Fixing American Democracy: Voting Bucks
I was excited to see a headline recently about a new initiative in Seattle called the Democracy Voucher Program. Finally, I thought, someone has brought the excitement and prestige of vouchers to the boring old institution of voting. My excitement melted into bitter disappointment when I read the details
All they’re doing is redistributing the wealth that would normally influence elections into the hands of average people. I’m sorry, I thought this was America, not Soviet Russia. Political influence must be earned by the sweat of one’s brow or through the arduous process of inheriting a trust fund.
This got me thinking of a phrase I often hear when people complain about the unethical behaviors of a business. “Vote with your wallet,” they say. If you found the latest Pepsi commercial offensive, or you’re angry with them for illegally destroying the rainforest in Sumatra, you can “vote” for their competitor by purchasing Coke instead. Upset about Coke’s tacit support of slave labor related to the 2022 World Cup? Buy a can of Pepsi.
This is the beauty of American style capitalism. Slave labor or environmental disaster, take your pick. And don’t talk to me about 3rd party sodas. Get real, hippie.
Voting with your wallet works great. All you need to take down an evil corporation is for enough Americans to thoroughly research the behavior of the companies who sell all the products they buy, and their parent companies and subsidiaries, and adjust their purchasing behavior accordingly until the company either stops doing the evil or finds better ways to obfuscate their role in the evildoing. Works every time.
This method of keeping big business in check works so well I think it’s time we apply the same idea to our elections. What would that look like, exactly? I propose the introduction of Federal Voting Bucks. Each Voting Buck could be used to cast one vote for a member of congress or the presidency. Voting Bucks would be available to purchase for the low introductory price of one dollar each.
Wouldn't this make it possible for people to vote more than once? Yes it would. So what? That whole “one person, one vote” idea is a bunch of pinko commie nonsense not found anywhere in the Constitution. Wouldn’t this give the wealthy even more power and influence? Yes. Again, so what? Why shouldn’t the wealthy have more power and influence? They’ve proven their superiority by having a lot of money. Wouldn’t this take away the voice of the poor? One more time now: so what? Freedom isn’t free. Why should we be just giving away votes? If the poors want votes they can work hard and earn them. Or maybe they can stop spending all their money on lobster and then they can afford to vote. #Priorities.
Think of all the problems this approach could solve. Voter fraud would be rendered totally insignificant. Anyone who could buy a Voting Buck would have the right to spend it, regardless of immigration or felony status. Only the good immigrants could afford to buy enough Voting Bucks to make a difference. How do we know they’re good? Because they can afford to buy enough Voting Bucks to influence the election, duh.
Long lines at polling places, confusing ballots and glitchy voting machines, all these things could be eliminated by just letting people mail their Voting Bucks to the candidate of their choice. Systemic racism making it harder for minorities to vote? Not with Voting Bucks because anyone regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation, could vote as much as their bank account would support.
Voting is like political currency. You know who’s really good at handling currency? Rich people. Captains of industry. I mean, they are captains. Their right to wield power is right there in the name. You know who’s really bad at handling currency? Poor people. Just like with money, the best way to keep poor people from mismanaging it is to take it away from them.