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Democratic Reforms 2021

by Sanderson Beck

      On May 25, 2021 I sent to the 50 members of the Democratic Caucus in the United States Senate the following letter:

            This letter is being sent to all 50 members of the Democratic Caucus in the US Senate, and its purpose is to propose a strategy for unifying the Caucus on legislation for the highest good of all concerned.

            The first step in this plan is for all 50 in the Caucus to come to a consensus agreement to vote together as a unified party on repealing or modifying the filibuster rule so that it can no longer block a majority in the US Senate from passing legislative bills and resolutions. In a 50-50 Senate, in which the Republicans are currently uncooperative, the Democrats need to attain 100% solidarity in order to pass legislation 51-50 with the tie-breaking vote by Vice President Harris.

            The next step is to apply the consensus agreement to voting on all bills and resolutions. The consensus agreement would prevent a small minority (5 or less) of the Democratic Caucus from sabotaging bills. With the consensus agreement when at least 90% (45 of 50) of the Caucus are in agreement, then all members promise to vote for that bill on the floor of the US Senate. This process allows those in that small minority the opportunity to work out compromises with the much larger majority.

            Five or less opposing senators would need to unite with the 45 or more in solidarity for the good of the Democratic Party, the United States, and the world. This is my suggestion, but of course the Democrats could choose a number other than 45 for the threshold needed for unanimity. If the Democratic Caucus does not come to such an agreement, then one or more of the Senators could block the passage of a bill supported by most of the Democrats, thus aiding the Republican opposition.

            For more information on my related reforms, please see:


                                                            Love and Light,
                                                            Sanderson Beck

      When I was learning how to type, I remember being taught the following sentence:

“Now is the time for all good men (should be “people”) to come to the aid of their party.”

      In the current crisis the so-called “Republican Party” is no longer true to its name. Under the autocracy of Donald Trump they could be called “Trumplicans” as a friend of mine suggested. As Trump faces justice for some of his many crimes, his influence is likely to fade; but the party is still likely to be far from republican principles. I suggest that they should be called the “Plutocratic Party” because they are primarily ruled by the wealthy and intend that the United States should continue to be governed that way with the elected leaders dominated by the increasing campaign contributions needed to get elected these days. Most Democratic politicians are also influenced by this corrupt system, but a growing progressive movement within the Democratic Party and in the Green Party is working to reform politics and government.
      During the current megacrisis of wars, extreme economic inequality, and climate catastrophes, the degeneration of the Republican Party is aggravating the situation in the most powerful nation in the history of the world that is showing signs of being a pre-civil-war era. As more and more states pass laws designed to suppress the votes and gerrymander districts, the corruption of the voting system may increase significantly in the 2022 elections. The Democrats, having passed H.R. 1: For the People Act in the House, the Senate could pass their S. 1 version in order to reform and overcome those attempts at additional voter suppression. Democrats have little or no chance of doing this in the Senate unless they repeal or nullify the Senate’s anti-democratic filibuster rule which prevents a majority from passing legislation without having at least 60 votes out of 100. If these steps are not taken, there is a danger that the Republicans could regain control of the US Senate and the House of Representatives. A voting pattern of opposing the President’s party in elections in which the President is not running is apparent, though there are some exceptions. In wondering what previous election might be most similar to the 2022 elections, I looked up the results of the 1934 elections, and I found that the Democrats actually gained several seats that year in both houses of Congress. Thus it is not hopeless even if Democrats have to overcome the voter suppression. By passing the For the People Act the Democrats would be making significant reforms and would be able to move forward in the years ahead.
      Many of the reforms I advocate for our country and the world have been summarized succinctly in the 29 Benchmarks for Evaluating Progressive Candidates that I formulated during my brief campaign for President in 2019 and 2020. I believe they are still very relevant and are the following:

1. Single-payer Medicare for all with no deductibles or co-pays.
2. Removing the cap on income for the Social Security tax and increasing the tax rate to help cover health care.
3. Women’s rights: the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and health care covering ending a pregnancy.
4. Election reforms: universal registration age 16 and over, commercial-free debates, regulating money, election day a holiday, ranked voting, and National Popular Vote for President.
5. Expanding the social safety net to make sure that every person in the United States has access to adequate food, housing, education, and health care.
6. $20 per hour minimum wage.
7. Progressive personal income tax that includes capital gains and with a 70% maximum bracket.
8. Increasing the corporate income tax to 50% and removing loopholes that allow large corporations to pay little.
9. An annual tax on assets until the US debt is paid off with 1% on more than $1 million, 2% over $10 million, 3% over $100 million, 4% over $1 billion, and 5 % over 10 billion.
10. 1% sales tax on stock and bond transactions equally divided by the federal and state governments to help finance free public education from pre-K through college.
11. An estate tax with a $1 million exemption in addition to the progressive rates proposed by Sanders above $3.5 million.
12. Reducing US military spending 25% per year.
13. Stopping all US arms sales and transferring this money to humanitarian aid for suffering nations.
14. Removing all US military bases from foreign countries.
15. Negotiating the disarmament of all nuclear weapons in the world fulfilling the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty and the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
16. Stopping covert operations and negotiating an end to all military conflicts.
17. United States acceptance of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
18. Greatly increasing support for United Nations peacekeeping.
19. Negotiating reduction of military forces worldwide.
20. Funding clean energy and efficiency and the Green New Deal.
21. $20 per ton tax on carbon emissions.
22. Taxing livestock to pay for emissions and water costs.
23. Taxing unsustainable industrial agriculture.
24. Subsidizing organic agriculture, carbon sequestration, and land restoration and soil rehydration. 
25. Criminal justice reform to implement restorative justice that compensates victims of crime and emphasizes rehabilitation rather than punishment.
26. Banning all automatic and semi-automatic weapons, registering and licensing guns, and limiting ammunition.
27. Protecting free expression of ideas; increasing funding for public broadcasting; establishing a free search service online for all websites that do not have paid advertisements; and taxing commercials that appear on public airwaves.
28. Increasing humanitarian aid to poor countries to help them become self-supporting and sustainable.
29. Welcoming refugees and allowing the undocumented to become citizens.

   More details on these benchmarks can be found at:

      I also encourage Democrats to consider adding Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia as states. The latter might be called “Douglass” in honor of the abolitionist and woman’s rights advocate Frederick Douglass.
      Senator Ed Markey has suggested a bill to add four new justices to the US Supreme Court but would retain the lifetime tenure. I believe that lifetime appointments are problematic and that limited terms would be better. This is what the United States Constitution says about the federal courts in Article III Section 1:

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court,
and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.
The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour,
and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation,
which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

My proposal for reforming the US Supreme Court would add six new justices and would limit all new justices to a 15-year term. The six new justices would be added one per year on July 1. After that as a new justice is added each year, the justice who has been on the court the longest must retire. After the nine current justices are no longer there, then each year one justice would complete the 15-year term on June 30, and a new justice would be appointed. A retiring or retired justice could be re-appointed for a second 15-year term by the current President but no more than that. This reform makes these important improvements. First, it will bring much change gradually with at least one new justice each year. Second, justices will no longer have the option of staying on the court a long time until death. Third, Presidents will no longer have an incentive to choose young justices so that they may have a long influence. Fourth, each President will have the equal opportunity of choosing one new justice per year. When a justice resigns or dies, they would be replaced as before; but with the new system this would occur much less often.

Copyright © 2021 by Sanderson Beck

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