Election System Advancements

Table of Contents

Summary of election system advancements detailed on pages 251-299 of The New Enlightenment 

Our Dysfunctional Political System

Our dysfunctional political system places nearly insurmountable barriers between where we are and a just and genuinely democratic society. If most people see a public policy as beneficial, they also could reasonably judge it as impossible to implement. Fundamental election system advancements are essential to creating a genuine democracy and ending dominance by a self-serving elite.

The Inadequacy Of Policymakers Prior Election System Reform Proposals

Some policymakers have proposed election system improvements that increase the influence of small donors. For example, the “Government of the People Act” (GPA) proposed public subsidies for candidates six times the total of all donations they receive under $150, increasing small donors’ influence. Despite its benefits, Republican Party leaders blocked its passage. However, the Act did not adequately address the fundamental character of the problem. It had the following flaws:

  • Small donors commonly choose their candidates based on mass media coverage decisions. Experience shows that such decisions are biased in favor of major party candidates who do not propose significant changes in the status quo or otherwise serve the interests of elites, typically at the expense of the majority.

This defect would have been prominently demonstrated in the 2016 and 2020 presidential election campaigns. Trump would have used some of the extraordinary amounts of free airtime the mass media gave him to appeal for small donations. As a result, he would have raised many tens of millions of small donation dollars. The government would then have given him hundreds of millions of dollars to buy more airtime. As president, Trump mainly served elites at the expense of the majority.

  • Public funds will inevitably be used to buy 30-second broadcast media ads because of the high cost of airtime. Substantive candidate policy proposals cannot be expressed in 30 seconds, so shallow, misleading, and often negative content on other candidates is commonly used for this time. The more that ads of this type fill the airwaves, the fewer people respect or like its contestants, and even the contest itself.
  • Most proposals, including the GPA, have ignored the anti-democratic ballot access laws that unfairly limit third-party and independent candidates’ access.


Crowdsourcing Campaign Funds Will Not End Elite Dominance

Some believe the Internet facilitates crowdsourcing campaign funds to a degree where candidates will no longer have to rely on funds from the wealthy and corporations to win office. Small contributions from most people can support candidates with platforms that well serve majority interests. Bernie Sanders and some other officeholders have succeeded or raised enough money to succeed using this method. But they are rare exceptions. Extreme economic inequality means crowdsourcing campaign funds cannot be a solution to our problem of elites dominating our political system.

Inequality in the United States is characterized by tens of millions of Americans with insufficient or barely sufficient money to meet their basic needs. Many of them made extraordinary sacrifices to support, for example, Sanders’s presidential run. For the first time in their lives it was clear that a presidential candidate was dedicated to serving their interests instead of those of a wealthy donor class, so they pushed their limits to help him succeed.

Some of the 78% of Americans that live paycheck to paycheck will pay the expense to help support some candidates’ campaigns, but the support cannot be sufficient for an entire political class. Any election system dependent on money will advantage people with the most money. Since money is extremely unequally distributed, so will be political power. The GPA and similar policies will leave the bottom quintile, who sometimes don’t have enough money for food, particularly poorly represented.  They cannot be a significant source of campaign money even if we multiply their relatively small and uncommon contributions with public dollars.

Election system reforms must eliminate the need for campaign money from candidates and their allies, reduce the power of the mass media to bias election outcomes to serve elites’ interests at everyone else’s expense, and create a far better-informed electorate. My election system advancement proposals would accomplish these goals. The following is a summary; I detail them in my book The New Enlightenment on pages 262-295:

Optimizing the Use of Our Airwaves during Election Season

The publicly-owned broadcast spectrum is a limited resource, so we require by law (Communications Act of 1934) that broadcast licensees operate in the “public interest.” However, the “public interest” requirement has been poorly defined. As a result, broadcast companies have been mostly free to serve their interests in maximizing profits and maintaining economic and political systems generating increasingly extreme inequalities by restricting the public policy debate within a narrow range.

Far more campaign dollars are spent on broadcast media than other media because it remains the most effective way to influence the majority of the population. The massive amounts of money needed for broadcast political ads enrich broadcast corporations and enable other corporations and wealthy individuals, to corrupt our elections. Candidates must serve the interests of their major donors above everyone else or not have sufficient ad money to compete. So, new laws must require air media companies to meet their “public interest” standard during campaign season by offering, free of charge, many hours of airtime to each qualified candidate for debates, question-and-answer public forums, and policy speeches. The candidates’ TV and radio content will also be available on the commercial streaming video and podcasting services and the Federal Elections Commission website.

The New Enlightenment’s system limits the provision of most of the free airtime to four candidates per national office contest because this maximizes the number of candidates for the desirable amount of airtime that can be practically offered per candidate. A qualification process will determine who receives most of the free airtime.

A Superior Ballot Access System

I propose a 2-stage petition signing process for ballot access. Candidates will provide documents to initial petition signers supporting their candidacies that include references to other information on the policies the candidate has developed or would otherwise support and promote. Depending on the office contested,  they will be ballot qualified if sufficient numbers are motivated by this information to appear at the local election office to sign an oath of support. They will state that based on their evaluation of the information they have received, they believe it would be in the best interest of their district or state, and the United States if the candidate was on the ballot. We will adjust the number of petitions signings required for ballot access so that in most races, the number of candidates on the ballot will be limited to ten. Payments of any kind for petition signatures will be federal felonies.

For congressional elections, only the candidate can canvass for the petition signatures. Candidates for the Senate and presidency can also have their representatives canvass for the signatures. Ideally, candidates seeking higher office will have previously succeeded in winning a congressional seat.

Summary of a New “Primary” System

Ballot-qualified candidates can choose not to participate in the following process for the robust public and air media support of their campaign. But besides the support, they would sacrifice the preference of many voters for candidates who participate since it requires they do not use money sourced from corporations or individuals to promote their candidacies. 

