An American Union is a SMART political reform

Phoenix Congress
6 min readNov 4, 2021

The American Union offers a constructive alternative to Congressional gridlock — a union of swing voters demanding passage of crowdsourced legislative package in exchange for their votes in the 2022 midterms.

Conventional wisdom suggests that major legislation is undesirable in an election year, but a genuine political reform must be capable of breaking through artificial obstacles. In business parlance, it must be a SMART goal — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based. Does the American Union strategy meet these benchmarks?

(Read more: How the American Union is shaking up the midterms)

Specific

Many issues people are passionate about are nebulous, like “healthcare reform” or “protecting the environment.” What that mean, exactly? The American Union avoids this problem by offering up a pre-written legislative package to end poverty, end mass incarceration, and end the endless wars. This is a very specific demand.

It has been asked if Congress would amend our proposal, but the simplest technique for putting this before the members is to do what Congressional leadership did in December 2020, when a committee of conference replaced the text of an existing bill with a 5,593 page behemoth. It then went before the House and Senate for a straight up-or-down vote in each body, with no opportunity to offer amendments.

(Read more: Congress just demonstrated peak functionality)

There are no technical obstacles that would prevent Congress from voting on our specific crowdsourced legislative package as written.

Measurable

Judging the progress of legislation is easy to measure; did Congress put the legislative package on the President’s desk before the midterms? However, for incumbents seeking the winning block of swing votes held by the American Union, this is only half of the metric.

Addressing our country’s political problems is just part of a larger goal; patching our social fabric and bringing Americans together. To that end, members participate in a monthly fast for peace, creating a common experience across the political spectrum among those willing to cooperate to end poverty, end mass incarceration, and end the endless wars.

The final event occurs on October 15, 2022 — essentially a separate election for the American Union endorsement— where all Americans can opt-in to pooling their votes by participating in the group fast. Candidates for Federal office who seek those votes must join in and indicate their participation on Twitter using the hashtag #fastforpeace. This public statement — or lack thereof — is very measurable.

Attainable

Every two years, the people have the opportunity to elect and reelect most members of Congress; in 2022, at least 469 of the 535 members of Congress will be on the ballot. Control of both chambers is very much up for grabs in the upcoming elections; in 2020, more than 60 House races and 1/3rd of Senate races were won with 53.5% of the vote or less.

As Samuel Johnson said, “When a man knows is he to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates the mind wonderfully.” With a good faith offer to reelect them on the table, will members of Congress publicly reject it just weeks before their fate will be decided, and throw themselves on their swords in order to keep poverty, keep mass incarceration, and keep the endless wars?

Given this choice, persuading incumbents to meet our terms in exchange for electoral victories is attainable, but not assured. What is very attainable, however, is that a block of swing voters, willing to vote for either major party candidate and armed with a specific metric for making their choice, will dictate the balance of power in Congress.

Relevant

What sort of political positions are relevant to all of Americans? Like finding a common ancestor, the answer lies in going further back in history, searching for the shared values that define us as a nation. Luckily, the framers of the Constitution included five duties in the Preamble for all Americans, individually and collectively, which drive the American Union’s agenda. We can do better as a nation by focusing on these relevant duties.

Our legislative package will establish justice with police and prison reforms, insure domestic tranquility by rallying Americans together around solutions, provide for the common defense with a more appropriate-sized military, promote the general welfare with universal basic income, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity by building the framework for cooperative democracy. In the 21st century, we the people are more capable than ever in looking out for each other, and making America a place where every citizen has the support that they need to thrive.

For the duopoly candidates themselves, the American Union of swing voters will be very relevant. Unlike a third party candidate, whose votes often serve as a spoiler, the American Union will be a decider. When polls show the level of American Union support spans the margin between the top candidates, no serious candidate will be able to ignore these demands relevant to their political future.

Time-Based

The goal of a satyagraha campaign is to convert others to our way of thinking, and persuade them to join us in acting to achieve our shared objectives. This leaves us with a modified carrot-and-stick approach; if incumbents can not be persuaded to accept the carrot of electoral victory and their challengers will, the stick of electoral defeat can only be wielded in November elections. On October 15, 2022, all Americans (especially candidates for office) willing to pledge their votes toward immediate passage of the legislative package are invited to participate in a national fast for peace.

With the public pledge of support from incumbents and voters established, Congress will have until October 26 to put the legislative package on the President’s desk, who will then have until noon on Sunday, October 30, to sign it. This allows our demands to influence the news for the maximum amount of time in the election cycle, with final endorsements held until November 1, 2022. (As political support is shored up during the intervening two weeks, there will likely be negotiations for the American Union endorsement in some races, such as North Carolina’s Senate seat, where there will be no incumbent on the ballot.)

As with any election campaign, our goal of ending poverty, mass incarceration, and the endless wars is definitely time-based. Should Congress fail to meet these terms, the stick will be felt on November 8, 2022.

Conclusion

Each member of Congress is keenly aware that every legislative package they’ve ever voted for contained a range of provisions and required some compromise on their part. With a legislative package to end poverty, end mass incarceration, and end the endless wars, the American Union offers them the opportunity to do so again in a way that will help every American — including members of Congress — succeed.

Recent evidence supports the assumption that Congress will be willing to put political gain over professed principals. In December 2020, as the nation watched the Georgia run-offs which would decide the balance of power in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) endorsed $600 stimulus checks specifically to help the two Republican candidates.

By breaking down the larger goal (unionizing as swing voters to pass transformative legislation) into smaller pieces, we can see how the entire process can work. When a measurable 3.5% of Americans support relevant Constitutional duties and commit to being the deciders in time for the 2022 midterms, we will attain the leverage over Congress to enact our specific legislative package.

Clearly, an American Union is a SMART political reform. Join the American Union today, and #VoteAU in 2022.

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Phoenix Congress

Challenging the duopoly with crowdsourced legislative solutions since 2019.