The current level of dysfunction in Washington is nothing like we could have ever imagined when we began our journeys in public service. Yet we are convinced, based on our decades of experience encompassing the legislative and executive branches, that the status quo of today need not constitute the new normal of tomorrow.
As such, today, as part of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Political Reform, we are releasing more than 60 concrete and achievable recommendations that will improve the U.S. federal government’s ability to function regardless of the deep ideological divides that exist both among lawmakers and the American public, while addressing some of the root causes of the polarization.
What are some politically realistic reforms that could significantly improve the way we govern? Here are 10 key ideas to fix the electoral process, return Congress to legislating and enhance public service.
Increase voter participation in primaries. Only 20 percent of eligible voters vote in congressional primaries. The commission recommends that states and political parties aim for 30 percent by 2020 and 35 percent by 2026. Rather than a year-long process that confuses voters, we recommend a single June congressional primary date, more open primaries and eliminating congressional caucuses and conventions.