One factor that helped push Democrats over the top last week was the campaign ads. The Republicans took to their typical negative campaign ads, as well as new stunts such as the automated robo-calls. This pissed off a lot of voters and they showed their dissatisfaction with these tactics at the polls.
Now we have a Democratic Congress and they are planning on putting their new found majority to work to help rid our democracy of these vile problems:
With their new power, Democratic leaders want to craft a constitutional way to stop voters from being flooded with robo-calls peddling deceptive information. They are floating the notion that authorizing calls with fraudulent content should be a crime. “These robo-calls, somehow, constitutionally, we are going to have to find some way to stop this,” Reid said.
Schumer said he and Rep. Rahm Emanuel — the boss of the House Democratic campaign committee, who is expected to be elected to a leadership spot today — made a list of what they consider abusive campaign practices. In some cases, the volume of calls that went out to targeted likely Democratic voters was so heavy as to constitute harassment.
In other examples, the calls peddled disinformation — whether about a candidate or the location of a polling place. Criticizing the robo-call dirty tricks, Schumer was blunt. “It’s despicable” and the perps “should go to jail for 10 years.”
Schumer said he and Emanuel are looking at legislation applying criminal penalties to certain kinds of campaigning and creation of a separate unit at the Justice Department to prosecute.
This is very good news for America as a whole. If a candidate can only run on smears, then they have nothing to offer. If they can only win by tricking voters or suppressing them, then they have already lost the battle.
We are supposed to be the definition of democracy, but we act like a third world nation. This step will be the first in many to put us back on the right track to becoming the beacon of democracy. Hopefully once this is done, the Democrats will start working on campaign finance reform, something I feel should be public, and problems with voting machines. There is a lot of work to do and only a couple of years until the next Presidential election, so the new Congress will have to get busy and not spend all their time off – something else this article addresses:
As of Wednesday, the House this year has met only 96 times — and 23 of those days involved votes that did not happen until after 5:30 p.m. As a practical matter, many House members fly in late Tuesday and escape Thursday afternoon. The Senate was only a little better, scheduling votes on only 129 days. According to a study by Paul Blumenthal of the Sunlight Foundation, the last time Congress spent so little time in Washington was at the end of World War II.
“We’re going to work long hours,” Reid declared Wednesday at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, introducing his leadership team to reporters. That’s Reid and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the income majority whip/assistant majority leader; Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, conference secretary, and Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, in the newly created slot of vice chair of the conference, a reward for running the Senate Democratic political operation. “We’re going to work more than Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday,” Reid said.
Pelosi has been saying for months that she wants to increase the amount of time House members are in Washington. Evidence of that commitment will be clear when the previously light January will become weeks of workdays.
To put it nicely, the Republican controlled Congress was lazy. They spent a record number of days off and when they were in session, their legislation amounted to gifts to the corporations, ultra-wealthy, or deciding on the fate of a single woman (Terri Schiavo). To add insult to injury, they even gave themselves a raise. They used the American people. We were all victimized by the 109th session of Congress and we can not allow that to happen again.
If the Democrats want to secure their newly found majority, then these steps are definitely in the right direction. Let the people see that we have a Congress actually working for the people and not spending their time off on trips paid for by lobbyists. Let the news agencies have to change the story every couple of days instead of being stuck on the same one for weeks, something easily obtained by drastic and bold new moves in Congress. This will show the American people which party truly cares about them and wants to make America better for everyone, not just a few. Then perhaps the Republicans will learn and play catch up or be left out of the American political system. This is our country and we are now taking it back.