A New Contract for America? 1

Has anyone on the left suggested that Democrats unite around a set of process reforms for our broken political process? This would be the mirror image of the Republican “Contract With America” in 1994, which (A) was fantastically successful, ending 40 years of Democratic control of the House of Representatives, and (B) basically got us into the current mess. At a time when popular support for Congress is at 5%, wouldn’t you want to be the party of reform?

I’m thinking of things like campaign finance, earmark reform, measures to end gerrymandering, and eliminating the ridiculous Hastert Rule that prevents measures supported by a large majority of the House from ever coming to a vote. Put together a package, and get current officeholders and candidates to sign on publicly. Yes, this would limit Democrats’ ability to do evil things when they control Congress, but that’s a price worth paying, and Democrats don’t have the same anti-government bent anyway.

I’m surprised no one is talking about this possibility. Everyone seems to be focused on substantive issues. It’s a broken system that allows a small group of extremists to bring the U.S. to the bring of catastrophe, folks. This is exactly what the Framers worried about in the Federalist Papers, and built in processes like checks and balances to avoid. Evidence from California (http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-shutdown-reform-20131019,0,5102606.story) suggests fixing the system actually produces a less partisan, more effective legislature.  Why not give it a shot?