"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson


We as Americans all remember being taught when we were young about our nation's founders, the patriots who stood up to the tyranny of the crown of England, the drafters of the declaration of independence, the constitution, and the bill of rights, the documents that became the framework for a system of governance that they believed would maintain a balance of power within a truly representative government, that would preserve the basic rights and liberties of the people, let their voice be heard, and provide to them a government, as Lincoln later put it, "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

What we may not be so quick to recall, however, is that there was much debate between the founding fathers as to what model our system of government should follow. Those such as Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and Patrick Henry on one side favored a pure and direct democracy with the legislative power vested in the very hands of the people, while others such as James Madison, John Adams and George Washington held that a representative democracy would better serve the people than a true democracy because they believed it would protect the individual liberties of the minority from the will of the majority. Alexander Hamilton even went so far as to support the creation of a monarchy. In the end, those favoring representative democracy won the day and that is the system they put in place in the hopes of creating a "more perfect union."

Now we must ask ourselves, what would the founding fathers think if they were resurrected today to see what has become of their vision? One can only assume that they would begin to search for modern day patriots to meet them once again at the liberty tree in order to plan a new struggle for freedom and self governance. Although we continue to praise and honor those who founded our nation and sought to create a truly just form of government for it, do we really stop to reflect on whether we as a nation have in fact succeeded in preserving what they fought so hard to create?

Today, in contrast to our revolutionary ancestors, we as citizens of the United States generally observe politics from afar and the vast majority of us may participate in the political process only to the extent that we go to the polls once a year to vote. Over the decades and centuries we have allowed the erosion of the ideals of the founding fathers and the corruption of the principles which they enshrined in those so carefully conceived documents. We have been left with essentially no real power to influence our "democratically" elected officials. We may write an occasional letter to our senator or representative that generates a form letter in response and a statistical data entry that may or may not be weighed against the influence of some powerful corporate lobby. We may be permitted to participate in a march or demonstration of thousands or even millions, something our patriots of old would have marvelled at, only to be dismissed as a 'focus group' with no bearing on policy decisions.

How then is the government held accountable to the voice of the people? Are the people meant to speak only at the polls when given a choice between a select few candidates that may be equally corrupt? No, as Jefferson and his allies rightly believed, the people should be heard much more than that.

In spite of their good intentions, the system of representative democracy that the founding fathers opted for has been systematically undermined and has ultimately failed in preserving the well being of the people of this nation. Most of us accept this reality as being beyond our control and continue to observe, comment, and complain without aspiring to achieving any real change. Our local leaders and activists in our communities, and even those local elected officials who may have the best of intentions are for the most part powerless to make real positive change happen in our neighborhoods, towns and villages when there is so much corruption from above.

We have become so accustomed to this failed system of representative democracy that it may not occur to us that there are other alternative forms of democracy. In various places around the world participatory or direct democracy has been instituted both in concert with representative democracy, and as a replacement for it. It is a form of democracy that is designed to take directly into account your views, and the views of your neighbors, and to politically empower you to make real positive change possible in your communities. Initiative, referendum & recall, community councils, and grassroots organizing are but a few ways in which direct/participatory democracy is achieving great success around the world.

This site will attempt to explore in depth the concept of participatory democracy and how this grass-roots based form of governance could help bring us back in line with the principles this country was founded upon if it were allowed to take root here. In the hope that one day we can become a nation working together as a united people practicing true democracy as true equals, we open this forum…



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Thursday, January 31, 2008


An initiative is underway in Australia which has led to the creation of a new political party called Senator On-Line. The party is unique in that it is the first internet based party in Australia, and it seeks to elect representatives to office who have pledged to vote according to the will of the people, and not their own personal views. this will be achieved by an internet based popular poll being held for each bill brought before the parliament. The result of the poll will determine the way the Senator On-line senator votes on the bill, effectively creating a mixed direct/representative democracy in which the senator is merely a proxy representative executing the expressed will of the people. The Senator On-line party was officially registered and participated in the 2007 Australian election receiving over 8000 votes even though they entered only 2 months before the election. This bold experiment, if it succeeds, should certainly lead us to consider the possiblity of a similar initiative being implemented in the U.S.A. as a transitional step towards a more direct democratic system. - Editor

Senator On-Line is Australia's Only Internet Based Democratic Political Party

Source: http://www.senatoronline.org.au/

Senator On-Line is not aligned to any other political party… it is neither Liberal nor Labor.

