It isn’t hard to do.
Here’s the vision:
Say it’s the start of campaign season all across the United States. (Which it happens to be as I post this message, because the fall of 2018 will mark an important off-year election in which Democrats hope to reclaim seats in Congress, while Republicans hope to add to their majority.) Now imagine candidates announcing that they will be running not as Republicans or Democrats, but as independent candidates. That’s “independent” with a small “i.”
At campaign rallies, we see t-shirts bearing slogans like “We the People, Not We the Party,” and “Nonpartisan and Proud,” and “The Spirit of Reason for the Common Good.” We hear candidates speaking of “one nation, one people,” and “yes, nonpartisans can get the job done!”
These candidates have pledged that, if elected, they will propose policies, and examine the proposals of other elected representatives, based not upon any label, but solely upon the extent to which each proposal will promote the common good. It will matter not, they say, who is making the proposal.
So, if one of our nonpartisan independents is elected along with a host of Republicans and Democrats, this newly elected official may choose to caucus with neither party, knowing full well that he or she will be left out of many partisan conversations and may miss being selected to key committees. But as more nonpartisan candidates are elected, we see, in our vision of the future, a growing willingness of Republicans and Democrats to seek our cooperation and support, especially when votes on proposals are expected to be close.
And, over time (probably decades will be required) we find that a plurality of members of Congress and state legislatures bear no party label, and those who remain as Republicans or Democrats are rapidly seeking to shed their labels to avoid being tossed from office at the next election.
And then, wonder of wonders, members of Congress and state legislatures form caucuses in support of, or in opposition to, individual proposals; and members feel free to adopt positions that would have been prohibited under previous notions of “party loyalty” and “party unity.”
Proposed laws are actually debated based upon their tendency to promote the greatest good for the greatest number. And policies are actually grounded in solid research.
Sound far fetched?
I don’t think so. I think Americans are just fed up enough to start the ball rolling.