The American Union offers a nonviolent resolution to the 2022 midterms. By willingly accepting our Constitutional duties, a more perfect union of voters can generate the political influence to address systemic problems. Our crowdsourced legislative package, the Blueprint for a Better America, will end poverty, mass incarceration, and the endless wars.
Rooted in Martin Luther King’s principles of nonviolence, the American Union of swing voters forms the framework for 21st century collaborative democracy. Swing voters are the most powerful voters in the electorate, and a voting bloc of 3.5% in the midterms could control the outcomes of as many as 8 Senate seats and 50 House seats. Of course, talking about principled nonviolence can come off as a little dry, so imagine Tyler Durden outlining the revolution in the style of the eight rules of Fight Club.
The American Union is a union of voters, collectively bargaining for a better social contract. By endorsing candidates based on our own metrics and refusing to be divided into Republicans and Democrats, we may elect the worse of two evils along the way to having our demands met.
A general strike against politics as usual takes courage.
This isn’t a passive I-would-prefer-not-to refusal like Bartleby, but a full throated rejection of the concept. To the pollsters that call us, and in as many online surveys as we can find, our preference must be recorded as the candidate-to-be-named-later who receives the American Union endorsement! By voting together, we will be the deciders in dozens of Congressional races; by refusing to choose, that influence will show up in the polls, making it all the more desirable to candidates.
Correspondingly, this rule also means avoiding negative campaigning. No declaring one candidate is the worse evil – that’s the duopoly’s model, and we are refusing to play. While it’s true that one will be less evil than the other, we must lead by example in recognizing the humanity in everyone.
Politicians are like us: simultaneously flawed and capable of self-improvement.
A nonviolent revolution isn’t built on defeating people; instead, nonviolence chooses love over hate. The American Union is not a third party seeking to hold power. Instead, the goal is to bring out the best in other candidates – especially members of Congress. Their terrible approval rating stems from the recognition that they have the authority to act and the capacity to do so swiftly, yet they feign inability. Congress has allowed systemic problems to fester, frequently for fundraising purposes.
By offering love instead of hate, and solutions instead of criticism, we can prompt Congress to better serve the people. For incumbents, there is a clear metric for judging if they have been persuaded; did they put the American Union’s legislation, the Blueprint for a Better America, on the president’s desk BEFORE the election?
Seeking power is generally incompatible with serving others.
Third parties such as the Greens and Libertarians may be rooted in principle, but they lose 99% of elections. Republicans and Democrats are the reverse; light on principle, but they win 99% of the time. A nonviolent revolution must be practical as well as principled. Membership in the American Union of swing voters requires a good-faith pledge to vote for Republicans and Democrats who receive the American Union endorsement.
Although the duopoly tries to make us pick a side to fight on, rejecting that paradigm creates another natural metric – incumbent vs. challenger. The incumbents have the power to act and can earn our endorsement by meeting our demands; if they refuse, their strongest challenger may.
Accepting the responsibility to deliver change means being a decider, not a spoiler.
Put in union terms, no piecemeal settlements. Congress frequently lumps various bills together for easier passage; we the people can use the same tactic to represent many diverse interests. The American Union’s crowdsourced package of federal legislation details more than 50 policies, summed up as:
While no one will like every policy in it, the Blueprint for a Better America addresses the interrelated injustices of poverty, racism, and militarism Martin Luther King Jr. called out more than 50 years ago. Nonviolence believes the universe is on the side of justice, and the America Union strategy offers our land an opportunity to pursue justice. By standing united behind a clear-cut set of demands, even those which require compromise, we will reshape the national political conversation around specific policy solutions.
The offer to reelect each and every member of Congress must be made in good faith.
On Saturday, October 15, the American Union invites members and nonmembers alike to join a national day of fasting – a fast for peace – as a general strike against the politics of conflict. The group fast is a team building exercise for Americans, a way to create a new social contract built on recognizing the humanity in all of us. Although fasting is trendy for its health benefits, only drinking water for 24 hours may be foreign to many Americans. It’s okay; unearned suffering for a just cause is redemptive. America must redeem itself for allowing the injustices of poverty, racism, and militarism to smolder for so many decades.
The #fastforpeace serves many functions in a nonviolent revolution: it creates a shared intention open to every class, color, and creed; acts as an individual opt-in to pooling our votes; roots the American Union in principled nonviolence; and serves as a fast of moral pressure directed at Congress, to inspire them to pass the Blueprint before the election. Although no one gets everything they want in the legislation, we have the opportunity and ability to make significant progress as a nation, and with that ability comes the moral duty to to act.
