The Plan

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We are Grateful But Angry#GBA

THE WORST THREAT WE CURRENTLY FACE:

THE END OF MAJORITY-RULES DEMOCRACY

 

We owe everything we have achieved as individuals and as a nation to the freedom that Democracy grants us. We are part of the 1% of humanity during 10,000 years of civilization to have lived in a democratic, majority-rules country. While the political system in the U.S. can be maddening, puzzling, frustrating– it is also very special. When Democracy is threatened, our freedom and opportunities are threatened. And we are currently facing one of the worst threats to Democracy our nation has faced in over 240 years.

 

We want the world to be a better place. So we fight for issues and policies that we believe will lift up humanity, protect the vulnerable, save the environment and bring more peace to a conflict-ridden world. And we participate in our Democracy as the path to fight for our issues.

 

But have you noticed how we have not been winning many battles since 2010?

 

Are we supporting unpopular issues or has something happened to our democratic system?

 

Do you want to start making progress on the issues that so desperately need progress instead of playing defense and protesting and crying and being upset?

 

Then it’s time you understand The Hard Truth.

 

The Hard Truth is that Democrat party will NEVER govern again. Never.* (*Unless they change strategies.)

 

The huge coalition that gave us the 2008 Obama wave led many of us to believe we would achieve real gains for the world and our country. The Democrats secured its role as our country’s governing party. Democrats held a super-majority in the Senate (60-40 advantage), a significant House of Representatives majority and twice as many Blue governed states versus Red. Political experts were looking at the demographic changes ahead of us and noting the Democratic party advantage would grow steadily, giving the Democrats an enduring majority.

 

By 2009, Republicans understood they had now become the minority party, perhaps permanently. But instead of coming up with better policies to attract more voters, Republicans found a way to govern with the support of a shrinking minority of voters. And most people– including most elected Democrats– still haven’t grasped the changes they’ve enacted.

 

Because of this, Democratic strategies since 2010 to win elections and govern again have been destined to fail.

 

What did Republicans do?

 

Republicans have weaponized four tactics that have almost killed our majority rule democracy

 

  1. EXTREME GERRYMANDERING. Republicans developed the REDMAP program in 2009 which took gerrymandering to an extreme never seen before. It alone has locked out the Democrats from winning a majority in most states and Congress. Republican mapmakers now have a greater power than the American electorate to decide who governs the House of Representatives and most state legislatures.
  2. VOTER SUPPRESSION. Republicans developed the CROSSCHECK program to allow Republican secretaries of state to purge hundreds of thousands of voters from voting rolls. Crosscheck was started by the Chair of the Kansas Republican Party– Kris Kobach– and now 30 other Republican controlled states have enrolled in this Kansas state program. Republicans also intensified other voter suppression laws such as restrictive ID laws– which they openly admit will make it more difficult for Democrats to vote. They restrict early voting and make voter registration more difficult in Democratic or African American districts and expanding them in Republican districts.  People of color who have historically been marginalized and denied the right to vote are– again– being robbed of their right to vote.
  3. DARK MONEY BUYING ELECTIONS. With the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in Citizens United in 2010, the Republican affiliated 501(c)(4)s and superPACs began to massively outspend Democrats. The Koch brother’s network alone spent close to $900 million in 2016 while the Democrats biggest network– unions– spent just over $100 million.
  4. UNCHECKED RUSSIAN INTRUSION INTO OUR ELECTIONS. Republicans have allowed: (a) Russia to spend millions on influencing voters in key states; (b) their presidential candidate to be backed and supported by a team with deep connections to major political and business leaders in Russia; and, (c) taken no action in stopping Russia from hacking voting rolls in Democratic areas and prevent voters from exercising their right to vote. According to the CIA, their next target may be to actually change vote totals in 2018. Indeed, changing 1-2% of the votes in certain districts would be enough to change entire Senate election and maybe even a close Presidential election in 2020.

 

Unfortunately, Democrats seem unable to fight against these four weapons. The real energy in the Democratic party is aimed at:

 

(a) arguing over which is better/worse: Hillary’s civil rights message or Bernie’s economic justice message. This argument is oblivious to the fact that neither message could defeat the Republican’s four electoral weapons. Even had Bernie beat Trump he would have had a Republican Congress stopping all of his programs like they did to Obama. And,

 

(b) chasing the issues that grab headlines (mean tweets! 100 Nazis are marching! Mooch has a foul mouth! Trump’s administration makes another mistake!) in a vain hope that a majority of voters will pick them over Republicans because we are better on the issues.

 

Democrats never campaign on the hard truth: we have lost majority-rule democracy in the U.S. Meaning, they leave voters ignorant of what is really happening and they do almost nothing to fight back against the Republicans’ four extremely effective weapons.