Senator On-Line (‘SOL’) is a truly democratic party which will allow everyone on the Australian Electoral roll who has access to the internet to vote on every Bill put to Parliament and have its Senators vote in accordance with a clear majority view.

How did SOL go in the 2007 election?

Senator On-Line was approved shortly before the 2007 federal election was called. Senate counting continues and given we had only around two months to develop public awareness, spent no money on newspaper or TV advertising, we've received over 8000 votes nationally so far - a reasonable result and better than the national votes for four other parties.

We had over 1000 people who registered with us in the two months and emails offering support are continuing to roll in. We look forward to contesting the next election.



When a SOL senator is elected a web site will be developed which will provide:

  1. Accurate information and balanced argument on each Bill and important issues

  2. The vast majority of those registered on the Australian Electoral roll the chance to have their say by voting on bills and issues facing our country

  3. A tally of all votes which will then count in Parliament

  4. Each person on the Australian Electoral roll will be entitled to one vote and only be allowed to vote once on each bill or issue.

  5. SOL senators will have committed in writing to voting in line with the clear majority view of the SOL on-line voters.

  6. Senator On-Line will enable broader community involvement in the political process and the shaping of our country.

If you like the concept, please register your details and tell others about SOL.

This is the pre-election website. To find out what will be available when SOL wins a Senate seat click here.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Washington's politicians, especially those who have allowed themselves to become subservient to corporate puppetmasters and their lobbyists, are not prepared to relinquish power to the people by moving towards a more direct democracy, but the people keep organizing in order to achieve that end, in an attempt to increase the power of the popular voice in government.

Technological developments such as cell phones and, above all else, the internet have without a doubt become amazing tools in this effort, providing lines of communication for organizing, networking, and access to alternative media outlets outside of corporate control. Washington has counterattacked by introducing radical measures to monitor citizen's activities on the internet and their phone communications. This provides them with a database which can be used to spy on political opponents within the general population, and also has a chilling effect 0n people's readiness to freely express their political views, because they rightly fear that 'Big Brother' is watching.

Those in Washington have recognized the potential for a surge in popular power that these technologies have unleashed, and are attempting to squelch it as they have successfully done in the past with radio and television. We as citizens need to demand continued free and unfettered access to these new media and the type of information they provide without fear of being spied upon, and without them being regulated and restructured in order to strip them of the potential they have for increasing freedom of political expression and grassroots organizing.

The following article illustrates but one example of how the government is attempting to crack down on political expression in this manner. If those in Washington implementing these measures truly believed that our government is 'of the people, by the people, and for the people,' then they would not lessen our motivation to participate for fear of being spied upon or reprimanded, but instead would inspire us to act against the corrupt and oppressive elements within the government that have usurped power from the people, where the nation's constitution states that it is to be vested. - Editor

Maine Peace Groups Under FBI Scrutiny

(Source: http://www.agrnews.org/?section=archives&cat_id=13&article_id=257&rowx=0 )

Feb. 1- The Maine Civil Liberties Union (MCLU) announced on Feb. 1 that it has uncovered evidence of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) surveillance of the Maine Coalition for Peace and Justice. The FBI responded to a June records request from the MCLU with revelations that it has intercepted and collected past communications from members of the Maine Coalition for Peace and Justice, a statewide organization of individual citizens and Maine group representatives working collectively and nonviolently for social equality, economic justice, direct democracy and regenerative environmental policies.

"Knowing that the government is spying without probable cause on innocent Mainers sends a chilling message to all of us that our conversations are not our own," said Shenna Bellows, executive director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union. "Spying on peace activists exercising their First Amendment rights does nothing to make this country safer, but it does make us less free."

In a related matter, the MCLU filed a federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on behalf of local peace activists, protest groups and civil libertarians whose lawful activities may have been monitored by the Pentagon. The move is part of a national ACLU effort to reveal the extent and purpose of Pentagon spying.

The MCLU filed its FOIA request on behalf of the American Friends Service Committee, Maine Program on Youth and Militarism, the Maine Coalition for Peace and Justice and the MCLU itself. The MCLU is seeking the disclosure of all documents maintained by the Department of Defense on the individuals and groups, as well as information on whether the records have been shared with other government agencies.

