Issues: What does the Common Sense Party stand for?

Democracy welcomes multiple points of view accompanied by opportunities for civil discourse and dialogue. But the system we have now, the product of two major parties, prioritizes preserving power over dialogue and collaboration. The two major parties created this system. They thrive under it. They won’t change it.

The Common Sense Party welcomes many points of view; indeed, avoiding orthodoxy is one of our core principles. But creating a democracy where multiple perspectives can come together to govern and thrive means having a platform focused on campaign and electoral reform as well as legislative transparency.  

What follows is the Common Sense Party’s position on the above issues. As we welcome different points of view, please comment on these positions and add your own for consideration.  

1) Transparency.

A clear understanding of the issues is a fundamental component of an informed electorate. But current rules and regulations around funding disclosures are inadequate, leaving voters uninformed and even deceived. Therefore, we propose immediate online disclosure of all funding for all campaign and issue advertisements on social media, television, radio, print, and all other forms of communication. This should be required whether the message is from a candidate, a super-PAC, a bundler, or any other entity.

2) Mandate legislative public hearings and make the text of bills available to the public.

The California Constitution has a set of deadlines for the Legislature to conduct public hearings on every bill. In addition, every bill is required to appear in print well before its consideration on the floor of each house of the Legislature.  

However, every year, the Legislature’s leaders use devices like “budget trailer bills” and “gut and replace amendments” to escape requirements for public hearings and make the texts of bills available to the public in advance.

We must abolish these shenanigans. The Legislature must follow the requirements set in the California Constitution for hearings and votes in each house and for actual texts to be made available in advance.

3) Change who writes the initiative summaries.  

A politically neutral source should write all initiatives and summaries to ensure voters’ clear, comprehensive understanding of ballot initiatives. However, ballot initiatives and summaries are currently written by the Attorney General, a political post, denying voters the opportunity to see unbiased explanations of these measures. Therefore, we propose the State Librarian, a politically neutral position, be given the authority to write ballot initiative titles and summaries.

4) Limit spending on campaigns.

Before a US Supreme Court decision in 1976, reasonable restrictions on spending in political campaigns were permitted, controlling the ability of the wealthy to influence elections. That decision of 46 years ago defined the First Amendment to include spending money as a form of free speech, opening the doors of undue influence from the wealthy. Since that decision, we’ve seen our democracy inch towards plutocracy­–government by the rich.

We support limits on how much anyone can spend to influence elections by returning to the judicial view held before 1976. However, if that is not possible, we propose adopting low-level limits on spending by anyone to influence an election, at least during the month before an election. The US Supreme Court has indicated those kinds of limitations would be constitutional.

5) End the built-in disadvantage suffered by independent candidates.

Independent candidates often represent nascent voices in our society and are a source of new ideas. They deserve a fighter’s chance in elections. However, California campaign contribution law creates a 9-to-1 advantage for candidates of a recognized political party. The Common Sense Party will work within the existing law to eliminate this unfair disadvantage. We’ll act as a political party can act, directing our help to independent-minded candidates, not just those of our party.

Eventually, we hope to change that law so that the same campaign contribution limits apply to all candidates, regardless of whether an officially recognized political party is helping them.

6) Alternatives to plurality winner voting systems.  

Democracy works when voters have the opportunity to support candidates they believe are qualified to lead. However, our current plurality of voting methods results in candidates from either the extreme right or left being selected, despite most voters supporting someone in the middle. We must fix this broken system.

The Common Sense Party supports testing of alternative election methods, which will incentivize candidates to reach out to a broader spectrum of their constituents. This will not only moderate candidates’ positions but open their minds by listening to those who have been ignored. We must allow voters the opportunity to vote for all candidates who they want to support and who could lead.

Help us build a new political party – the Common Sense Party – a vehicle to invite new ideas and new solutions.

67,000 Goal

We need to get to 73,000 registered members with the Secretary of State to become an official party.

If you believe in our mission, then join us and change your party registration.

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