 

Democrats may point to polls that show this issue (losing our democracy) is not sexy, or is not easily explained. So they stick with their mantra that they will offer Americans a ‘better deal’ than Republicans.

 

Yet how can they offer anything to Americans without a plan to defeat these four Republican weapons and regain a majority?

 

A pledge of incremental improvement will not result in widespread rejection of the Republicans. Indeed, anything short of widespread rejection of Republicans will fall woefully short in creating a Democratic majority.

 

So, where does Trump fit into this?

 

The first three Republican weapons created an electoral system that no longer responded to the true will of the population. Trump took advantage of this and — by introducing the fourth weapon of Russian involvement– beat both parties.

 

IMPEACHMENT IS THE ONLY RESPONSE TO TRUMP’S HIGH CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS

 

The real threat that Trump presents to the U.S. is not his mean tweets, incompetence, vanity, aggression, of his weird embrace of nazis. (Sad that this list does not represent the worse of his presidency). Instead, it is his involvement with and perhaps control by Russia that poses the greatest threat to our country. It is also a very effective fourth electoral weapon that Republicans can now wield against majority-rule Democracy.  

 

An impeachment investigation is the only answer. Focusing the country on the threats to Democracy posed by Trump will benefit the Democrats. In fact, one of the largest repudiation of Republicans in 150 years came during the drive for impeaching Nixon when Republicans lost an incredible 46 House seats. But regardless of the politics, there is a moral imperative to expose the truth.

 

The areas of the greatest need for investigation into President Trump are:

 

  1. Collusion with Russians during the 2016 campaign;
  2. Obstruction of justice related to the FBI’s Russia collusion probe; and,
  3. Violation of the Emoluments clause that prohibits an elected official from enriching himself while in office.

 

The first two impeachment grounds directly relate to the fourth weapon currently used by Republicans– unchecked Russian involvement in our elections. The third ground for impeachment relates to Trump’s ability to self-finance his 2020 re-election campaign.

LEGISLATIVE FIXES TO THESE PROBLEMS

 

The moment that we make the election systems in America free and fair, Democrats will again govern federally and in a majority of states. Republicans fear this so much that they undermine majority-rule democracy to prevent it. Luckily, there are easy legislative solutions to all four weapons the Republicans are using to kill democracy.

 

Common Sense Legislation to Fairly Drawing Political Boundaries & Elections to fix gerrymandering

 

The United States is the only country in the world that allows its politicians to decide the boundaries of their districts. Courtesy of Republican-controlled gerrymandering in the 36 states they control, Republican politicians now literally get to pick their voters, instead of the other way around. To fix this, we need:

 

  1. CRITERIA-DRIVEN INDEPENDENT COMMISSIONS TO DRAW THE MAPS: Take away the ability of politicians to draw their own political district maps. Similar to California, this reform would have state and congressional district maps drawn by a commission chosen to maximize citizen participation and independence from political pressure.
  2. PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION WITH VOTER CHOSEN CANDIDATES: After districts are drawn by non-partisan citizen commissions, the House of Representatives and state legislatures could add an element of proportional representation. Primary elections would continue to determine which candidate represents his or her party in the general election. (That makes it different than European elections where the parties determine who is on their “list.”) Voters in the general election, however, would vote for the party they want to represent them in Congress or the legislature. The parties would then receive the amount of seats in the state closest to their proportional vote total.

 

For instance, North Carolina has a 13 member delegation in the House of Representatives. In 2016, Republicans won 53% of the vote but received 10 of the 13 seats. That’s an unfair and broken system. Under proportional representation, for every 7.7% of the total vote a party receives in North Carolina, it would earn a seat. On a rotating basis, a seat would be selected for the party that corresponds to its highest vote winner. Under the proportional representative system, in North Carolina, Republicans would have received 7 seats and Democrats 6 in the 2016 election.

 

Common Sense Legislation to Expand Voting to fix voter suppression

 

Republicans rely on shrinking the amount of voters eligible to vote. Since 2010, 34 Republican states have implemented voter ID laws, suppressing the votes of nearly 4 million Americans. Note, there were no laws requiring photo ID in this country before 2006. This is not only against the spirit of our country, it is unconstitutional. To fix this we:

 

  1. ADOPT UNIVERSAL VOTER REGISTRATION: Universal voter registration would modernize voter registration in the United States, shifting our system from its current opt-in structure to an opt-out structure. Automatic universal voter registration through the DMV, IRS and colleges would significantly reduce duplications and omissions on the voter rolls, resulting in a system that balances both goals of election accessibility and security.
  2. ENFORCE CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS OF THE RIGHT TO VOTE: Legislation must eliminate the right for states to strip adults from their right to vote. All citizens have the right to vote and nothing in the Constitution allows states to take this right away.
  3. EXPAND VOTING OPPORTUNITIES: Legislation must also expand voting opportunities and distribute those fairly. Every census tract in a state should be given the exact same early voting opportunities and number of polling locations. Currently Republicans gain an unfair advantage over Democrats by expanding the ease of voting in conservatives area and restricting it elsewhere, especially minority areas.
  4. SEVERELY PENALIZE ELECTION FRAUD: Legislation must severely punish anyone who attempts to take away the vote from another person or who fraudulently votes. As voting is the most important element of democracy, it must be easy and protected.