The system will reduce to insignificant or nearly so the influence of ads by outside groups, as will a new “Fairness Doctrine.” Each ballot-qualified candidate would be offered the following within a kind of primary election system to qualify for the main free airtime system for the general election:

  • The opportunity to provide a 12,000-word summary of their platform with explanatory content on a portion of the Federal Election Commission website, which will allow links to the candidate’s website. Each candidate will also include up to ten questions that they believe would be most important for the public to have all the candidates answer. The “primary” system allows voters to select the top ten questions from among all the candidate’s questions. Candidates in the general election will address these questions in part of the main free airtime system. We will require broadcast stations to air frequent public service announcements on this candidate-supplied information and the civic responsibility to read it. The announcements and the resulting attention to the information would motivate most broadcast stations to devote programming to it. Public broadcasting stations would be required to do so.
  • The opportunity to provide in local daily newspapers in the nation, state or congressional district, as appropriate depending on the office contested, a fully subsidized 4,500-word description of portions of the candidate’s platform with any explanatory content the candidate chooses. This content will also be included in the papers’ online edition. New candidate-supplied content will be offered in each of five weeks. Broadcast stations will be required to air frequent public service announcements on the days this candidate supplied information will be available, which newspapers are offering it, and the civic responsibility to read it. Newspapers with this content would be free to consumers based on public subsidies.
  • The opportunity to participate in a broadcast series of eight and seven debates, respectively, for the candidates for president and the Senate. For the House, we will use six debates: three broadcast and three on DVDs whose mailing and duplication costs will be subsidized. Also, internet media streaming services will live stream the debates. These services are an inadequate substitute for the House candidate debate DVDs because of limited internet access. DVD recordings are substituted for some House race airtime because air media broadcast areas often overlap more than one congressional district, so candidates’ information would be broadcast to many voters uselessly. Some House race airtime is justifiable, but the DVDs will minimize the inefficient use of valuable and limited airtime. (Also, receiving election-related content in the mail will remind many voters to devote time to it.) If a race has over ten ballot-qualified candidates, we will divide the candidates into two groups for two broadcast series of debates.
  • The opportunity to broadcast two 14-minute speeches in prime time.

Voters will vote for their top four candidates in order of preference for each national office contested. Instant runoff voting processes (which I describe in the following main section) will determine the four most preferred candidates.  Instant runoff voting also will select the ten questions most important to the public for the candidates to answer during a portion of their free airtime.

A New Fairness Doctrine's Role

A new Fairness Doctrine will require air media to provide equal time to purchased ads that advocate for the election of a candidate to all other ballot-qualified candidates free of charge. Wealthy funders wanting to support a candidacy will know that the funds they supply to do so will assist their preferred candidates’ opponents to the same degree as their preferred candidate, so few ads will be funded. Also, air media will provide free, equal time to purchased public policy-related ads for an opposing view. 

The General Election

The “primary” winner’s  campaigns are supported in these ways:

  • The reason 30-second ads are effective is their political message is delivered “where people are.” Substantial numbers of people either cannot devote the time to, or do not have the interest to hear, extended political speeches or debates. We need to reach these people “where they are” with more substantive messages than occur in 30 seconds. Three minutes is a practical amount of time within normal commercial time of programming that people choose to watch for delivering reasonably substantive political messages. We will require air media companies to give, on average, 7.5 hours of airtime per candidate in three-minute blocks. (The total time per candidate will vary based on the average voting age audience size of the programs within which their ads appear.) Viewing many of the 3-minute messages can result in a lot of important information communicated even to those who hear the extended political speeches or debates. Only the candidate could appear in the 3-minute segments, with instructional charts, graphs or pictures if needed. Overall, at least one-half of the 3-minute segments will be devoted to answering questions from the voters that were determined to be the ten most important in the system that was part of qualifying the candidates for the free airtime. The answers would likely be part of running debates between the candidates that the 3-minute segments will constitute.
  • Four half-hour blocks of air time per candidate for Senate for speeches. The speeches and debates of the candidates for senator and president will be broadcast simultaneously on all radio and television stations, statewide or nationally, respectively, creating an air media programming “roadblock” that air media viewers and listeners could not avoid.
  • Four 1½ hour on-air (and internet) debates by the candidates for Senate.
  • Five half-hour on-air (and internet) blocks per candidate for president for speeches.
  • Seven 1½ hour on-air (and internet) debates by presidential candidates.
  • A postal subsidy for nine free mailings per candidate.

The debates are structured in three ways using: an improved single moderator, town hall, and expert panel questioning format. Each of these ways I detail in The New Enlightenment. They are designed to result in more informative broadcast debates than we have had.

Also, public media will provide some airtime for the ballot-qualified candidates who do not qualify for the main free airtime system.

The debate and three-minute and half-hour speech videos will be available for viewing throughout the campaign on websites.

Instant Runoff Voting: A Superior Way to Cast and Count Votes

We elect government officials using “plurality voting,” whereby the candidate with the greatest number of votes wins. In races with only two candidates, the winner will receive the majority of all votes cast. However, with three or more candidates the winner can be elected with far less than the majority, and may be strongly disliked by the majority of the population. When there are three candidates two may have much more similar positions on all important issues than the third, thereby splitting the vote and giving the election to the least preferred candidate.  A candidate with just 34% of the vote can win, despite being strongly disliked by 66% of the voters. With four or more candidates, the result can be even more anti-democratic.

Why We Must Institute Instant Runoff Voting

“Instant runoff voting” (IRV) ensures that the winner is the most preferred by the majority of voters. IRV allows voters to rank as many or as few candidates as they wish in order of preference without fear that their most preferred choice will help a candidate they least prefer win the election.

After a vote is taken, first choices are tabulated. If over two candidates receive votes, the candidate who receives the fewest first choice rankings is eliminated. All ballots are then recounted, with each ballot counting as one vote for each voter’s highest ranked candidate not eliminated. Specifically, voters who chose the now eliminated candidate will have their ballots added to the totals of their second ranked candidate. The weakest candidates are successively eliminated, and their voters’ ballots are added to the totals of their next choices until two candidates remain. At this point, the candidate with a majority of votes is declared the winner.

