What does a “Democracy Page” look like?

by Frank Kirkwood

January, 2019

If we ask our representatives and candidates to state their support for pro-democracy/anti-corruption reforms on their website and they won’t do it, is it at all reasonable to believe that, when push comes to shove, they will ever actually vote for those reforms?

We say, “No, that’s not reasonable”.  If they aren’t willing to even say they support reforms that are widely popular with the citizens, then there is no reason to expect them to stand up for democracy when it is time to insist that reform bills be called for a vote in the legislature and to vote for these bills.

A politician’s “Democracy Page” should contain clear and strong statements about the problems with our democracy, solutions to those problems, and pledges to advance specific legislation to put those solutions in place.  It is not a list of promises so much as a personal statement about what the politician sees as their mission in Harrisburg (or Washington).

Do they think the government should be a partner or an adversary in helping every citizen to register to vote, to easily and conveniently cast their vote, and to have those votes fairly and accurately counted?  

Do they think the government should be a partner or an adversary in honoring each citizen’s political equality by creating election districts where citizens have choices on election day rather than allowing politicians and their patrons to gerrymander for their own benefit?  

Do they think the government should be a partner or an adversary, in ending the ability of the few to dominate our government through election spending, through dark money spending, through gifts and pay-back jobs to politicians, and any other activities that give the monied few the dominating voice in our political community?

So, lets ask them to define the problems as they see them, the solutions they favor, and the legislation they support.  Then lets have a conversation about those solutions and how we can work together to pass legislation. But, if they won’t discuss the matter or they don’t think that both our democracy and the power of the individual citizen is being disrespected, we need to know that now so we can look for politicians who are willing to see the problems and ready to fix them.