Fasting and compromise are two sides of the same coin; willingly giving something up.
Fight Club fights might go on as long as they have to, but a nonviolent revolution runs on an election calendar. For Congressional candidates who want the American Union endorsement and corresponding bloc of votes, there is a two step process.
First, they will have to endorse our legislative demands by joining the October 15 #fastforpeace, announcing their participation with the hashtag on Twitter. (A willingness to support the entire Blueprint as a compromise should not be construed as an endorsement of any one specific policy.) Refusal to do so will be noted as opposition. In legislative parlance, October 15 is a roll call vote, where over 1,000 candidates and/or members of Congress will be recorded as either for or against poverty, mass incarceration, and militarism.
Second, incumbents have 10 days to pass the Blueprint, without amendment, through Congress. If they do, every member who joined the #fastforpeace is guaranteed our endorsement. Should incumbents refuse to act, though, all challengers who have taken up our demands by participating in the #fastforpeace will receive the American Union endorsement. The President then has until noon on October 30 to sign or veto it. Based on these criteria, final endorsements for the 470 Congressional races will be announced on October 31, a week before the November 8 general election.
Reaching consensus in October is the best way to avoid conflict in November.
Instead of fearing the outcome of a hateful, polarizing election, the American Union can deescalate it with a bloc of voters. (Scientists have found that 3.5% of the population can trigger political change.) Endorsing strength in unity, however, includes an tacit admission that one needs help to achieve a desired outcome. Besides demonstrating humility, asking for help strengthens relationships (the Benjamin Franklin effect) and nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.
The Blueprint’s 50 policies to end poverty, mass incarceration, and the endless wars advance opportunities to connect with political reformers (including third parties) on the issues they seek to address; not as a quid pro quo, but as mutual aid.
In our digital world, social media is a frequent place to ask for help. The message of the American Union is a hopeful, positive vision that lends itself to sharing in many ways. (Like Tweeting at Mark Hamill.) Congressional candidates also have social media presences where we can spur their consciences, asking for their help challenging the status quo of 37 million living in poverty, 2 million behind bars, and annual military spending approaching $1 trillion. As they campaign – in person or online – we can press them on the vote they will cast October 15. Who will #fastforpeace to build a better America?
A functional social contract is mutual aid around peace, justice, and prosperity.
Ready to stage a nonviolent revolution? Membership in the American Union is straightforward; citizens make a good-faith pledge to vote for endorsed Republicans and Democrats and make a minimum monthly contribution to the PAC. (One-time donations are also welcome.)
But what shall we do, some pessimists ask, if both candidates want to keep poverty, mass incarceration, and the endless wars? Shouldn’t we throw courage under the bus, let them call our bluff, and support the candidate who’s more tolerable?
The first rule of nonviolent revolution is: do not play the lesser-of-two-evils game.
Candidates may reject our good faith offer of support, but they can’t stop a union of swing voters from voting together to be the deciders. In elections across the country, we can use our own metric to determine the outcome in a completely nonpartisan way. The American Union’s general strike against the duopoly, then, takes a form perhaps best described as “malicious compliance.”
It’s projected that $9 billion will be spent in the 2022 election cycle. If Congress declines to be the most transformational legislature in generations by putting the Blueprint for a Better America on the president’s desk, should all of that money be allowed to determine which half of the duopoly controls Congress? A general strike will disrupt politics as usual with an October surprise; awarding the unallocated endorsements at random.
On Monday, October 31, at 10:59pm ET, a Powerball drawing will take place. If Washington has refused to act, this completely arbitrary series of events will award the balance of power in the House and in the Senate. The winners in 2022, then, would know they triumphed only as the result of random chance, elected on a vote of ‘no confidence,’ while the losers will know they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by not supporting an end to poverty, mass incarceration, and the endless wars.
With a decisive block of votes available to them, it won’t take long for Republicans and Democrats to persuade themselves that winning is in their best interests. When candidates of both parties agree to build the Blueprint, our nonviolent revolution will succeed, and the American Union will have won us all a better social contract. More importantly, we will usher in a new era of collaborative democracy, returning power to the people.
Together we rise.
[edited to correct the number of Congressional seats on the ballot November 8]