Instant runoff voting (IRV) has the winning candidate be the one most preferred by voters. IRV empowers non-major party candidates because votes can be cast for them without fear it will give the election to their least preferred major party candidate. If their preferred non-major party candidates lose, their top choice major party vote will count toward their election.

Compared to traditional runoff elections, instant runoff voting saves tax dollars, reduces money and other resources needed for elections, and elects winners when turnout is highest. 

A manuscript excerpt from the book to be released 2025 entitled, Peaceful Revolution or the End of Us on our unreliable vote count problem and its solution 

Election Security

Computer scientists who have inspected voting machines, the central computers that record and total the votes from each precinct, and communication systems between them have found them rife with security flaws. Every make and model of electronic voting machine and district computer is vulnerable to hacking.[1]

Attendees at 2019’s DefCon conference, the world’s largest gathering of computer hackers, hacked all of the over 100 voting machines at the conference. They accomplished this despite having, as their report states, “no prior knowledge of or experience” with them in less time and with fewer resources than attackers would have.[2]

Also, hacked district election-management systems used before each election to program voting machines can introduce malicious code into all of them. The code could activate only under specific conditions, such as when a chosen candidate appears to be losing, and then erase itself afterward to avoid detection.[3] Hackers can also access voting machines and district computers through Internet-connected printers.[4]

Election officials and voting machine manufacturers claim that modem transmissions from polling stations to county offices are safe because the connections go over phone lines, not the Internet. But almost all phone calls, whether on a cellular network or a landline, go through a part of the Internet. Since no phone provider’s firewall is perfect,  vote data transmission can be interfered with like any other transmission on the Internet.[5]

To improve transmission security of election results, the machines of the largest voting machine company, Election Systems & Software, digitally sign the results before transmitting them via modem and encrypt them in transit using “secure file transfer protocol” (SFTP). The election-management systems that receive results then check the signature to authenticate the data transmission. SFTP is designed to ensure that results can’t be swapped out and replaced. However, an attacker can obtain the signing key, which must be stored in the machine, so is accessible by its software. A hacker who can access the software could extract the key to access and alter the data.[6]

Voting machine software and data alterations can also occur through exposed external interfaces accessible to voters, poll workers, and anyone with just brief physical access to the machines. Malicious actors can inject code that could compromise an entire jurisdiction in multiple places during the equipment’s lifetime.

Also of concern is the supply chain. Some machines include hardware components of foreign origin, and some election administrators deploy foreign-based software and remote services.[7] In one machine, researchers found a hard-wired IP address pointing to overseas IP addresses.[8] Of course, the risk also exists that domestic-based malicious actors can have manufacturers hard-wire what they need to alter election outcomes.

As I described in Part 1, manufacturers can embed minuscule, difficult-to-detect chips in hardware to be Internet-connected, whose purpose is to tell the device to communicate with computers elsewhere on the Internet and prepare their operating system to accept new code. This system could let undetected attackers alter how devices function, including central tallying computers and voting machines.

As the DefCon researcher’s report states, “It is beyond the current and foreseeable state of the art to construct computerized (software and hardware-based) voting devices that effectively resist known, practical forms of malicious tampering.”[9]

The influence of politically well-connected, primarily to the Republican Party, private voting machine companies has created our vulnerable voting system.[10]  The connection involves a revolving door between vendors in the $300-million-a-year voting machine industry and election offices.

The industry controls and keeps secret its proprietary software. We don’t have the right to know the algorithms that count our votes. So besides hackers rigging elections, voting machine companies and their allies can rig them.

People are rightfully concerned that foreign actors can hack election results to create favored outcomes. The Russians are often mentioned in this regard. But just like in our media landscape, where domestic elites exert more power than foreigners to “manufacture” election outcomes against the interests of the majority, they are most likely mainly responsible for any “manufacturing” involving hacking. Elites block progressive agendas that would reduce their wealth and power any way they can.

Anyone who has read this far knows that super-wealthy individuals are willing and able to go to extremes to profit maximize, with destructive social consequences being irrelevant. Their most profitable investments are in the elections of policymakers who institute or acquiesce to an agenda that maintains and grows their wealth and power. Election hacking is likely on one end of the covert-overt spectrum of operations in a class war with many fronts.


[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/21/magazine/the-myth-of-the-hacker-proof-voting-machine.html also see https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/18/american-elections-hack-bruce-scheier

[2] https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/09/defcon-2019-hacking-village/

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/26/magazine/election-security-crisis-midterms.html

[4] https://www.npr.org/2018/05/08/599452050/the-u-s-voting-system-remains-vulnerable-6-months-before-election-day-what-now

[5] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/21/magazine/the-myth-of-the-hacker-proof-voting-machine.html

[6] Ibid.

[7] https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/09/defcon-2019-hacking-village/

[8] DEF CON 27 Voting Machine Hacking Village Report, August 2019, Matt Blaze, Georgetown University, etal.

[9] https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/09/defcon-2019-hacking-village/

[10] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/26/magazine/election-security-crisis-midterms.html

Dysfunctional Election Examples

In 2000, computer hacking was likely involved in Florida’s infamously dysfunctional Gore-Bush presidential election. Among the strange and suspicious election events was one in Volusia County, where Gore was winning by 21,000 votes. A short time later, the Democratic Party field director in Florida looked at the county’s website and found Gore’s total had dropped 16,000 votes. Officials blamed the drop on a faulty memory card, which is incorrect since no other candidates’ votes were affected.[1]

Even more appalling elections occurred in 2016 and 2018 when Tim Canova, a Nova Southeastern University law professor, challenged the Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, for her seat in congress. Tampering with digital voting records likely played a role in what these elections revealed to be several seriously defective systems, not just election system, in and beyond the congressional district.

