California governor Gavin Newsom has launched a “Campaign for Democracy“ but he leaves out what democracy is all about. We can’t have democracy as long as poor people can’t afford to get on the ballot. We can’t have democracy if working class candidates can’t afford to get their message out to the voters through government produced voter information guides. And we can’t have democracy if most candidates can’t even get on the general election ballot because only two of the big moneyed candidates will be allowed on it. 

Further, we can’t have democracy as long as big money can buy elections by giving some candidates more speech than others. Money is not and should not be speech. We can’t have democracy as long as people can’t vote for their preferred candidate without the hope of winning. And we can’t have democracy when sizable groups of people are not represented or not represented in proportion to the number of votes received. Those are just some of the problems. 

Now, we need solutions. Let’s take big money out of politics. Abolish the thousands of dollars poor people need just to file to run for office. Abolish the $25 per word price required for candidates to inform voters what they stand for in the California Voters Information Guide, and abolish the thousands of dollars it costs for just one word in the county voter information guides. Let’s encourage candidates to avoid asking big money for a handout by introducing and passing a clean money type of equal public funding for all ballot-qualified candidates. 

And let’s put democracy in our voting system. Let’s create multi-winner districts where each voter has one vote in order to allow constituency groups or parties to be represented in proportion to the number of votes received in a general election.

In this way, people will know that their votes count for winning candidates, constituencies will be represented, and fewer votes will be wasted.

For example, if a party or independent candidate in a 10-member district gets 10% of the vote, that party or independent gets 10% of the seats – one, not none – from that district in the legislature. If a party gets 50% of the vote in the district that party gets 50% of the seats or five, not all of them. In this way, we can give voice and representation to the minorities and at the same time we protect the majority.

In addition, let’s save the taxpayers millions of dollars and just abolish the primary for all state races. Except for president, they’re not really needed. 

These are the issues that a real campaign for democracy should be talking about. Let’s organize and build real democracy.

– C. T. Weber

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