hopelessly divided in their positions on proposed government policy. To take a strong stand on a particular policy (such as abortion or gun control) will arouse opposition that will defeat the policy. We must therefore find policies that will not arouse opposition. Is that even possible?

Political activists, of whatever stripe, all want the same thing. They want power. They want influence over government’s coercive power. While an organization of power is being constructed, its promise of particular government action does not have to be specified. There does not have to be a certain policy to be supported. The common policy of Gold Party members is a pledge to themselves by abide by the rules of the organization with respect to sharing power when the goal of seizing control of government has been achieved. Therefore, we do not have to find a particular policy or issue so compelling in its excellence that everyone agrees it should be pursued. All we have to do is promise power to the members. By this is meant that the individual participating in the organization, Gold Party, receives his or her fair share of the power, as the rules propose that it be distributed, when it captures the government.

The idea of “one man, one vote”, while equitable and fair in terms of democratic control of government, is not realistic in terms of acquiring political control of government. This is the socialist idea that everyone gets an equal share of the pie regardless of who baked it. More realistically, the one who contributed most in baking the pie should have the largest share. We therefore need incentives for people to do work for the organization more than we do idealistic pronouncements about equality. In this case, we need incentives for individuals to help build up Gold Party to the point that it has enough members and enough influence to take over the government. Then government power can be used as its members want.

Political power within a democratic scheme of government is exercised through voting rights. If not directly involved in government operations, we vote for our representatives who will set policy. Therefore, the rules of Gold Party should prescribe that the members have voting rights within its organization based on some calculation of their contribution to building up the party to the point of being able to capture the government. The individual members would have power in proportion to the number of votes they have within Gold Party. In other words, there would be a system of unequal voting. It would be a system of voting weighted according to a member’s contribution to Gold Party’s goals and objectives.

It would not be helpful to declare in absolute terms how this system of voting would work. Something must be proposed, but the scheme can be changed with experience. Elsewhere on this site is a page making suggestions about the basis of the weighted voting. Each member should be given credit for his or her own membership, for bringing others into the organization, for doing organizational work, etc. A certain number of votes would be assigned to each individual based on the total number of points (credit) received. All group decisions would then be made on the basis of those votes as opposed to the system of equal voting followed by most political organizations. This scheme frankly mimics what money has accomplished by assigning an unequal share of wealth to people on the basis of their supposed contributions to a business or to society by themselves or by an ancestor. The incentive to bring others into the organization also resembles pyramid schemes of selling.

This, then, is the essential insight that underlies Gold Party: There is an incentive for politically interested individuals to work to build up its organization if they receive credit for their individual contributions to its growth and well being and if that credit can later be translated into real government power or its benefits. The promise of receiving an unequal share of government power or its benefits is what motives people to do work for Gold Party, even as the promise of achieving an unequal degree of wealth is what motivates people to work hard to build up a business or their career position within a business. People need to be given credit for their work - and more credit if they do more work than usual. The scheme of unequal voting within Gold Party would satisfy that requirement.

It will take motivated individuals to make this dream a reality. The system is arranged so that people who get into the Gold Party system will tend to acquire more points and votes than people who joined later on. Therefore, join now on the ground floor of this new organization. Gold Party is what you and your early-joining colleagues choose to make of this opportunity.

At the risk of offending some, I would say that the sky is the limit in what can be accomplished with political power. The communists confiscated the wealth people had gained in previous societies and also executed many rich people. Gold Party would have a similar power derived not from violent revolution but through lawful and peaceful exercise of democratic processes. However, it could, if it wished, translate the Gold Party votes directly into money if it controlled the government. Anything would become legal which was accomplished through exercise of government power. Realistically, however, Gold Party would have to restrain its more extreme appetites and ambitions to maintain the loyalty of its members. We would then have a system both catering to personal greed (as capitalism does) and seeking the best interests of people as a whole in society.

To return to the original theme, there is a way of breaking money’s present control of government. It is to create an alternative system of power in the political sphere which mimics money’s operation in the business sphere. It is also to create a structure of people - an organization - which brings voters into direct contact with each other and with political candidates and aspirations at party meetings so that the voters do not need to get their political direction from media whose messages are bought with money. If people freely buy into Gold Party and its objectives, they will already be inclined to vote for its candidates to public office.

The scheme of Gold Party is a new idea whose time will come when someone realizes its potential and seizes upon the opportunity. This website gives you keys to the kingdom. You will know if you are interested in having them and can use them effectively.

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