In 2016, Canova’s internal polling showed him with a substantial lead. He raised almost $4 million with an average donation of $17 from over 209,000 individual contributions. At the time, it was the highest percentage of small donations for a federal campaign.[2] So when the final results showed him at 43.52% of the vote and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz at 56.48%, he was shocked. But what was a kind of “shock and awe” campaign against Canova began before election day and continued well after it.

In the campaign’s final days, Canova’s campaign website came under sustained denial of service attacks, including his funding platform. Then, bizarrely, the local NBC television station reported on their website the day before the election that 69% of the precincts in his district had reported, and Wasserman-Schultz was ahead 58/42. They have never explained the reporting of results before the election very close to the election’s computerized vote counts.[3]

After the election, Canova made three public records requests to see the ballots and received months of obstruction instead. So in June 2017, he filed suit in Florida’s 17th Circuit Judicial Court to see them. Three days after receiving the lawsuit’s discovery request for the ballots, the supervisor of elections, Brenda Snipes, signed an order to destroy all of them, which required that she falsely certify the ballots were not the subject of pending litigation.

In May 2018, the court ruled Snipes’ ballot destruction violated State and  Federal criminal laws. Besides the false certification, she violated the law that requires retaining ballots for 22 months.[4] Naturally, Canova thought the ruling would initiate a law enforcement investigation, including into whether the destruction of the ballots was part of a cover-up of the rigging of the voting machine software to create a Wasserman-Schultz win.[5] Instead, the shocking sequence of events that started before election day continued, providing more evidence elites are descending us into a wealthy version of a banana republic.

After the court’s ruling, Canova and his lawyer gave then-Acting U.S. Attorney for South Florida, Benjamin Greenberg, the evidence of the criminal violations. After lengthy discussions, Greenberg seemed very interested and even excited about investigating potential election rigging and prosecuting the destruction of ballots. But he then went to Washington, DC to discuss the case with other Department of Justice officials. When he returned to South Florida, he gave Canova the absurd excuse of not having the expertise to prosecute an election case and did nothing.[6]

A top Florida election official told Canova that Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General at the time, stopped all work on his case.[7] Trump appointed Rosenstein, and at the time of his confirmation as Deputy Attorney General in April 2017, he was the nation’s longest-serving U.S. Attorney. However, his involvement in several scandals—none that included the Canova case—caused him to resign in April 2019.[8] 

Not just the U.S. Justice Department, but also the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the State Attorney for Broward County did nothing regarding Canova’s case of election rigging and ballot destruction. In his testimony to The Florida Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights, July 23, 2019, Canova provides his explanation:

A trusted, well-respected Republican lawyer reported back to me that I should not expect any help from any of these Republican law enforcement agencies because the Republicans had the same friends as Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the same corporate financing, the same corporate lobbyists, the same political consultants…It’s not a pretty picture which we see here. Instead of the rule of law and equal justice under the law, we seem to have two systems of justice. Election rigging with impunity. The politicalization of law enforcement agencies at every level.

 Despite knowing what he did, Canova ran again in 2018, which required extraordinary determination. This time he ran as an independent. His internal poll showed him in second place and Debbie Wasserman Schultz with a substantial lead.[9] However, an internal Republican poll reported in the Floridian Press, showed Wasserman Schultz and Canova tied with 34% each, the Republican candidate at 13%, and 19% undecided.[10]

The official election computer count had Canova at close to 5% of the vote, and it was near 5% in every demographic group and precinct—a distribution next to a statistical impossibility. Pushing it even closer to the impossible is about 29% of the district’s registered voters were not affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican Party.[11] Was the 5% designed not just to defeat Canova but to destroy any possibility he would be motivated in the future to run again?

In 2018, Snipes did not destroy the paper ballots, but they were unreliable because many were left unattended in a truck, and others were transported with only one person in the car, violating the required chain of custody rules for ballots.[12] To eliminate the possibility of using the scanned images of the ballots as a check on the official count or ballot recount, Snipes ordered the destruction of all of them just ten days after election day.[13] But Canova could not ask for a recount anyway because the official count had a margin of win far beyond the 0.5% that Florida law requires for one.[14]

The United States is descending to the status of a “banana republic” or “third world” country, where elections are rigged with impunity, and grotesque inequalities exist.

Wasserman Schultz resigned her position as head of the DNC during the 2016 campaign as party activists booed her off the stage of the Democratic Convention. She rigged the 2016 presidential primary by allowing Clinton’s campaign to control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money it raised.[15]


[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/26/magazine/election-security-crisis-midterms.html

[2] Canova’s testimony, The Florida Advisory Committee To The U.S. Commission Of Civil Rights, 7/23/19

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Canova email to author.

[8] https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/04/30/rod-rosenstein-leaves-diminished-man-shamed-laywer/

[9] Based on my communication with Canova

[10] https://floridianpress.com/2018/10/gop-poll-may-have-wasserman-schultz-and-canova-tied/

[11] https://truthout.org/articles/11000-votes-may-be-missing-in-florida-congressional-race/ and Canova’s testimony, The Florida Advisory Committee To The U.S. Commission Of Civil Rights, 7/23/19

[12] https://truthout.org/articles/11000-votes-may-be-missing-in-florida-congressional-race/

[13] http://www.trbas.com/media/media/acrobat/2018-12/69848543917900-05144454.pdf

[14] https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/automatic-recount-thresholds.aspx

[15] https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/358569-former-dnc-vice-chair-democratic-primary-was-rigged-for-clinton, https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/11/02/clinton-brazile-hacks-2016-215774

Recount Audits and Exit Polls

The conventional wisdom is that recount audits can reliably verify election results. However, many states perform them by running the ballots through the voting machine’s scanner a second time, allowing hacked software to re-express itself. Fewer than half the states do manual audits,[1] and thirteen states use electronic machines that leave no paper record.[2]

A type of ballot recount, “risk-limiting” audit, varies the ballot sample hand-counted based on how close the election is. The number counted is selected to most cost-efficiently achieve the desired confidence level on a chosen margin of error that the election outcome is valid. But the closeness of an election is uncertain because the computer-counted election results are uncertain, so the audits are based on an unreliable foundation. However designed, the vote count accuracy determined by auditing a sample cannot be as high as that resulting from hand-counting the entire set of votes on election day.