The national ACLU filed a similar FOIA request on behalf of the American Friends Service Committee, Veterans for Peace, United for Peace and Justice and Greenpeace. ACLU affiliates in Georgia, Rhode Island, Florida, Pennsylvania and California are seeking Pentagon files on local groups.

Activist groups across the country learned through news reports in December that they are listed in the Pentagon's Threat and Local Observation Notice (TALON) database. The TALON program was initiated by former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz in 2003 to track groups and individuals with possible links to terrorism, but the Pentagon has been collecting information on peaceful activists and monitoring anti-war and anti-military recruiting protests throughout the United States. Following public outcry over the domestic spying program, current Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England issued a memorandum on Jan. 13 directing intelligence personnel to receive "refresher training on the policies for collection, retention, dissemination and use of information related to US

Documents requested by the national ACLU under previous FOIA requests have revealed that the FBI is using its Joint Terrorism Task Forces to gather extensive information about peaceful organizations such as Greenpeace and Food Not Bombs. Earlier this month, the ACLU filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of journalists, scholars and attorneys against the National Security Agency for illegally intercepting vast quantities of the international telephone and internet communications of US citizens without court approval.

"The Pentagon's monitoring of anti-war protesters is yet another example of a government agency using its powers to spy on law-abiding Americans who criticize US policies," said Ben Wizner, a staff attorney with the national ACLU. "How can we believe that the National Security Agency is intercepting only al-Qaida phone calls when we have evidence that the government is keeping tabs on peace activists in Maine?"

DBTP Editor - Also see the following article about a new proposed plan to increase even further the governments cyberspace spying programs:


Saturday, January 26, 2008


What is the National Initiative?

Not everyone is aware of the existence of the National Initiative for Democracy, which is an elaborate plan to institute a system of direct democracy in the U.S.A. It would be enacted in the form of a constitutional amendment made binding by a popular vote in which the majority of the nationwide electorate approves it. This bold and visionary plan to create a balance of power betweeen the people and the existing branches of government is largely the work of former senator and current presidential candidate Mike Gravel. Read the following article and follow the links to learn more about it. You can also register your vote right now for the National Initiative. When 50 million have done so, it becomes the law! Find out how. -Editor


The United States of America is not, in fact, a democracy. In a democracy, the people are the government. Today, we elect people to run the government for us. The people we elect do not, for the most part, run the country in the interest of the people, they run it in the interest of themselves. We are led to believe that we must put our trust in these people. We, the people, do not have the power to create laws in our interest. This leads to an extreme imbalance of power in the government versus the people.

To solve these problems and create a true balance of power, The Democracy Foundation has created a plan named the National Initiative for Democracy.

The powerful elites who control our government will self-servingly argue that the People are not qualified or do not know enough to be trusted to make laws. To counter those opposed to empowering the People, one needs only look to the record of the last 100 years in the 24 states where the People make laws by initiative. In those states the People have legislated responsibly, and many times more so than their elected representatives. Civil service, campaign finance reform, and women's right to vote are but a few examples of the progressive legislation initiated by the People.

The experience of Switzerland is even more instructive. Switzerland, a poor, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, hardscrabble country without natural resources, decided, 140 years ago, to adopt a constitution that brought the People into the operation of government as lawmakers. Even the acclaimed Alexis de Tocqueville had serious doubts that this Swiss experiment in direct democracy would work. The result is without precedent in human history; Switzerland has evolved into the most successfully governed and wealthiest nation in the world.

The National Initiative has been developed and refined over the past decade by former Senator Mike Gravel (D. Alaska, 1969 - 1981) and his colleagues. The Democracy Foundation, a nonprofit 501 c 3 organization, is sponsoring the National Initiative. Philadelphia II, a separate nonprofit organization, is conducting an election on National Initiative at votep2.us, giving the people the opportunity to vote for and enact the National Initiative into law. Both are organizations are led by Senator Gravel.

The National Initiative is a legislative proposal that includes an amendment to the Constitution, the Democracy Amendment and a proposed federal statute, the Democracy Act. The Amendment 1) asserts the constituent sovereignty of the People to make laws, 2) outlaws monies in initiative elections not from natural persons, and 3) legalizes the self-enactment process of the Philadelphia II election.

The Act establishes deliberative legislative procedures for the People and creates an administrative agency (the Electoral Trust) to implement those procedures on behalf of the People, independent of representative governments.

