Winning an election could be as simple as taking stands that are in agreement with the majority of citizens. There is significant consensus on many important topics. Polls consistently show approximately 70% support for the following.
1. Aggressive action on climate change is what the majority want. This could be achieved by ending subsidizes for fossil fuel companies and implementing a carbon tax. This does not mean a tax increase. Make it revenue neutral by decreasing income taxes by the amount raised from the pollution tax. Create a job and infrastructure program that trains workers displaced from outdated energy sectors. Create manufacturing jobs building components for an updated renewable energy grid, and improving efficiency. This makes energy more affordable in the long term and more reliable by decentralizing it. This is a win for consumers, workers, and most importantly offers a chance at a livable environment. Climate change is the result of how capitalism values the environment. We all know that a clean, healthy and beautiful environment has value and provides essential services. That value is not recognized by a system that only maximizes return on capital.
2. Campaign finance reform is necessary if we are to solve other problems. Having elected officials that work for the people instead of multinational corporations, Wall Street, and wealthy elites is one way to revitalize our democracy. We need public financing with strict spending limits if we want politicians to work for us instead of for those wealthy enough to buy them. Complete transparency of funding and spending is required. If money is speech, as some claim, then some people have a much louder voice than others. In a democracy everyone should have an equal voice.
3. Medicare for all, including mental health, dental and vision care. This will significantly reduce costs by giving the government the ability to negotiate with suppliers, providers and cut the insurance company “take.” There will be an increase in taxes on this one. It will be more than off-set because gone are insurance payments, copays and deductibles. You should expect a substantial pay raise because employers would no longer have the cost of health insurance. That money should continue to go to you. You would be free to switch jobs without interruption of health care. Networks no longer control who you can see. Those with pre-existing conditions are covered. According to studies done by University of Massachusetts Amherst and Political Economy Research Institute, the savings would amount to half a trillion dollars per year. It also means no more bankruptcies from getting sick, and a system that is much easier to navigate. We don’t need to adopt things not working in other countries. We design what we want.
Restoring voter access and ending gerrymandering, Education reform including tuition free state school higher education, Wage justice, Criminal justice reform, Infrastructure rebuild, Immigration reform, Green new deal, Rational military spending, Tax justice so elites pay their share and the budget deficit is addressed; these are all areas of consensus among people who care about the future of our country and democracy.
There is anger and discontent caused by real problems in people’s lives. People want radical change and leadership with vision. The status quo is not acceptable.
Obviously, character and integrity are essential qualities for any public servant. Being a good listener and someone who can express themselves well are also important. A candidate with these qualities and who supports the right agenda excites and motivates voters especially young voters. These things are fundamental to making our government work for all of us. They would allow our democracy to flourish again.
Problems cannot be solved with the same level of thinking that created them. To create a better future we must be able to envision it. Let’s stop pretending that solutions don’t exist. It is only the will to act that is lacking.