Besides sample size, an audit’s usefulness depends on the paper ballots being reliably secured during transport, handling, and storage from election day until the audit, in a manner such that even insiders cannot alter or replace ballots. But as we have seen, ballot security can be violated.

Exit polls have also detected fraud in many elections internationally, and they are far more common than partial and total hand recounts.[3] Exit polls played a key role in exposing fraud in Serbia and Mexico in 2000, Georgia in 2003, and the Dominican Republic and Ukraine in 2004. U.S.-funded organizations have sponsored exit polls as part of democracy assistance programs in Macedonia (2002), Afghanistan (2004), Ukraine (2004), Azerbaijan (2005), the West Bank and Gaza Strip (2005), Lebanon (2005), Kazakhstan (2005), Kenya (2005, 2007), and Bangladesh (2009), among other places.[4] The Bush administration paid for exit polls during elections in the former Soviet republics of Belarus, Georgia, and Ukraine as one of the “ways that would help to expose large-scale fraud.” The administration claimed that the discrepancy between exit polls and the official vote count showed that a Ukraine election was stolen.[5]

Edison Research conducts exit polls of U.S. elections for the National Election Pool (a consortium of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, and The Associated Press).[6] Although Edison’s polls are designed for purposes other than as a check on the official, computerized vote counts, some of their results are useful for this purpose. Edison’s polls suggest that the integrity of the vote count was compromised in the 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primaries.[7] 

Edison is contracted to use its exit polls to make projections as close as possible to the final official counts and provide information on the differences in vote patterns by gender, age, region, and other demographic and geographic groups. Their poll design minimizes biases, except for the bias they intentionally introduce after voting ends.[8] Edison adjusts their poll results to the official, computerized counts as they become available to improve their projections. But they also provide their results before this bias is introduced, several minutes before poll closings. As of the time of writing, these results are available for the 2020 primaries in eight states where Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden were contestants.[9] In all eight, there was a large, statistically significant combined discrepancy between Sanders and Biden’s exit poll vote count and the official, computerized vote count in Biden’s favor.

Elites detested Sanders and his agenda for higher taxes on them and a more egalitarian society. Did their operatives hack what might have been the most important election in history to serve what they see with narrow vision as their interests? If they did, only the elites and their operatives are likely to ever know.

We are at major crossroads where wrong choices by the elected leader of the most powerful nation in history can send us all into hell. But, at least in close elections, our democratically determined choice on who this leader will be may be irrelevant to the outcomes, which are determined by election riggers.


[1] Ibid.

[2] https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/smart-and-effective-way-safeguard-elections

[3] https://scholarship.law.stjohns.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1247&context=lawreview

[4] http://democracyinternational.com/media/DI%20VCV%20Study%20(2011).pdf

[5] Ibid.

[6] https://www.edisonresearch.com/edison-research-provides-national-exit-poll-data-and-vote-count/

[7] https://www.change.org/p/u-s-citizens-officially-request-emergency-electoral-assistance-from-the-united-nations, https://www.edisonresearch.com/edison-research-provides-national-exit-poll-data-and-vote-count/

[8] https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/02/just-how-does-the-general-election-exit-poll-work-anyway/

[9] https://tdmsresearch.com/

State-Of-The-Art Voting Technology:
Pens and Paper Ballots, Hand Counted

According to a Pew Research Center poll, 55% of Americans are “not too” or “not at all” confident that election systems are secure from hacking and other technological threats. An additional 37% are only “somewhat” confident in election security. Only 8% of Americans are “very” confident votes will be counted accurately.[1] Lack of confidence in vote count accuracy is another cause of our low voter turnout.[2]

Computers should not count the votes that determine who makes and enforces our laws, establishes foreign policy, involves us in wars, determines our taxes, and decides how to spend those taxes. As most Americans know, computers are “black boxes” where votes cannot be reliably viewed and can be changed outside of view. So I propose a simple solution that will remove all doubt about the validity of elections: Ballots will remain in public view from the time they are cast through the time they are hand-counted. Election outcomes will be determined on election day, which will be a national holiday.

Vote counters other than the poll workers will count votes and arrive to prepare for the count shortly before polls close. Those doing the work of discovering the will of the people after polls close should be specifically trained for the purpose and not be workers exhausted by a day of work monitoring the voting process.

Vote counters will work in three-person groups, each composed of randomly selected volunteers, one from each major political party and another from outside these two parties. Offering $20 per hour to new vote counters and $30 per hour for counters with experience in at least one prior election would help ensure sufficient numbers of counters would be available for every election. The significant social contribution of the vote counter role will also motivate many to participate.

Counters will be trained by viewing a half-hour instructional video and have about an hour of paid or volunteered in-person training/practice time.[3] No training/practice time would be needed for returning counters. The $10 per hour higher pay will help motivate counters to return for subsequent elections.

I propose we encourage college students to be vote counters with campus promotional campaigns emphasizing the role’s important social value. These promotional campaigns have the additional advantage of motivating other kinds of civic engagement among young people. Now, too few young people are civically involved, and 56% of poll workers are over 61, only 10% are under 25, and 18% are under 40 years of age.[4] College professors in sociology, political science, or civic engagement classes may help motivate their students to serve as vote counters with some value toward their grade.