 

Easy to register, easy to vote, easy to enforce.

 

Common Sense Legislation to create Citizens United Funded Elections to fix dark money

 

To defeat the effects of Citizens United and our general pay-to-play system of election buying, the federal government needs legislation to levy a 60% fee on every contribution over $100 from an individual, corporation, union, PAC, 501(c0(4) etc to a candidate, party, PAC, 501(c)(4), registered lobbyists, etc. The government then distributes this money to the political parties. The distribution will be based on the percentage of national support each party receives from the aggregate of a group of polls selected for their accuracy by an independent citizens commission. This would (A) discourage contributions over $100 without unconstitutionally banning them, (B) free candidates from much of their fundraising duties and (C) have no cost to taxpayers or the federal government.

 

Common Sense Legislation on Protecting American Elections to fix foreign interference

 

Even if we fix gerrymandering, voter suppression and unlimited and untraceable money, none of that matters if our voting machine remain vulnerable to the Russians or other hostile actors. Fixing these vulnerabilities, however, is not enough considering that foreign governments can currently launder unlimited amounts of money through lobbyists and 501(c)(4)s to influence our elections. To fix this:

 

  1. PAPER RECEIPTS: The first step is to mandate all voting machines produce a paper receipt that the voter checks for accuracy. Thus, if Russians successfully hack our election machines, we still have receipt to safeguard our elections. Secondly, however, we must require that those receipts are counted before an election is certified.
  2. VOTE BY MAIL: Another easy fix is to legislation giving the right to every U.S. citizen to vote by mail– no postage required. With universal registration by the DMV, IRS, and colleges, every voter can be reached, their vote cannot be hacked and it is easy to trace double voting.
  3. SEVERE CRIMINAL PENALTIES: Massively increase the penalties and consequences for an American citizen or company to collude in any way with a foreign government, foreign national or foreign corporation or entity to influence elections in the United States in any way. Currently, most such prohibitions carry administrative fines– not loss of liberty or substantial financial penalties. New, harsh consequences should include mandatory imprisonment, massive financial loss and a lifetime ban on participation in elections and political groups in any way if convicted.

THE PLAN OF ACTION

 

Republicans have shown us that we should not chase polls in deciding what we talk about to voters. Instead, Republicans have learned to control the agenda by bringing focus to an issue. Against Hillary Clinton, it was “Benghazi” and “33,000 emails.” Their focus on these issues planted these so-called “scandals” deeply into the minds of voters. Republicans know how to penetrate voters’ consciousness through focus, repetition and simple explanations. If Republicans can win on Benghazi and 33,000 emails, Democrats can win on saving our country and its democracy.

 

Democrats need a new approach. “A Better Deal”– the Democrats new slogan in 2017– will not result in the massive 57-43% victory nationally over Republicans that Democrats need to capture 50% +1 of the Congressional seats.

 

This is the approach the Grassroots Wing of the Democratic Party needs to take:

 

Step 1: Get Democrats to Focus.

 

We in the grassroots need to force elected Democrats and Democratic candidates to focus on the only issue that can set the stage for a massive rejection of Republicans. That issue is not any of the 20+ issues we hold dear as Democrats. Instead, it’s much more basic and goes much deeper.

 

The issue we must focus on is the Republican’s attempt to end majority-rule democracy. Working with SwingLeft, Flippable and Sister District, Common Sense Democracy’s affiliated PAC will help fund Democratic candidates who focus on this in their campaign. It’s time to make voters angry over (a) the four weapons that Republicans have used to undermine majority rule democracy (extreme gerrymandering, voter suppression, dark money and unchecked Russian intrusion in our elections) and (b) Trump’s high crimes & misdemeanors (collusion with Russians, obstruction of justice regarding the Russia probe and violation of the Emoluments clause).

 

We must make these truly scandalous facts politically toxic for Republicans. Republicans have no defense on these issues. We must make the voters want to hold them accountable for their actions and inactions: Republicans are ending democracy and Trump is allowing Russians to steal our elections.

 

Step 2: Alert the voters.

