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Welcome to part 11 of our ongoing 12 part series where I’ll 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“
- REWARD those politicians who support our “political innovations” with the most appropriate form of the political leverage we have
- REVISIT politicians with compelling data and education
- REPLACE those politicians who will not support our “political innovations” even after extensive education
Today we will focus on the “E” in VOTE which stands for:
E – Enact enduring, model legislation
First and foremost, we want to be crystal clear – Unite America isn’t in the business of writing legislation.
That’s the job of the legislators.
And that is why we support good, “country over party” candidates to be elected to office who can work together with their fellow legislators (including the ones across the aisle!) to write good law that benefits the greater good.
Remember what we learned in the very first article in this series?
That said, while it is the job of the legislators we elect to write good law, that doesn’t mean that we don’t want to support them with the very best resources to help them do so.
Here are some of those resources:
1) Unite America HQ and its nationwide network
We have great thought-leaders at the national level who have tremendous insight into the key reforms that we care about. Tapping them can be a huge asset. Couple that with the practical experience that many other chapters in other states have gleaned in working within their states (e.g., note the recent wins from Unite Virginia) and that adds up to a formidable cast of characters who can provide tips on best practices & potential unintended consequences on draft bills.
2) Our partners in the other non-partisan democracy reform groups
Unite America is one of many concerned, non-partisan groups who want to restore our republic. While our primary focus area is in supporting candidates who run for office, other groups focus on recommending structural policies of “political innovation” and already have, within their ranks, their own set of experts on those topics.
For example, we’ll look to our friends at FairVote and Democracy Found to lead the way around the “political innovation” of Top 4 Primaries + Ranked Choice Voting. This innovation is their “main thing” and we can rally around their approach for how best to construct model legislation.
Ditto with our friends at the Fair Elections Project on gerrymandering. They were the ones who actually counseled us not to put too much faith that the U.S. Supreme Court would rule against partisan gerrymandering. True to their prediction, just last week the US Supreme Court rule on 2 landmark gerrymandering cases and essentially decided that they, as the Supreme Court, could not adjudicate these situations and would leave it to the states. (That’s why we didn’t worry too much at the outcome since we are prepared to execute our original strategy anyway. Not that we wouldn’t have minded a blue-bird ruling in our favor, though!)
The same holds true with our friends at Take Back our Republic, Wisconsin United to Amend, No Labels and Millennial Action Project on crafting the best laws to fight cronyism and corruption when tackling the undue influence of money in politics (MIP). Some form of MIP is the main cause these fine non-partisan organizations champion. We follow their lead to get this contentious issue more under control, as well as recommend to legislators their wording of model legislation they’ve thought carefully about.
3) States which have gone before us on our political innovations
The final area I want to point to relates more to the “durability” of legislation rather than the precise wording. The journey the state of Maine went through regarding their fight to implement Ranked Choice Voting yields valuable lessons for us.
Maine is different than Wisconsin in that they are a ballot initiative state. In simple terms, this means that the people themselves can change laws if they obtain enough signatures to put proposed legislation on a statewide ballot and then secure enough votes from citizens for approval. (Wisconsin laws can NOT be changed by citizens; only legislators can change the laws which is why our strategy is formed the way it is.)
Maine voters fought for 18 years to win Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) for their state and federal level races. Essentially, they failed many, many times until a breakthrough in 2015 led to the first successful ballot initiative to pass in 2016. From there, the initiative for RCV would face constant challenges. Every advance was met by repeated stiff, partisan resistance such that one was never sure whether RCV would survive. Thankfully, for the sake of the entire country, RCV ultimately passed and became the law of the state with the first statewide RCV election being conducted in 2018. Even after that election, the Republican candidate who won the first round but lost the following rounds ended up suing the constitutionality of RCV and added even more drama!
The moral of the story is that achieving durability doesn’t happen with the passage of one law:
- Political innovations may need to survive multiple legislatures and even be added as a constitutional amendment to ensure lasting efficacy.
- We here in Wisconsin would do well to prepare for insidious attempts by party leaders to derail progress. We must stay committed to the cause for the sake of a better Wisconsin for our children and future generations.
So, now you know the final letter behind our strategy:
“E – Enact enduring, model legislation”
This is the ultimate piece behind everything we are working toward in our little acronym to “FIX the system by getting out the VOTE“.
Next week we’ll wrap up our series with some final closing thoughts around a few other items that are relevant to the journey of rooting out cronyism and corruption. Remember, only we, as citizens, can drive the change needed to “deliver our democracy” and “restore our republic!”
How many of you are willing to admit you’re old enough to enjoy this video from School House Rock?
I sure remember happily singing “I’m just a Bill” as a kid in the 70s!
THIS WEEK’S ACTION
This week there are two actions:
#1) For those of you in the Sheboygan area, please consider signing up for the 6pm-8pm complimentary dinner on the 11th and discussion hosted by our friends at Millenial Action Project, when they will be discussing the Future of Work.
#2) Go and enjoy a wonderful New Years with your family and friends as we celebrate the 243rd since we became a country! Reflect on what it means to be part of the greatest experiment in freedom and a government that looked out for the “general welfare” of all people. Also, reflect on the fact that all of us were Americans long before we ever became Republicans or Democrats – that patriotic spirit and pride in our country should still remain that which unites America!
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.