Mutual monitoring among the vote counters will ensure the accuracy of the vote count. Further ensuring it will be district election staff, anyone viewing streaming vote-count videos to the public from district cameras above the counting tables, and citizen witnesses in the polling place with preference to those who will also record and live video stream the count. The number of people witnessing the counting will make fraud and even unintentional counting errors impossible. And the resulting widely dispersed knowledge of the vote count at each polling station will allow many people to verify the district totals, so hacking the district computers to alter election results will not be effective. The same will be true for state and national computers that tally results from lower levels.

One estimate of the cost per election for my proposed system I based on the experience in a polling place in Maine that hand-counted votes. Six teams of two people each counted about 1000 ballots with seven races and two initiatives in two hours.[5] Assuming the same average ballot-counting pace existed nationwide and a voter participation rate 10% higher than in 2016, it would require $109 million to pay vote counters $30 per hour for their time counting. Three-person teams would require $164 million per election.[6]

The cost to hand count almost 3 million ballots in Nevada and Washington State for elections with 2 or 3 contests and no ballot initiatives was between $0.22 and $0.36 per ballot.[7] These costs included training time and other expenses and would result in elections costing between $33 million and $55 million if they existed nationwide.

One would expect much lower costs to accompany the sacrifice of transparency and reliability involved in using computerized voting machines; instead, they are far higher:

On March 23, 2018, Trump signed into law Help America Vote Act grants of $380 million for states to improve election security. States must provide at least 5% matching funds to receive the grants,.[8]  Little of this about $400 billion total would have been needed if we had instituted my proposal.

The Brennan Center for Justice estimates the total cost over the next five years to replace voting machines, state and local election cybersecurity assistance, and post-election audits of computer counts is $1.67 billion or an average of $333.4 million per year.[9] These estimates do not include voting machine maintenance and reprogramming, testing, secure storage costs, or breakdown costs. My proposed system would cost several hundreds of millions of dollars per year less than the current system, including the following wait time economic costs.          

An insufficient number of functioning machines has often resulted in long waits to vote, in some cases, several hours. In 2012, 500,000 eligible voters didn’t cast a ballot because of polling place problems such as long lines, which would not have existed if voters could mark a paper ballot with a pen and drop it in a box.[10]  Even when voters tolerate long waits, they are less likely to bother to go to the polls in the next election, which is a significant cause of our much low voter participation rate than most developed countries.[11]

In 2012 and 2016, the average wait time to vote was 12 minutes and 8 minutes, respectively. Let’s assume my proposal is in effect, and we eliminate an average of 8 minutes of wait time and an average hourly wage of $29 (it was $28.62 in March 2020) and the same number of voters as in 2016. Then we would save $534 million worth of time waiting to vote—hundreds of millions more than my proposal’s cost.[12]


[1] https://www.people-press.org/2018/10/29/election-security/

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/12/26/why-dont-more-americans-vote-maybe-because-they-dont-trust-u-s-elections/

[3] Based on my conversation with a Rockport, Massachusetts election official with long experience with hand counted ballot elections

[4] https://www.eac.gov/documents/2017/11/15/eavs-deep-dive-poll-workers-and-polling-places

[5] https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/letters/2016/08/08/clear-and-fair-process-for-hand-counting-ballots/eSUZBBkWa9G1aS14gffE4L/story.html

[6] Based on 138 million voters in 2016

[7] http://www.votersunite.org/info/CostEstimateforHandCounting.pdf

[8] https://www.eac.gov/payments-and-grants/hava-funds-state-chart-view

[9] https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/what-does-election-security-cost

[10] https://www.propublica.org/article/these-voters-had-to-wait-for-hours-it-felt-like-a-type-of-disenfranchisement

[11] https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/05/21/u-s-voter-turnout-trails-most-developed-countries/

[12] Wages: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t19.htm, average wait time: https://medium.com/mit-election-lab/insights-into-voting-wait-time-from-the-2016-elections-performance-index-6693576e9b99

The Convenience of Voting by Mail is Outweighed by its Risks

Voting by mail is growing in popularity, and five states now conduct all elections entirely or almost entirely by mail: Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and Utah. Voters sign an affidavit on the ballot envelope so election officials can compare the signature to other documents in their files to verify the ballot is from a registered voter. These verified ballot envelopes are stored until election day when they can be hand counted with the other ballots. However, even if they are hand-counted, mailed ballots offer opportunities for election fraud and manipulation.

The transport and storage security of mailed ballots cannot be certain. Even security camera recorders at storage locations are vulnerable to tampering.[1] If persons intending fraud could access mailed ballots, they could remove those from zip codes that tend to vote against their Party or candidate. Fraud is also enabled by methods to undetectably unseal envelopes to replace ballots. Dozens of criminal or civil fraud convictions involving mail-in or absentee ballots exist.[2] Likely, these cases represent a small fraction of the instances of fraud involving ballots not cast in a polling place. The Commission on Federal Election Reform, which former President Jimmy Carter co-chaired, determined that “absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.”[3]

Potential also exists for intimidation or financial incentives to influence who voters select on mailed-in ballots. For example, a head of household can intimidate others in the household to record a vote they would not have chosen if they voted anonymously in a polling place.

In close elections, mailed ballots have been rejected in numbers larger than the votes that decided the election. A ballot is rejected if it is not included in the proper envelope with a signature for election officials to verify the enclosed ballot is from a registered voter. But even when voters sign the envelope, it does not ensure their vote will be counted because officials often decide their signature doesn’t match the one on record. And many ballots are rejected because they arrive late. More than 550,000 mailed-in ballots were rejected in the 2020 presidential primaries.[4] Studies have shown that voters are much more likely to have their mailed-in ballots rejected in low-income or predominantly Black districts.[5]

Also, it is impossible to safeguard the privacy of vote choices after ballots are mailed.

Only by keeping secret ballots cast in polling places until they are counted there in public view can we ensure the validity of an election and the privacy of votes.

Many believed the Covid-19 pandemic required voting by mail in the 2020 election because vaccines were not yet available. Most choices bring some risks and some benefits, and the benefits of voting by mail during the pandemic may have outweighed its risks. But in-person voting could have been done safely. We could have had widely spaced ballot boxes and some or all of them outdoors.

