Part 1: The Original Design vs. Its Corrupt Replacement, the Party System
America's Founding Fathers loathed political parties. The Framers designed and wrote the Constitution to prevent them from taking over our government.
But few today even know where the clauses are that the Framers wrote to curtail the effects parties could have on our government.
PART I restores this lost history. In the Framers' own words, it shows how they thought about parties, and shows that their conscious goal was to restrict partisan effects on American government through the Constitutional design.
PART I details the Framers' anti-party clauses and shows exactly where they are, in the Constitution's text.
House Elections. The Veto. Impeachment Powers. Selection of US Senators. The Judicial Branch.
Part 2: Lost History: Origins of the Party System
In spite of the Framers' efforts, their inexperience with elections left a loophole in their marvelous Design. And parties used that loophole to take over our government, contrary to the Framers' intent..
This section looks at what led to the formation of the party system; who the catalytic personalities were, and the tactics of slander, fear mongering, and character assassination they used to bring it about.
PART II shows the historic genesis of the party system, and the corrupt, destructive tendencies imbedded in party DNA from the beginning. It explains why things don't change now, but only get worse. It explains why our government, meant to be "of the people", is now beyond the people's ability to rein in or correct.
It also surveys the lasting and destructive impact this party formation in the 1790's has had on American government ever since: on our elections, and on our culture, with the ongoing hostility between two behemoth camps which serve themselves--their clients, special interests, and ideological camps-- before the people.
Part 3: Restoring the People’s Power
Parties (which are simply organized, financed groups with an agenda) spring from human nature, The dilemma they present is this: they are, historically, destructive to republics; but they are also inevitable in any free society. The Framers' design was meant to provide the ability to include them, but NOT allow them to take over.
They took over anyway. And during that tumultuous process, the people's sovereignty was quietly taken from them, too. We as a nation have never fully faced this loss of sovereignty by the people, which has undermined our entire Constitutional premise.
After many years, to our great danger, we have devolved (evolved backwards) into a "parties-only" system: parties-only in control of government. Inevitable consequences have followed; and now result in two things:
First, government "of and by" parties has become government "for" parties. ("Party", here, again simply means, "an organized and financed group with an agenda.")
So Interest groups, lobbying groups, and ideological groups ("little parties") have become the priority of our party-dominated government (not the un-organized 'people').
For those in charge of it, this arrangement is much easier to manage. True republics are messy by comparison, and almost impossible to "manage", because the people are in charge.
But the people have now fallen to secondary status under the party system, and they know it. Government "of" the parties and "by" the parties has become government "for" the parties (of all different sizes).
Second, republican governments under party domination become slowly bastardized--they morph toward "manipulocracy" (government by those most skilled at manipulating the people).
This is what America has become: a party-dominated manipulocracy. We are on the way to losing our Republic, unless we can turn around this terrible historic trend toward more and more party domination.
Minimizing party power, animosity, and division will be the liberating phase of a long process of restoring power back to the people.
But first must come the 'sine qua non', the essential step: To regain access to the ballot for the people.
As former congressman Micky Edwards shows in his book The Parties Versus The People, our two parties maintain their complete domination of our government by controlling access to the ballot.
We Americans simply do not have the freedom to vote for whom we'd really love to be able to elect. Many of our best, most honest and proven citizens can never appear on a party-organized ballot. As independent citizens, who are not willing to submit themselves to party agendas or to vile party tactics, they do not "qualify".
They are excluded. And we are left to "hold our nose and pull the lever", as the cynics say. We are forced over and over to choose "the lesser of two evils".
This has gone on and on; the parties haven't changed.
This is freedom?
No. This is a party-organized, party-benefitting restriction of American freedom!
We must create a steady, well-vetted source of non-party candidates, or we will lose our Republic.
We must take this step by adopting the Right to Nominate amendment, providing an orderly mechanism for the people to nominate non-party candidates for public offices, thus restoring true freedom of choice..
Parties will always exist. Our constitutional goal must therefore be to give the people the upper hand over all parties, for good (meaning forever). Which is exactly how the Framers originally designed things to be, before the parties shoved their design aside and replaced it with the "party system".
The party system is NOT in the Constitution; a fact many Americans do not know, but they must become aware of it.
We must limit the harm parties can do while maximizing their potential benefits. This can only occur when the parties are checked by non-party candidates who can be voted in at every election, in whatever proportion or numbers the people may choose. Only power can check power.
This is the minimum requirement for the survival of America..
Real competition, in the context of liberty, will provide us our answer.
