NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF puts out 3 good ideas for improving the American democracy
The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Colmunist: No More Sham Elections:
"1. Have nonpartisan experts draw up boundaries for Congressional districts after each census. Both Republicans and Democrats have shamelessly drawn boundaries to serve their own needs, and that's one reason Congressional races are so uncompetitive. Normally, state legislatures do the redistricting, but Iowa and Arizona have handed the responsibility over to independent commissions.
2. Eliminate the Electoral College, so that the president is chosen by popular vote. This was seriously discussed as a constitutional amendment after the 1968 election, when George Wallace's third-party candidacy could have prevented Richard Nixon from receiving a majority of the electoral vote. And in this election, if just 21,000 voters had changed their votes in Nevada, New Mexico and Iowa, the electoral vote would have been tied and the choice of the president would have gone to the House.
'We don't run elections well enough to have clear winners that we all accept if it's really close,' said Rob Richie, executive director of the Center for Voting and Democracy. 'I think if the winning side had been ahead by only 20,000 votes in Ohio, the losing side wouldn't have accepted it.'
It's time for America to develop the kind of full-fledged popular-vote democracy that is enjoyed by, say, the good people of Afghanistan.
3. Funnel campaign donations through a blind trust. The funkiest idea in politics is to make donations anonymous even to the recipient. Citizens would make contributions through a blind trust, so that candidates wouldn't know to whom they were beholden.
If officials don't know who their major contributors are, they can't invite them to spend the night in the Lincoln Bedroom or write tax loopholes. A donor might boast about having made a contribution, but special interests will realize they can save money by telling politicians that they have donated when they haven't, and then politicians will doubt these boasts."