Americans are tired of failed governmental programs, campaign mudslinging, political gridlock, and special interest control of our political process. Recent polls indicate that 85% of American voters no longer believe that the Republicans and Democrats can solve the nation¹s problems. Therefore, more than two thirds of voters now favor the creation of a major third political party. The Natural Law Party was founded in response to this deep desire of Americans for a true government of the people, by the people, and for the people.(a) Implement long-overdue campaign finance reform to make our representatives accountable to the people.
The exorbitant cost of campaigns favors wealthy candidates and those who receive large contributions from political action committees (PACs) and other special interest groups. Research has shown that 90% of all campaigns are won by the candidate who spends the most. Consequently, government has become a hostage to special interests rather than responsive to the people.
Moreover, campaign finances have usurped the focus of our elected leaders by forcing them to attend to fundraising rather than doing their jobs and solving the nation¹s problems. For example, it can take $10 million or more to run an effective Senate campaign; consequently, incumbents must raise $5,000 every day they are in office. Hence the lure of PAC funding becomes too compelling to resist. The Natural Law Party will promote fairness in campaign financing through public sponsorship of election campaigns and will support legislation to correct injustices through the following campaign finance reforms:
€ Eliminate PACs. When candidates run for Congress, they turn to lobbyists and PACs for contributions. Consequently, when drafting legislation, they often feel more accountable to special interests than to the people they were elected to serve. This system amounts to legalized bribery. The elimination of PACs and special interest control of the political process would make our elected representatives responsive to the people once again.
€ Eliminate "soft money." This loophole circumvents the legal limits that individuals or corporations can donate to campaigns--limits which are flagrantly violated today. Since current donation limits apply only to the election of federal officials and to some state organizations, unlimited funds can be donated to nonfederal party accounts, whose administrators can then apply the money as they choose--including, indirectly, to federal campaigns. Special interest groups often use such "soft money" to buy support for their cause, thus sacrificing the best interest of the American people.
€ Restrict lobbying. Strictly limit the ability of former public servants to lobby on behalf of domestic and foreign interests.
€ Eliminate congressional privileges. Public servants should abide by the same laws as every American citizen. Free mailings, congressional pensions, and other special privileges should be limited.
(b) Implement election reform to create a level playing field for all qualified candidates with new ideas and new programs.
€ Ensure ballot access fairness. Every political party and candidate should have the same requirements in every election for getting on the ballot. Incumbents should no longer have privileges over challengers with new ideas.
€ Promote campaign fairness. It is the right of the American people to hear the views of every candidate on the ballot. All candidates who meet ballot access requirements should have the same access to their constituencies, including equal media access through a series of publicly sponsored televised forums, debates, and infomercials, as well as publicly sponsored mailings of voter education materials. To qualify for these privileges, candidates would be required to comply with voluntary spending limits. This structure would favor voter education over privately funded media advertising and would thereby help eliminate special-interest influence on the election process.
€ Encourage all Americans to vote. Election day should be made a mandatory national holiday, as in most other nations, so that everyone has time to vote. Voter registration should be facilitated by creating uniform laws that allow same-day registration or even automatic registration.
€ Shorten the campaign season. The campaign season should be reduced to four months--two months for parties to choose their candidates and two months for the general election.
€ Abolish the Electoral College. Under the current system, a presidential candidate can receive a majority of the popular vote and still lose the election. The President should be elected by the people through direct popular vote.
€ Allow national initiatives. The "public initiative" process, already enacted and in operation in 23 states, should be expanded to the national level. This process allows the collective will of our citizens to initiate legislative reform and thereby shape governmental policy more directly.
€ Reconsider proportional representation. Proportional representation, as opposed to our nation¹s "winner-take-all" process, has been an effective political system in countries around the world and more fairly represent the true will of the people.
(c) Streamline the Federal Government by reducing government waste and mismanagement, cutting pork-barrel spending, simplifying redundant bureaucracies, and encouraging decentralization and privatization wherever possible.
(d) Implement a new approach to national administration based on prevention-oriented government, conflict-free politics, and proven solutions to the nation¹s problems.
Government should be based on what works--not what is politically expedient or bought and paid for by special interest groups. There are simple, humane, cost-effective, scientifically proven solutions to all of America¹s problems. The Natural Law Party will end our current crisis management approach to government by implementing prevention-oriented programs to solve existing problems and prevent future ones from arising.
To help accomplish this goal, the Natural Law Party supports "all-party government"--bringing together the best ideas, programs, and leaders from all political parties and the private sector to solve and prevent problems. The Natural Law Party advocates an end to negative campaigning, to partisan politics, and to special interest control of government.
The Natural Law Party will solve problems at their deepest level by bringing individual life, and our national policies, into greater harmony with natural law through proven educational programs; natural, preventive health care; renewable energy; sustainable agriculture; and other forward-looking, prevention-oriented programs.