Primaries are not the answer. They provide only more party candidates.
And a third, fourth, or fifth party is no answer. That would only form a political snakeball, as occurs elsewhere around the world. It would mean MORE parties, more gridlock; more hypocrisy, more insider deals, etc., etc. All the defects of the party system, multiplied.
Our Constitution must provide a mechanism for the people to nominate their own candidates, to provide themselves non-party choices in every election; or else the parties will continue to overwhelm, to smother our elections. And if that goes much further, it will dismember and destroy our Republic.
Part 4: The Effects of Nominating Power
This section deals with the future of parties. Primaries were a step forward in their time, and still have some benefit, but in the end they are not a solution; they are less than a half-measure.
Everyone in a primary is either a party member or self-nominated; this is a severely limited menu
With what results? Always: more party candidates. What else?
The people of a republic must possess the power and the means, independent of the government and independent of all parties, to seek out and nominate their own candidates for public office.
Once the people are able to elect whatever numbers they may choose of their own freely nominated candidates, it follows that any influence parties might wield thereafter will have to be earned. Their influence will no longer be automatic, no longer total, no longer able to be casually and easily abused.
We have already acknowledged that parties will not disappear in any free republic. In fact, under the discipline of the voters, they may improve and do better than they have (i.e., be less corrupt and slanderous).
Once the people have the means at hand to keep them in line and discipline them whenever necessary, parties will likely become much more lean and efficient at serving the people.
CHAPTERS 11 THRU 13...
...are the real core of the book. This is where the breakthrough in Constitutional theory is found. Without this discovery being understood and embraced, the American republic can not long survive. And as America goes, so will go other Western democracies.
THE MISSING CORNERSTONE
This right, the Right to Nominate, is the missing cornerstone of representative government, the essential element without which the people can't exercise sovereignty. Two statements summarize this political principle:
The People Subjected
If the people do not have the power or means to nominate their own candidates, then they must necessarily remain subjected to the strategy and manipulation of those who do nominate candidates.
The People as Objects
If the people's Right to Nominate is lost, usurped or stolen, then the people lose their sovereignty and become Objects of manipulation.
When the people of a republic have lost or been deprived of their Right to Nominate, then they lose their sovereignty; and their government is almost certain to be debased: to be bastardized into manipulocracy- "government by those most skilled at manipulating the public".
This kind of republic is obviously not what the Framers tried to design. It is also not a republic that can, in the end, survive.
But sadly, it is what we have become, because of the ever-increasing effects of our not-in-the-Constitution party system. It is where we are presently mired.
Part 5: Not Reform, Restoration
“Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.”
—The Declaration of Independence
Americans long to be able to vote in a positive way that will be productive, that will bring real results to genuinely improve our nation’s life. That will be the end result of the Right to Nominate Amendment.
Reform within the party system is not enough and only lasts a few election cycles at the most. This section deals with restoring the constitutional design (sovereignty of the people), not with calling for reform.
We must stop the abysmal unchecked, unbalanced, liberty-restricting election system which gives up without a whimper and continually hands over complete dominance of government to the parties.
Part 6: Increasing Liberty Through Jury/Conventions
“Experience is a better guide than reason.”
The notion that the Federal Convention of 1787 was a sort of giant brainstorming session where all sorts of new ideas were batted around-- and somehow from this whirling mix the delegates invented a new government — is absurdly wrong. Like successful men in any field, the Framers adhered strongly to forms that had already been tested and proven through historical experience.
They were open to new ideas, but only if those ideas could pass a 'practical reality' test: Had such a structural arrangement been tried before? How did it work out? What were the reasons for its success or failure? And so on.
Likewise, we should choose the most appropriate, successful models from our history to construct a Constitutional method for publicly nominating non-party candidates. The two most successful models to apply are the Jury and the Convention.
This section of THE RIGHT TO NOMINATE details how the best features of the jury system and of conventions can be combined to form a nominating Body, drawn from the full voter registry (as juries are); sworn to do this service for the whole community (as juries do); and then meeting openly (as a Convention) to efficiently nominate, from a list of those recommended by the people, candidates who are proven in life through their honest conduct and honest treatment of fellow citizens, and through an earned reputation for fairness, ability, and good judgment.
TRUE CIVIL DISCOURSE
As such juries gather to consider possible candidates, they of course will meet with them and engage in face to face discussions. The list of possible candidates will be made up of names recommended by the people, as being the most respected persons in the community.
Not egotists, or self-promoters; not job-seekers or film-flam artists; not the boastful or liars, not people without morals or values, not accusers and dividers; NOT party politicians!