With the National Initiative's enactment, the American People will experience the responsibility of legislating and governing themselves directly, the benefits of which will bring about greater civic maturity. The National Initiative does not alter the existing structure of representative governments; however, it does add an additional check, the People, to our system of Checks and Balances. Bringing the People into the legislative operations of government sets up a working partnership with the People and their elected legislative representatives.

The election by Philadelphia II at votep2.us overcomes the monopoly of representative government over the people and the failure of Congress to share its lawmaking powers with the People, who are already experienced as lawmakers in 24 states where they make laws by initiative, and everywhere, whenever people vote on bond issues.

The Philadelphia II election began on September 17, 2002 allowing people to the use of the Internet to vote on the National Initiative. The successful use of this ubiquitous technology now depends on supporters networking their friends, relatives, colleagues and organizations informing them that they can enact the National Initiative into law without the government by voting at: votep2.us

The ideological foundation of the National Initiative rests on the belief that the constituent power of the People is sovereign and the American People can govern themselves as they see fit in pursuit of their happiness and the general welfare. George Washington put it best: The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government.

You can best equip yourself to help network your friends by investigating the subjects below and following their links (which are repeated in the left margin of the following pages) to learn more about:

The National Initiative For Democracy: A description of the National Initiative

The Democracy Amendment: Full text of the proposed amendment to the United States Constitution.

The Democracy Act: Full text of the proposed federal statute establishing procedures for the Legislature of the People.

Parrish Report: A more easily readable description of the National Initiative

Rationale: Why we need the National Initiative.

First Principles: The philosophical foundation of the National Initiative.

Partnership In Democracy: How the Legislature of the People, working in partnership with our elected legislators, overcomes the flaws of a purely representative democracy while retaining its benefits.

Constitutionality: The legal foundation of the National Initiative.

Action Plan: The plan of action to enact the National Initiative

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Direct democracy is by no means alien to the western world as we have already pointed out in relation to the institutions of direct democracy that are practiced at the state and local level in the U.S.A. , and Switzerland is arguably the western nation where it has been practiced for the longest time and on the broadest scale. The Swiss are very proud of their direct democracy, and there is a lot we can learn from it's history and development in order to visualize how such a system could and should be implemented here in the U.S.A. - Editor

To learn more about Switzerland's fascinating direct democratic system visit this site:


And also view this very interesting government video presentation on the subject:




Ever since this DBTP editor read about intentional communities in Bitch Magazine, it became obvious that there must be someone out there practicing direct democracy on the community level. Upon researching the matter further, this article presented itself as an important resource for any assessment of direct democracy in practice. Complex, difficult, and even disheartening as the process may seem, Mildred Gordon draws upon extensive experience in intentional communities to show that it can be done successfully. Learning from her experiences and professional insight will help any community or organization make direct democracy work. - Editor

Read her article here:


Monday, January 21, 2008

Participatory Media Supplements Participatory Democracy

The article below gives a great history of media's role(s) in society and demonstrates how more people are publishing nowadays. The expansion of the current wave of popular participation in writing and disseminating information brought on by the internet is imperative both for making our individual voices heard, and for elevating the political consciousness of the general public, which an essential element to their fulfilling their role in a participatory democracy. Diversifying media and diversifying voices are key steps to implementing participatory democracy. People better clarify their arguments, work to report objectively when dealing with the broader public, and begin to get at some truth when they participate more often. Not only is participatory media beneficial to the quality and diversity of reporting, it also stimulates and prepares people to participate and interact in democratic systems. Participatory media can help us to hear dissenting views and come to conclusions only after hearing many opinions and testing our own views on a receptive audience. - Editor

This article provides the history, but we create the future:


Saturday, January 19, 2008


Planting a tree at base community of Totoapita

Small lay-led communities, motivated by Catholic faith and defined by participatory values, can be found throughout Latin America. Communities in the United States have much to learn from the participatory practices of these communities, especially their inclusion of the poor in education and problem solving.

