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  • Writer's pictureTom Mast

Surgery for Congress

Tom Mast, founder Solve American Gridlock

January 2023

PROBLEM

  • Congress is quite ill, dating from about 1967

  • Various ineffective medications have been tried

  • This disease has caused a long list of symptoms that are resulting in great anguish to people dependent on the patient

  • The symptoms include:

o Failure to solve our immigration issues

o Failure in fiscal matters including budgeting, deficit spending, timely attention

to money matters, and high percentages of overall spending on autopilot

o Failure to provide for the fiscal viability of major programs including Social

Security and Medicare

o Failure to develop a professional, comprehensive, and long-range plan for

mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, the largest project America and the

world have ever faced

o Failure to use regular order and procedures that worked well in the past

o Failure to allow fair competition from more than two parties

  • The dangerous condition is chronic electoral systems disease

  • It is time for surgical intervention


OBJECTIVE

  • To correct by surgery the electoral systems that have caused the major symptoms and many more. This will lead to a recovery in legislative procedures, resulting in a Congress whose existence and total focus is on solving problems for the country and its people


THE SURGERY

  • Clear the obstructions to having more than two effective parties. These obstructions have been systematically created by the two parties in power, many at the state level. Twenty-one other important countries have an average of 3.9 parties. They benefit from forming coalitions around each piece of legislation, enjoying more civility and a wider range of viewpoints.

o Outlaw closed party primaries

o Institute open primaries from which a fixed number of candidates advance to

the general election, perhaps five.

o Use ranked choice voting where practicable to ensure winning candidates have

a majority vote

o Return to multi-member districts, eliminating the single-member districts

created by Congress in 1967 that have made over 80% of House seats “safe”

for reelection

o Consider four-year terms for members of the House so they aren’t constantly

running for election

o After the electoral systems surgery, have rules in Congress focused on effective

and timely, legislation.

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