H.L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan, when they took over the early 20th century journal Smart Set, served it up with a great motto: “One Civilized Reader Is Worth a Thousand Boneheads.” That’s how I feel about my readers. I almost always enjoy the comments section of ThisIsCommonSense.com, and sometimes learn something important.
I especially enjoy it when my readers show they are on the right track, thinking of reforms that exhibit a sense of both justice and savvy use of incentives and disincentives to restrain the political class. Jennifer Gratz suggests “making the hurdle higher for politicians to get on the ballot”:
Tie ballot access for state-wide candidates to the same burden as initiatives. Names only appear on the ballot if they meet the same signature gathering threshold as a state-wide initiative: same requirements, same laws, same restrictions, same burdens. Win in one state and politicians may stop messing with the I&R process. . . .
As I reported this weekend on Townhall.com, Michigan legislators are in “voter suppression” mode again. It’s no surprise, since politicians tend to “have their own, almost personal, reasons to disdain direct democracy. They see citizen action as direct competition. And so their ‘reform’ ideas so far put forth run the usual gamut of insiders’ vexation with ‘outsiders.’” Perhaps the only permanent solution to constraining their lust to restrict citizen input is to constitutionally put them on the same footing as citizens.
What better place than ballot access for statewide offices?
Were party-supported candidates and incumbents all required to get the same number of signatures onto the ballot as initiative measures, the insiders would just have to lower the required number of signatures.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.