In a historic insurrection on January 6, 2021, hundreds of Americans invaded the U.S. Capitol building motivated by the belief that the votes for president were not counted accurately and that Joe Biden’s election was not legitimate. A Quinnipiac poll found just 60% of American voters (only 23% of Republicans) believing Joe Biden’s victory was legitimate.[6] Many signs exist that we are approaching failed state status, but those resulting from a lack of confidence in election results would not if we institute my proposal.


[1] https://www.theverge.com/2013/1/28/3925338/security-camera-recorder-vulnerabilities-could-allow-tampering

[2] https://www.heritage.org/sites/default/files/voterfraud_download/VoterFraudCases_5.pdf

[3] https://www.newsweek.com/vote-mail-absentee-elections-covid-19-1495373

[4] https://www.businessinsider.com/over-550000-primary-absentee-ballots-were-rejected-for-2020-primaries-2020-8

[5] https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/investigations/2020/10/08/rejected-mail-ballots-projected-major-factor-2020-election/3576714001/

[6] https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/when-third-voters-say-biden-s-win-isn-t-legitimate-n1251089

Vote Counting in other Technologically Sophisticated Countries

Most developed, technologically sophisticated countries know enough about computers to conclude that they should not trust them to count votes, so they hand count paper ballots. Belgium, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Lithuania do not use electronic voting machines in national or local elections. Canada and Australia do not use them in national elections but use them in some local elections.[1]

The German Federal Constitutional Court ruled in 2009 that the use of computerized voting machines is unconstitutional because they do not allow citizens to examine whether vote count records are unadulterated.[2] As the fourth-largest economy in the world, Germany is prominent  on the world stage. Yet our mass media entirely ignored the fact that electronic voting machines have been outlawed there. Given the many problems we have had involving electronic voting machines, including questionable election results, Germany’s Federal Court ruling should have been a top mass media story, at least on the day of the decision. That our mass media did not even mention the ruling is more evidence that we need to reform mass media enterprises fundamentally.


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_voting_by_country https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/01/world/europe/netherlands-hacking-concerns-hand-count-ballots.html

[2] https://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/entscheidungen/cs20090303_2bvc000307.html



For my more direct democratic system for creating and instituting some public policies see the “Deliberative Democracy” page.

Robert Bivona

Since my early teens in the 1960s, I have been aware of the advantages of having wealth in gaining more and the wealthy’s disproportionate influence on our political system. Each decade since then, economic inequality and our political system’s corruption by wealthy individuals and corporations have grown more grotesque.

Also since my teens, it seemed to me that a society where maximizing business profits motivates economic activity would inevitably be dysfunctional. In pursuit of maximum profits, private actors will too often ignore resulting public harm. The environmental contamination in the 1950s and 1960s made this defect obvious. Extremely polluted air harmed the health of tens of millions of Americans, and some toxic rivers ignited into flames. The profit motive and a political system corrupted by corporations and wealthy individuals resulted in these conditions.

Among the other characteristics of modern-day capitalism I  never felt I could comfortably conform to is one where people earn a living by subordinating themselves to “bosses.” Also in my early teens, I was aware of neighbors whose social contributions far exceeded others with much higher incomes. Since then, the disconnect between social contribution and rewards has grown more obvious and extreme. Its incongruous character I describe in my books with many examples.

Despite my long-term interest in developing policy responses to systemic defects creating increasingly severe social problems, several decades passed before I detailed some because in my teens and twenties I pursued a more intense interest in science and mathematics. Although not directly related to my later focus on economics and politics, my formal educational and professional background developed the analytical skills I needed to write The New Enlightenment and Amazon as Metaphor.

I was excited to study physics at the college level after being introduced to the subject in high school. But as the process proceeded, I found it stifling. Professors would give equations such as the Schrödinger equation and show how physical systems will behave using it with too little emphasis on the creative process that resulted in the equation. I was interested in solving the problems professors assigned on determining physical system’s behavior, but I was more interested in the creative process that led to the problem-solving techniques.

I did not proceed with my education in physics immediately after receiving my Bachelors’s degree in 1975. Instead, I found employment as a “Lab Coordinator” in a physics teaching lab of a university. It involved setting up and maintaining lab equipment and assisting lab instructors. It was a 20 hour per week job, so I established a math and physics tutoring service to supplement my income. My clients were mainly high school students whose parents paid for the tutoring sessions. After about a year as lab coordinator, I began taking graduate courses in physics part-time, a free benefit of employment.

After witnessing the energy crisis of 1979 and early 1980s—the second major oil crisis within a decade—cause major social disruption from long gas lines (in some cases five miles long) and skyrocketing prices, my interest grew in a career change. It seemed to me I could make the best use of my technical skills by gaining expertise in designing and performance predicting alternative energy systems and energy conservation measures for buildings. Further motivating this desire were the incorrect predictions of “pundits” that the world would likely run out of sufficient qualities of oil to continue using it as an energy source within a few decades. I viewed active and passive solar systems, photovoltaics, and energy conservation as solutions to the reported oil supply crisis. Their environmental advantages added to their appeal. (However, at the time, I did not fully understand the significance of fossil fuels’ use in global warming.)

Some engineering firms offered design and economic analysis services for building energy conservation and alternative energy measures; after taking a few classes in the subjects at local universities, I succeeded in gaining employment at one. I was relegated to a cubicle like most of the other engineers and given projects to work on, mostly in isolation.

I didn’t particularly appreciate working at the engineering company, and it made me aware I had too large a deficiency of knowledge in the field. So, I sought the best educational program in designing and analyzing building energy conservation and alternative energy measures and decided it was a graduate program at Arizona State University. I applied, was accepted, and left my birthplace, the New York state region, for the first time for the very different environment of Arizona. While in the program, oil prices dropped 40% from their highs, the supply shortage seemed to be resolved, and within a couple of years, prices declined 80% from their highs. As a result, work in the solar and energy conservation field was scarce.

