1. The Proposal Process
The purpose of The People’s Convention is to provide every American with the opportunity to
- Come together fairly, honestly and respectfully with other Americans from across the political spectrum
- Align on proposed constitutional amendments that would make the BIGGEST in restoring trust and confidence in their American democratic process, and
- Submit them to their state legislatures for approval as amendments to their state and federal constitutions
The first convention, The People’s Convention 2016, consisted of the combined results of a number of mini-test-conventions held over six years with approximately 450 residents of Sedona Arizona generously representing the American political spectrum.
Prior to conducting the mini-test-conventions) we reviewed independent public polling and identified at least five (5) political reforms that are supported by over 70% of Americans AND are ignored by Congress (in alphabetical order):
- Balanced federal budget 72-74%
- Campaign finance reform 67-83%
- Climate change 64-90%
- Ethics in government 64-90%
- Term limits for Congress 75-78%
During the mini-test-conventions, we began by asking the participants:
“What do YOU think would make the SINGLE BIGGEST difference in upgrading and strengthening, or restoring your trust and confidence in, the American democratic process?”
These were the topics mentioned most often—listed in alphabetical order:
- Administration of justice – eliminating partisanship
- Amending the U.S. Constitution – creating a better process
- Balanced federal budget – no deficit spending or additional borrowing
- Campaign finance reform – eliminating the use of private wealth to influence campaigns
- Corporate reform – reserving constitutional rights for individual human beings—not corps
- Deadly weapons – the right to be free from the use of deadly weapons
- Electoral college – eliminate college
- Ethics in government – establishing the highest fiduciary standards of ethical conduct
- Equality under the law – eliminating discrimination
- Fair elections – eliminate obstacles to voting, eliminate gerrymandering, etc.
- Financial stability – ensuring national financial security and fair markets
- Lobbying reform – eliminate preferences enjoyed by professional lobbyists
- One person-one vote
- Term limits – for members of Congress and possibly the Supreme Court
The participants then prioritized the list to the following five topics—listed in in order of popularity:
- Campaign finance reform
- Term limits
- Ethics in government
- Balanced budget
- Lobbying reform
2. The Final Proposed Amendments from The People’s Convention 2016
Overwhelmingly, the participants AGREED that campaign finance reform: eliminating the influence of private wealth on the election process would make the biggest difference by far.
So they were asked to draft a proposed constitutional amendment that
- Addressed their concerns
- Would be supported by over 75% of the participants from across the political spectrum, and
- Was simple, straightforward, heartfelt and no more than twenty words long
And here’s what they came up with:
Every person shall have the right to a political process free from the influence of private wealth. (17 words)
However, soon thereafter, the participants realized there was little or no chance a campaign finance proposal would succeed as long as we Americans allowed the wealthy to use their funds to mislead and deceive American voters on matters of public policy with impunity.
So we asked them to draft their own proposed amendment to their state and federal constitution—and have it approved by over 75% of the participants. Here’s what they created:
The people shall have the right to complete, honest, accurate and intelligible information in all matters of public policy.(19 words)
The participants were convinced this honesty amendment would need to be approved before the first proposal would be approved.
Final caveat. Our workshops were held in Sedona, Arizona, a tourist and retirement community, and the participants were predominantly white and over the age of 55.
We are now VERY INTERESTED in expanding the convention process to include minorities and all other individuals age 15 and over.