With the goals of working together, improving the community, and establishing a more just society, community members respond to Liberation Theology's "option for the poor". In the 1950s, European movements within the Church stressed action around people's real problems, such as unjust treatment in the workplace or school, union struggles, or a coworker's needs. The defining values became "observe-judge-act". Observing includes discussing relevant facts, judging means deciding the situation's relation to the gospel, and acting means doing something, no matter how small, to change it. Regular meetings allowed evalutation of problems and actions a frequent practice. These movements spread to Latin American villages and barrios and by the end of the 1960s, the base community model gained widespread acceptance as the initial cell for builiding communities and became an important contribution to development efforts. While some priests travelled around the region helping people start organizing, lay people began to favor the defining values of commitment, personal growth, dialogue, and critical thinking. These values allowed them a sense of individuality that differs from being part of the masses gathered at a single community church and gave people the power to organize themselves.

The poor have been most responsive to the base-community format. The word "base" is often understood as the "bottom" of society, that is, the poor majority. Poverty motivates communities to struggle for their rights while the actions they take often go hand-in-hand with the religious aspects of liberation theology. A group may meet for Bible study and finish by discussing how to form a cooperative or fix a road for easier transportation. Also, as church members spread the gospel - or "good news" - people find that god is with them in their struggles and that change is possible.

While Catholic faith was a major force in founding base communities and giving an option for the poor, the most important piece is the empowerment of the oppressed. Through dialogue and consciousness raising (concientizacion), peasants and the impoverished learned to read and write without the hierarchical and paternalistic patterns of leadership. The Brazilian educator Paulo Friere and other developed a system in the 1950s and 60s that treated adults as intellegent despite their lack of linguistic skills. Through group discussions and individual curiosity, the community learns in a way independent of established structures. Learning words that denote the realities of a peasant's life (e.g. mother, father, land, corn, hoe) made the process applicable to daily life. As people came together to learn literacy skills, they experience the 'concientizacion' to help them articulate their needs and become organized as what Antonio Gramsci calles "organic intellectuals". This process empowered the poor community by giving them necessary skills to found a base community themselves.

Base communities have goals, values, and tools to make real changes in the lives of community members. These are imperative foundations for participatory democracy. Base communites may be seen as models for participatory democracy in cases where the people have the power to make actual changes. Depending on the case, this could mean control of funding for community projects, deciding what infrastructural endeavors the government should undertake, or gaining consensus on how the community can deter crime, collect trash, distribute water, etc. In their efforts, base communities are a positive step toward participatory democracy, but real decision-making power could fully distinguish them as a defender of communal rights. It is important to see how community organizing has the potential to form a power structure that stands as an alternative to both the church and the government. - Editor

For more information on base communities and liberation theology, see: Liberation Theology: Essential Facts About the Revolutionary Movement in Latin America and Beyond by Phillip Berryman.

Friday, January 18, 2008


What happens when we no longer have the power to control what foods are available in our markets?... Or even to know what is contained in the foods we eat?

Food democracy requires giving people the power to choose what they will consume. Genetically modified food controlled by giant corporations and dumped on markets has created a food dictatorship. This dictatorship does not relinquish information regarding the genetic make-up of food products nor the severely decreased nutritional value in GM foods. More information and less corporate control would allow for food democracy. Please see the following article for a detailed argument. - Editor


Thursday, January 17, 2008


Intentional communities permit diverse living styles to flourish all over the US, and they offer an excellent environment for direct democracy. They allow people to choose values that will be shared amongst neighbors. Contemporary intentional communities have strayed from the hippy commune format of previous decades to make themselved desirable to a varying populace. They can be spiritual, multi-faith, or secular; have small or large populations; be income-sharing, partially income-sharing, or not at all; they can sustain themselves using various resources from within and beyond the community. Some choose to live in harmony with the environment as they reduce waste and produce food locally. The variety of ICs makes them interesting to any group of people with similar values.

Their importance lies in creating communities where people can choose how they wish to live. By connecting people with specific values (whatever they may be), ICs encourage people to invest time and effort into maintaining a common quality of life for all members. The process of deciding what values people want to live by, finding others with the same values, and investing in a community building endeavor is a perfect place to initiate participatory democracy on a local level. The potential ICs have for deliberative decision-making, communal budgeting, democratic educational systems, is immeasurable. While a community would be challenged to locate itself in isolation from existing state structures, it could still exercise participatory democratic power alongside established governments. The process, including obstacles and successes would be an invaluable model for participatory democracy on a greater scale.

