Dear candidates for federal office,
The coronavirus pandemic has burned up our social contract, but like a phoenix, we can emerge from the ashes as a nation reborn. The guidance for such a transformation can be found in the Constitution, and the five duties of all Americans contained in the preamble. Inspired by that framework, the Blueprint for a Better America is a legislative package written by the people, for the people. But who will put it on the President’s desk?
As you know, politics divides Americans into Democrats and Republicans. Civic engagement requires choosing a team, and over time, each party has grown to define themselves primarily as opposed to the other. The resulting gridlock in Congress means that decades of misguided policies continue to fester while tens of millions of Americans struggle. Enough is enough. In 2022, an American Union of swing voters offers a different political choice to the marginalized millions.
We refuse to play your game any longer.
The American Union is not a third party, and does not run candidates. Instead, we put policy over politics, and in October will endorse major party candidates based on our own metrics. When 3.5% of Americans pledge to vote with the American Union of swing voters, we will control the balance of power in Washington. Congress may refuse our terms, but they can’t stop us from being the deciders, as long as we remain united in our willingness to ignore party affiliation.
Candidates, we are dividing you into challengers and incumbents, and letting you compete for our votes. In the spirit of open and honest communication, it is our duty as concerned citizens to inform you of the terms and conditions by which you may receive our endorsement.
First, our specific demands are encapsulated in a crowdsourced legislative package. Candidates have a reputation for not delivering on their promises, so we wrote down exactly what we expect to see on the President’s desk.
You can be part of enacting this bold vision of an America recommitted to establishing justice, ensuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare, and securing the blessings of liberty, to ourselves and our posterity. These Constitutional duties drive the three main planks of the legislation, which can be summed up as:
Like any legislative package, it is a take-it-or-leave-it offer. At 207 pages (much smaller than the 5,593 page behemoth of December 2020), it contains more than 50 different policies, including dozens of policies popular with Americans, such as creating a national police misconduct registry (84%), paid family leave (84%), reforming qualified immunity (66%), a public option for health insurance (68%), avoiding war with Iran (70%), eliminating mandatory minimums (72%), requiring universal background checks for gun sales (84%), restricting lethal autonomous weapons (52%), banning chokeholds (73%), ending weapons sales to Saudi Arabia (57%), reducing the prison population (71%), ending civil asset forfeiture (59%), cutting the next military budget by 10% (56%), changing direction on the drug war (71%), codifying the Hyde amendment (58%), reducing the number of ICBMs (61%), establishing universal basic income (67%), restricting no-knock warrants (64%), training police on deescalation (84%), repealing the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (53%), reducing military weapons to police departments (51%), taxing companies for carbon pollution (73%), restoring access to Pell grants for the incarcerated (57%), and requiring the government to negotiate prescription drug prices (83%). Other provisions will be less popular (there are some taxes involved), and everyone will find something to personally dislike, but as a package deal, America will come out ahead; as individuals, as a nation, and in the world. Although this should go without saying, your endorsement of this legislative package as a whole is not a specific endorsement of any one policy within it.
Incumbents get the first chance on the American Union endorsement. They have the power to put legislation on the President’s desk, and we expect it to be used before the election – arguments of impotence are inadmissible! While it is hoped this would be motivated by a sincere desire to end poverty, end mass incarceration, and end the endless wars, simply yielding to moral pressure in exchange for an endorsement is acceptable.
What is not acceptable is the status quo, and for challengers willing to tap into the widespread desire for change, the American Union offers a ready-made legislative agenda to use against the incumbent, backed up by national messaging. The clear set of demands – end poverty, end mass incarceration, and end the endless wars – resonates with wide swaths of the citizenry, who are hungry for solutions. However, if a challenger is successful in demanding that the incumbent put the Blueprint for a Better America on the President’s desk before the midterms, they will be expected to yield the election.
Millions of voters will want to know your position on this issue. Do you support leaving ten million American children living in poverty, keeping two million Americans behind bars, and maintaining 800 foreign military bases around the planet? If so, be prepared to publicly defend your position, and if not, then join our demand for change before the midterm election.
Second, to demonstrate that we will accept compromise, members of the American Union observe a monthly fast; a fast for peace. Fasting and compromise are two sides of the same coin; willingly giving something up. On the 15th of each month, starting on Martin Luther King’s birthday in January, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents can opt-in to demonstrate their commitment to cooperation. More than 50 years ago, Dr. King identified America’s triple evils of poverty, racism, and militarism, and we can address them this year. This is a fast of moral pressure, to inspire all Americans to rally around our Constitutional duties, and the pressure will build all spring, all summer, and into the fall.
These monthly events culminate on Saturday, October 15, 2022, when all Americans willing to pledge their votes toward enactment of this legislation will participate in a national day of fasting. These fasts are in the Gandhian tradition; 24 hours without food, and only taking water. (Medical exemptions are available if just drinking water for 24 hours would be unsafe.)
October 15 is the day we will essentially hold our own election to decide the balance of power in Washington, and you, the candidates for Federal office, are invited to publicly compete for the endorsement of the American Union. If you are willing to commit to voting to enact our legislation, you must join us in the fast, signifying your participation and completion on Twitter with the hashtag #fastforpeace. If you prefer the status quo, simply do nothing at all. Which side of history do you want to be on?
From there, incumbents will have 10 days to put the legislation on the President’s desk, for his signature by October 30, 2022. No more credit or promises from Congress; deliver the goods first, get our votes second, quid pro quo. All incumbents, Republicans and Democrats alike, that meet these terms will receive the American Union endorsement representing our key block of votes.
Challengers who join us in the fast on the 15th of any month (and signify it on Twitter) are taking up our demands; if their incumbent meets these terms by October 26, they will be expected to put their 2022 campaign aside. They will be hailed as men and women of integrity, willing to put the well being of our country and the world over their personal interests (at least for one election cycle.) They will help the United States of America rebuild our moral standing on the world stage and demonstrate that we will not be relegated to the dustbin of history.
Should incumbents fail to meet our terms, our endorsements will go, to the fullest extent possible, to their challengers who join the American Union in the national day of fasting on October 15, 2022, with their personal pledge to enact the legislation after being sworn in in January. In races where neither major party candidate supported our legislative demands, the endorsement will be determined by other factors, which may include a coin flip.
Dear candidates, that last part should be emphasized. Choosing to ignore the opportunity – the Constitutional duty – to end poverty, end mass incarceration, and end the endless wars may cost you your race as a result of a completely random event. An American Union of swing voters refuses to play the lesser-of-two-evils game any longer; you can reject our terms, but you can’t stop us from being the deciders.
93% of American voters agree – it is important for our leaders to focus on thing that bring people together. And what are those thing? Freedom, equality, and self-governance – our founding ideals – are a good foundation for bringing people together, according to 73% of voters.
NPR recently reminisced about the violence at the US Capitol last year on January 6, and the ongoing arguments between partisans, concluding their story, “Millions of Americans will be pleased if the upcoming election doesn’t get any worse than shouting at each other.” It doesn’t have to be that way. America can accomplish anything it puts its mind to, and in 2022, we can deescalate the midterm elections by getting back to our Constitutional duties.
You, dear candidates, have been informed of the demands of the American Union of swing voters.
End mass incarceration.
End the endless wars.
Click here to Tweet your support today.