We derive a set of three core policy principles from our governing philosophy.
First, we believe that unity is best achieved through bounded flexibility. We are a great and diverse nation. We must hold some principles in common, but we are ill-advised to adopt one-size-fits-all policies to all facets of the nation’s governance. That impulse in recent times has caused us no end of unnecessary trouble, not least the importation of insoluble culture war issues into national politics.
Beyond a limited number of guiding principles, commonly held behavioral standards and bold policy initiatives, Alliance candidates will not be straightjacketed from party headquarters in Washington. There will be no Party Whip. Our candidates will actually listen to their constituents for a change. Our candidates can once again represent their constituents instead of manipulating, ignoring, and muting their voices with mind-numbing rhetoric.
We are leading the return to America’s foundation: Government of the people, by the people, and for the people, as Abraham Lincoln said.
Diversity is not the opposite of unity; it is an integral facet of unity. Unity is not about conformity; it is about complementarity.
Enough of brittle, dogmatic ideological thinking that tears us apart; let pragmatism again become the watchword of American democracy. Instead of being the increasingly divided team our enemies relish, let us unite.
Second, the Alliance is part social movement. We fully expect that local Alliance chapters will become an integral part of their communities, partnering with other groups to build social capital and deal with local needs.
Social connection is critically important, because it is much harder to look another person straight in the eye and despise him or her than it is to do so virtually on the internet, where anonymity is a normal if unnatural state of affairs. We believe that toleration is bound to increase and political polarization to decrease only when Americans, irrespective of their specific political views, come again to depend on one another as neighbors.
Third, genuine democratic politics obliges us to affirm the principle of equality under the law, and to respect the sanctity of one-person one-vote. Equality under the law is critical not because all people are created equal with regard to talent and virtue, for they are not. It is critical precisely because they are not: Law balances nature to assure the basic dignity of all people. And while social status and money will always advantage some over others in the politics of an open society, it is nevertheless incumbent upon a democratic government to limit those advantages.
America’s Founders guarded against the tyranny of the majority, insuring legal protection for dissent and minority rights. They also endeavored to limit the power of what James Madison called factions, what we today call special interests.
The current two-party monopoly has made a shamble of such protections. It has gerrymandered congressional districts to make most elections non-competitive. It has exalted the power of money to sway the electorate, even prompting the Supreme Court to (mis)rule that corporations are owed the right to free speech defined as using money to finance political campaigns—this when everyone knows that corporations are not individuals but partnerships.
The result is that we are divided into three political “estates”: the over-enfranchised super-wealthy; the effectively dis-enfranchised poor and marginal; and the under-enfranchised great middle of our nation. In short, American democracy has been plundered by the incumbent political order, which increasingly stands for nothing except its own re-election.
A judicious application of term limits will remedy part of the problem, as will the addition of rank-choice voting and other election reforms. Ending this corruption of the democratic process must be a part of our Alliance agenda. The Alliance has no choice but to contest the “how” of American politics even as it contests the “what” of American politics—the “way” the political process functions as well as its outcomes. And the reason is because the rigging of our democratic system prefigures many of those outcomes, and neither the process nor the outcomes are fair or beneficial to Americans.