For more about Intentional Communities, see: http://www.ic.org/

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Many people are not aware that there is a growing movement within the states to adopt a plan which would bring a more direct one person-one vote system of presidential elections into practice in the United States, eventually replacing the existing outdated and less democratic electoral college system. All but seven states have legislation in at different stages of development which would allow such a National Popular Vote system to come into being without the need for a constitutional amendment. Read the following article to learn more, and visit http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/ to track the movement's progress. - Editor

The Path to a National Popular Vote

By David Sirota, Creators SyndicatePosted on December 28, 2007, Printed on January 15, 2008http://www.alternet.org/story/71785/

Right now, many are frustrated about Iowa and New Hampshire voters having such oversized influence in America's presidential elections. In a few months, as the general election campaign unfolds, we will be similarly frustrated about Ohio and Florida. Who arbitrarily gave this handful of states the disproportionate power to determine our national political path?

When it comes to the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, the answer is the parties. They decide which states select nominees first. In the general election, the culprit is the Electoral College. Most states award their electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis. By no matter what margin presidential candidates win your state, they get all your state's electoral votes. That means if you don't live in a "battleground" like Florida or Ohio whose statewide vote is perpetually up for grabs, you are ignored.

The nominating system is easily modified. Parties can add early primary and caucus states if they choose. Changing the general election, on the other hand, looks much harder. The Electoral College and its negative consequences seem locked into the Constitution.
But the operative word is "seem."

The group National Popular Vote has developed an ingenious path around this constitutional obstruction: States can pass legislation mandating that all of their presidential electoral votes go to the winner of the national popular vote -- regardless of the election outcome in their own state.

Maryland Governor O'Malley Signs National Popular Vote law

If, say, Democrat-dominated Vermont signed on to the plan and a Republican won the national popular vote, Vermont would award its electoral votes to the Republican candidate, regardless of an overwhelming Democratic vote inside Vermont. If Republican-dominated Utah signed on to the plan and a Democrat won the popular vote, same thing -- Utah's electors would go to the Democrat.

The key element is the clause ensuring the plan does not take effect until states representing a majority of all electoral votes sign on. That way, the system only launches when it has enough electoral votes behind it to guarantee the winner of the national popular vote is the winner of the presidential election. No one state acts alone, and therefore neither political party gets an undue advantage.

This plan would immediately change presidential politics for the better.
As just one example, take the closely divided city of Indianapolis. It is currently ignored by presidential candidates because both parties know there is almost no chance Indiana will vote anything other than Republican in a presidential contest. Under the national popular vote plan, however, Indianapolis would suddenly be just as worthy of candidate attention as a similarly sized, closely divided city like Columbus, Ohio. That's because geography would cease to determine the importance of a vote. In the national popular vote system, a vote is a vote, regardless of where a candidate gets it.

The public is clamoring for this kind of fix. A 2007 Harvard University study found almost three-quarters of Americans favor a national popular vote over the current system. The problem is Republican operatives who are trying to steer this public opinion into support for a partisan scheme to rig elections for good. Under the banner of democracy and fairness, these apparatchiks began crafting plans to push a ballot initiative in California unilaterally awarding the state's electoral votes by congressional district, rather than by winner-take-all. In other words, California's 53 congressional districts would each be like a separate state with one electoral vote going to whichever candidate won the presidential contest in that district. Experts agree the result would likely be Republicans gaining 22 electoral votes without doing a thing.

Not surprisingly, these Republicans are not pushing the same plan for red states like Texas, North Carolina and Georgia, where Democrats could make similar gains on a district-by-district basis. But that hypocrisy is secondary, because to bill the scheme as a pro-democracy reform is to lie through one's teeth. Consider that if the 2000 election had been decided on a district-by-district basis, George W. Bush's margin of Electoral College victory would have actually grown, despite the fact that he lost the popular vote.

Thankfully, the California initiative was torpedoed by GOP infighting, but you can bet it will be back soon. That is, unless states step up now. By passing national popular vote bills in the upcoming 2008 legislative sessions, state lawmakers can bring America closer to getting the democracy our civics books pretend we already have.

David Sirota is a nationally syndicated weekly newspaper columnist for Creators Syndicate. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Hostile Takeover: How Big Money and Corruption Conquered Our Government and How We Take It Back (Crown 2006). He is also a senior fellow at the Campaign for America's Future and a board member of the Progressive States Network. His second book, The Uprising, is due in the Spring of 2008.

© 2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/71785/