The Daily Beast today outlined a pretty good 8-step plan to fix most of what ails American politics. (Of course, the special interests and party leaders would never let something like this happen). I would say that 5 of the 8 points are spot on, and 2 of them need only minor tweaks. Here is their nifty flowchart that describes the plan. In a nutshell, it consists of:
1. Independent redistricting.
2. A nationwide "clean elections" system. (My objection: This is probably unconstitutional. A better idea would be strict limits on campaign donations for all organizations, but no limits on donations from individuals).
3. Nonpartisan primaries: all candidates on the same ballot, top two advance.
4. More states committing to give their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
5. Fill vacancies in legislative committees randomly. (My suggestion: Require every committee to be evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. Committees should not be tools of partisan power).
6. Eliminate the provision where senators can anonymously place holds on bills.
7. Force filibusters to happen via actual on-floor debates.
8. Eliminate the debt ceiling. (My objection: It would be a bad idea to eliminate the last line of defense against out-of-control, over-budget spending. A better idea would be to pass a balanced budget amendment that also mandates a significant tax increase whenever the U.S. gets involved in a war).