These will be people who have won the respect of those who know them. The discussions held with them will be open to public view; respectful; dedicated to honesty, full of courtesy; and conducted by their fellows and peers on the jury so as to elicit their honest thoughts,
Interviews will NOT be done by arrogant or biased or amoral media personalities who interfere and befoul public discussions in order to promote their own agenda.
What a powerful and honest, refreshing atmosphere for our elections! This is how it should have been, all along!
The parties, if they so choose, will remain free to roll in garbage at their own conventions, and try to blow the smell from that onto voters.
But the difference will be that the people will now have a real choice that includes an ever-renewed spring of 'people's nominees', as well as the usual party candidates. (Not a restricted, "parties-only" primary charade leading to more "parties-only" elite government for the benefit of a few.)
Part 7: The Proposed 28th Amendment
Below you will find the proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution. This proposal is disarmingly simple on its surface: uncomplicated but having wide-ranging effects, revolutionary in its impact but accessible to all, and almost common sensical while giving a permanent structure to what we already believe to be true — that ruling power belongs to the people.
The initial sentence is fixed, because it embodies an inalienable right.
While the rest is a draft proposal and not the final product, it's a strong start in the right direction and includes unchangeable elements: 1) Nominations must be solicited from the voters. Whether to suggest someone as a candidate is entirely each voter's choice; 2) if the voter chooses to do so, then a simple legal document must be signed, attesting that no party or organized group has solicited this nomination; it is entirely of the voter's initiative, and based on the voter's own experience and knowledge, etc.
Any proposed amendment should remain clear, simple, and airtight in its meaning to ward off those who would misuse it.s
We all readily admit that politics is corrupt. We also admit that we want our nation to be better. The only question is whether we are willing to do anything about it. Improving our nation begins with us, the regular folk. So I invite you to help improve America. Become fluent in the issue of nomination: buy the book, understand the history of parties versus people, discuss the idea with friends and family, and then do something about it. Share your thoughts on social media, figure out how to get non-party nominations into your local governance, and then support the amendment itself. Whatever you decide to do, take those steps seriously and often.
Adopting the proposed amendment won't be immediate; it may take several years or even decades, but that's not the point. What matters is you — that your voice is heard, that your vote matters, that power is restored to you rather than wielded only by the connected elite and wealthy few.
PROPOSED: THE 28th AMENDMENT
XXVIII The Right to Nominate candidates for elective offices belongs to the people.
The [U.S. or State] government shall protect and defend this right, and shall provide such means as are necessary for its orderly exercise, including funds sufficient to promote the candidacies of resulting public nominees, based on the cost of past elections. But no local, state or federal government shall pay expenses incurred by any private group or individual in the course of that group or individual seeking to promote its own candidates.
SUPPORTIVE CLAUSES & ENABLING LEGISLATION
A. The States shall have power to determine who will be eligible for public nomination within their jurisdictions, and power to regulate the procedures of nominating bodies (hereafter referred to as “Jury/Conventions”), provided that said regulations include and comply with the following:
1. Sufficiently prior to each election, registered voters shall be solicited for nominations to the offices to be elected.
2. Those names which are returned, along with supporting comments and reasons given, shall be turned over to a Jury/Convention of citizens drawn by random selection from the full registry of that state's voters who shall have been given and shall have accepted a solemn duty to seek out candidates for office who, in their best judgment, would well represent and serve the people of [X districts] in [Y offices].
3. After hearing from possible candidates invited to address them and to hold discussions with them, the Jury/Convention shall, by majority vote, nominate final candidate(s) of their choice. The names of those so nominated shall then appear on the ballot of the general election with all other lawfully nominated candidates.
4. The [State legislature] shall establish an Independent Bureau of Service with the means and personnel to conduct background investigations of potential nominees. This Bureau of Service shall introduce and explain to each new Jury/Convention the previous history and required procedures of the Jury/Convention, according to a format set forth by law.
5. When final nominees are chosen, this Bureau of Service will provide them with needed preparation for an election campaign, including balanced and expert testimony about issues currently facing the government, and shall at once supply them with all campaign funds appropriated by [the legislature].
6. The Bureau of Service’s meetings, decisions, and actions shall be open to public view during this period of preparing nominees.
The function of this Bureau shall be to serve the Jury/Convention in whatever manner is required to fulfill its duty. The Bureau shall help prepare final nominees for their election campaigns; but beginning at the campaign’s starting date, which shall be prescribed by law, the Bureau may give no further help to nominees.