 

With grassroots pressure, Democrats will begin focusing on the single greatest threat we are facing– Republican weapons that are ending majority-rule democracy–  as well as the essential step of impeaching Trump. It’s important to understand that the same strategists who led Democrats to sting defeats in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016 are arguing Democrats should NOT discuss impeachment– let alone impeach the President. If Democrats do not campaign on impeaching Trump they will not only lose the opportunity to focus voters on Trump’s threat to majority-rules Democracy, but they will also lose the right to impeach him. Imagine the Democrats don’t campaign on impeachment, then Nancy Pelosi becomes the Speaker of the house and immediately seeks impeachment. Their timidity in the campaign would be the downfall of Democrats. Their timidity now is an abdication of leadership that our party– and country– so desperately needs.

 

Common Sense Democracy will educate voters now on these issues while there is very little competition for voters attention. By the time the Republicans ramp up their communication program they will find that voters are already focused on Republican attacks on our democracy. Common Sense Democracy members will help our Facebook friends, Instagram followers, Twitter universe, progressive media, allied activist groups and then mainstream media to likewise focus on these Republican electoral weapons and Trump’s impeachable offenses. This requires wide-reaching voter alerts and education.

 

In addition, we will fund lawsuits targeting local and state election officials to hold them accountable for unreasonable voter ID laws, facilitating access to polls for conservative districts and impeding those in liberal districts, and– most importantly– for not securing voter rolls and machines from Russian hacking.

 

Step 3: The 2018 Campaign must be about saving democracy.

 

We must make the 2018 elections about saving majority-rules democracy and saving our country from Trump/Putin. During election season, Republicans always focus on local issues because their national party is so horrible. Democrats walk into that trap by abandoning the national issues and fighting on the more Republican-safe turf of local issues. In 2018, Democrats have the issue that beats all other issues: fighting to save the very democracy our country is based on.

 

Step 4: Impeach Trump, Govern, Pass Common Sense Legislation.

 

With 2019 dominated by impeachment and exposing Republicans for their attacks against majority-rule Democracy, 2020 will be about winning the Presidency and Congress. We can then pass the Common Sense Democracy legislation in 2021.

What We Need To Do Now

 

We all face a choice now.

 

We can continue to bravely work on multiple issues and try to slow the hemorrhage of our rights and freedoms. We can fight the white supremacists, fight for Obamacare, fight against a government shutdown, fight against tax breaks for the rich– all of these are important and worthy fights. On some of them we will prevail and we will maintain the status quo– a status quo that as progressives actually want to change as much as conservatives do (conservative just have the wrong policy answers).

 

We can focus on the tweets, the outrageous actions, the insanity and speak out against each and everyone. We can follow our Democratic party leaders and how that the 2018 Congressional and state elections will somehow be different than the 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016 state and congressional losses.

 

Or, we can finally, actually rise up as grassroots. And demand that DEMOCRATS start doing things differently. We have to stop focusing on the shiny objects Trump keeps lobbing our way to distract us from the theft and murder of Democracy that is almost complete. Unless we change the issue on which to fight, we will always be playing defense, wondering why we can never win the White House and Congress all together anymore.

 

Or, we can focus on fixing the system.

 

And fixing the system means telling voters the hard truth.

 

Over and over and over again. Focus. Message discipline. Exposing the truth.

 

We are losing our beloved Democracy at the hands of the Republican party.

 

If we can’t sell that vision, Democracy will perish.

 

Only you can do this– you, and me, and your family and friends, and our family and friends. They sense something isn’t right– and when enlightened to the truth– will care enough about “democracy” to fight for it.

 

We missed the five greatest battles our country has fought to extend rights and protect freedom: the war for independence in the 1770s, the war to abolish slavery in the 1860s, the fight to give women the vote in the 1910s, the fight against the nazis in the 1940s and the fight to restore the vote to African Americans in the 1960s.

 

These fights were about ensuring that more and more people could exercise their right to vote and determine who led their country. Republicans want to take that right away from just enough people so that they can stay in power.

 

We missed those five battles that made our country great. But we need not miss this battle. And this will be the last battle for Democracy if we lose.

 

Now is the time to throw our energy, resources and passion into this one cause.

 

Join Common Sense Democracy.

 

We are the only group focused on:

 

(a) pushing Democrats to win the upcoming elections by (b) running on the issues of saving our majority rules democracy and holding Trump accountable for allowing Russia to interfere in our elections.

 

Without winning this battle, Democrats can NEVER govern again.

 

Upon joining, you will begin to receive training on the most effective techniques to impact these issues, starting with how to change the conversation. You will know that every effort you make is aimed at impacting the most important issues facing our country: saving our majority rules democracy and holding Trump accountable. You will know that every dollar of membership is working to educate and organize voters, support lawsuits protecting free and fair elections and supporting candidates who are fighting for free and fair elections.

 

It starts with our live online Town Hall meetings on Thursday nights at 6 pm, pst. Sign up today.

 

Then subscribe to and listen to our daily podcast “Your Daily Trump.”

 

And as members, you will have access to our online trainings and our real-word, really effective actions.

 

You are the grassroots. Together, we can change the world. We are Common Sense Democracy