Welcome to part 6 of our ongoing 12 part series where I can share with you what we envision our state and country can look like through our work with Represent Us!
In case you are joining us for the first time here’s what we’ve covered so far in our series:
“good candidates –> good governance –> good society”
“Country over Party”
“People over Politics”
“Common-sense people campaigning for common-sense politics.”
“Fix the System”
“FIX” the system by getting out the “VOTE“
Last week we learned that the Top 4 “political innovations” we are fighting for include:
- Top Five Primaries + Ranked Choice Voting (RCV)
- Money in Politics
- Voter Access
While there are other political innovations called out in the Anti-Corruption Act, implementing the above four will have the greatest impact in completing our mission to “Fix the System.”
I – Incentivize teamwork in politics
For those of you who love the US Constitution like I do, you may have noticed that the words, “Republican” and “Democrat” never appear in our hallowed founding document which establishes the framework for how our government should work. (They don’t appear in the Declaration of Independence either!)
This is a strong reminder that:
We are Americans first before we are Rs or Ds.
This means that we ALL share the same common rights / values already delineated for us in our founding documents:
Life. Liberty. The Pursuit of Happiness.
It also means we should all be working to achieve the same objectives of why our government was created in the first place:
- Form a more perfect union
- Establish justice
- Insure domestic tranquility
- Provide for the common defense
- Promote the general welfare
- Secure the blessings of liberty
- for ourselves and for our posterity (future generations)
In short, if we are on board with the same values and the same objectives,we should view ourselves as members of the same team:
Team USA (emphasis on the “U” for UNITED!)
Sure, there will always be tension in balancing the items above. As in most things where there is tension, these should be assessed from all perspectives and a compromise negotiated and reached somewhere in-between the extremes that achieves the best outcome for the majority without infringing on the rights of the minority. (Rarely, if ever, is the point of compromise located at either end of the ideological extremes)
In short we shouldn’t be fighting each other. We should be fighting FOR each other. We should be fighting FOR the UNITED States of America.
Currently, though, it seems like we’ve fallen a bit short of the grand vision our Founding Fathers had when they framed the Constitution.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
So, Represent Us Wisconsin is supporting efforts to inspire this return to the objectives of our government as laid out in the Constitution (a more perfect union!) through 3 key initiatives:
1. Sign the Unity 2020 Petition
2. Enact “Break the Gridlock”-like rules changes
3. Promote Bipartisan Caucuses (and partner w/ groups who support them)
1. Sign the Unity 2020 Petition
Simply put, this is an online petition we are sponsoring to encourage every single one of our presidential candidates to choose a running mate from the other party. This has happened once before when our country was deeply divided – Abraham Lincoln chose his running mate from the opposite party after the Civil War. They went on to win the election and ultimately saved our union!
Over 12,000 people have signed the Unity 2020 petition so far. If you haven’t yet signed it please do so here and put us on the path to 15,000 signatures!
2. Enact “Break the Gridlock”-like rules changes
One of our fellow non-partisan democracy reform organizations,NoLabels.org, has come up with a unique proposal to help Congress work better together. It’s called the “Break the Gridlock” package. Basically, each session, the U.S. House of Representatives has to create the rules by which it will work. Usually, the rules end up being drafted in such a way as to give the majority party every advantage in terms of:
- what bills can make it to the floor
- how (or, even “if”) a bill can be debated or amended
- the amount of time allowed for discussion
- the required advance notice members must receive before a vote on a bill (and thus the time they have to even understand what they will be voting on)
Thanks to the work of NoLabels (led by the members they sponsor in the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus – to be described in the next section),they were able to influence historic rules changes in our current Congressional session that should help create a much better conversation between the two parties in the House.
To read more about the details of what they accomplished and its impact please check things out here.
Note that a similar process for rules changes could also apply to any legislative body (including the US Senate, the WI Assembly and WI Senate) in the future if a group similar to the Problem Solvers Caucus would champion it.
3. Promote Bipartisan Caucuses (and partner w/ groups who support)
As mentioned above the Break the Gridlock rules changes in the US House was led by the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of Republicans and Democrats who recognize the futility of gridlock / hyper-partisanship and embrace their Constitutional duty to find a better way to solve problems for all Americans. Our very own Congressional Representative, Mike Gallagher (R-Green Bay) also gets in on the act to promote bipartisanship. We applaud his efforts to do so!
At the state level, right here in Wisconsin, we have a similar group called the Future Caucus, championed by our friends at the Millennial Action Project(MAP.) Not only is the Future Caucus bipartisan, they are also young and comprised entirely of Millennials. They are setting the example for our more senior legislators and party leadership in demonstrating that dialogue is the first step towards progress and that we can’t have dialogue when we aren’t even planning on meeting with one another. By deliberately organizing and participating in join events together as well as working on specific policies together, the Future Caucus is showing that gridlock can indeed be a thing of the past and that listening, compromise and negotiation (the lifeblood of politics!) can become a part of our political process once again.
We love MAP. In addition to their work with the Future Caucus they also sponsor the Democracy Reform Task Force which “connects young lawmakers across state and party lines to find innovative solutions to democracy reform that make government more accountable, transparent, and functional.” This is totally in line with the change we are driving here at Represent Us! Finally, take note especially of their amazing “Red and Blue Dialogues” which they host periodically and of which we have been proud participants and highly recommend!
We will continue to push hard in our Unity 2020 petition as well as in our support of NoLabels and MAP as they are so aligned to our strategy. We hope you can see why the collaboration is absolutely critical to our country’s political future and why we strategically forge ahead to build bridges, fight hyper-partisanship & ideological extremes and ultimately:
“Incentivize teamwork in our politics”
A great picture of how different sides don’t have to be enemies. Heck, they can even be friends!
Next week we’ll dive into the “X” in our strategy and go further into how we’ll “X-ecute our Fulcrum Strategy” in governance.
THIS WEEK’S ACTION
If you haven’t already done so please read this article that just came out in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week regarding our friends at Democracy Found! It advocates EXACTLY what we want as one of the key elements of the Anti-Corruption Act:
We are looking for a volunteer Chief Marketing Officer to help us in our social media outreach, educational efforts and recruitment of front line canvassers. If you have experience and interest (or know of people who do!) we would love to receive a referral from you – just reply to my e-mail with the best way to contact you and we can chat further.
Stay cool, stay centered, stay united,
p.s. If you want to get more deeply involved and be part of one of our teams to start strategically driving the policy changes that can help restore our republic, deliver our democracy and “fix the system,” please ask to join our closed Slack group, RepresentUsWI.slack.com, and we will reach out to you.