Since Arizona adjoined a state I had wanted to see for most of my life, California, I visited, and the beauty and climate (including cultural) of the northern California coast caused me to cancel my plans to return to New York and relocate to Marin County, CA, a suburb of San Fransisco. I established a tutoring service and soon also found work as a part-time consultant to a company that helped architects and contractors meet the California energy conservation code. The company paid me $20 per hour and charged clients $60 per hour for my work (this was the mid-1980s), so I started my own company providing the same services to architects and contractors directly. Also, I assisted a company in performing detailed comparative energy performance analyses of various energy conservation measures for large commercial buildings using a sophisticated computer program (DOE-2) that I learned how to use at ASU.

Eventually I longed for involvement with physics again in an academic setting and found employment as a lab manager at a major university. I supervised a staff of six part-time students in setting up equipment for the undergraduate physics teaching labs and lecture demonstrations, repaired or supervised the repair of the equipment, and assisted lab instructors. I wrote chapters of revised lab manuals, designed some equipment instructors used in the labs and lecture demonstrations, and managed a major expansion and move of the labs to a new building.

From 2010 through 2016, I devoted myself full-time to the research for and writing of 2017 released book, The New Enlightenment. I was highly motivated to write it. Our economic and political systems have been widening the chasm between our professed ideals of democracy, liberty, and justice for all and our reality for decades. Ignorance of significant facts, faulty ideas, and corruption among political and economics professionals contributed to the widening.  I viewed our social decline trends as inevitably leading to social disintegration without a social movement dedicated to creating a fundamentally more democratic, egalitarian, and just society based on some new, unconventional ideas.

In 2019, I began work on the research for and writing of my book, Amazon as Metaphor that I finished in 2023. My visions of the societal advancements we needed (and need) were clear, and I felt compelled to express them. My two books detail fundamental economic and political system reforms and why we need them. If instituted, they would create a far more just and better-functioning society.

                              Robert Bivona

Let’s “assemble with all the coolness of philosophers, and set [our Constitution] to rights.”

Our Constitution has been inadequate as a foundation of a well-functioning representative democracy. And Supreme Court decisions over the last few decades have turned its First Amendment into a kind of powerful weapon against the majority of Americans by equating money with speech and corporations with people. As a result, we have a government even more extremely serving a wealthy elite at the expense of the majority than it had in prior years.

The words “democracy” or “democratic” do not appear in the Constitution, and it tolerated slavery. Amendments since then have improved the Constitution but amending it is overly burdensome and much needs amending. When we amended it, we had a diverse media, which allowed and helped motivate the amendments. We now have a highly concentrated, elite-dominated mass media stifling public debate and widespread exposure to public policy reforms that would greatly benefit the majority. Mass media has been essential to enabling grotesque inequalities to grow. (The media system reforms I detail in The New Enlightenment, if instituted, would robustly solve this problem.)

A constitution should ensure political equality among all citizens, and it should foster consensus building and promote effective problem-solving. Instead, ours results in exactly what Madison warned against; it has “divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to cooperate for their common good.” It is past due for us to take an honest look at the deficiencies of our Constitution and create one that best serves our citizenry.

The fundamental political and economic system advancements I detail in The New Enlightenment and Amazon as Metaphor, if instituted, would significantly advance us toward a well-functioning democracy and just society.

Base on an analysis of about 2000 public policies instituted over three decades, Princeton University researchers found: “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact on public policy…Policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans.”

In 2018, HUD public housing operating expenses for 1.1 million units were $4.37 billion or $331 per month per unit, including repair, maintenance, and all other operating expenses. However, HUD’s massive repair cost backlog on public housing indicates insufficient budgeting for regular repairs and maintenance.

According to a National Apartment Association “Survey of Operating Income & Expenses in Rental Apartment(s),” private sector apartments spend on average $0.54 per sq. ft. per year for repairs and maintenance.  Since an itemized accounting of HUDs repair and maintenance expentiures was not available, I assume HUD spent half this amount and add half to estimate operating expenditures for well-maintained buildings. For the 850 sq. ft. average apartment, this adds $19.19 to HUDs $331 prior cost per month per unit, totaling $350.19.  

The average percent increase per year in the number of households over the last decade, now about 130 million, was roughly 1%. 1,040,000 is 80% of the 1,300,000 new households expected next year. 1,040,000 is a desirable number more than needed for new households in the bottom 20% wanting an apartment to gradually satisfy pre-existing bottom 20% demand. Eventually we will satisfy this demand enabling opening the program to the second from the bottom income quintile households.


The 350,000 units purchased are about 20% of the multifamily units sold per year. These buys will moderate multifamily units price declines due to the newly built low-priced apartments added to the market per year, which will lower private sector rents. (Multifamily unit sales are about $175 billion per year. Assuming a $100,000 per unit yields 1.75 million units total; 20% is 350,000.)

The Decline of Small Businesses

Over about two decades, the number of small businesses has fallen dramatically. For example: (source)

IndustryDecline in Number
Small construction firms15,000
Small manufacturers> 70,000
LocaL retailers108,000 (40% decline)
Community banks, credit unions13,000 (50% decline)

Between 1997 and 2012, the share of total business revenue going to firms with fewer than 100 employees fell by nearly one-fifth. One study found in over half of the 26 industries analyzed that two corporations now control over half the market. In many industries, the top two firms gained over 20% of their market from the early 2000s to 2018. Over the last two decades, over 75% of U.S. industries have experienced an increase in concentration, while United States public markets have lost almost 50% of their publicly traded firms. The Fortune 500 corporations captured 73% of our economy in 2013.

The Black-White Wealth Gap

In the first six decades of the 19th century, more than half of the nation’s exports consisted of raw cotton, almost all grown by slaves. Wealth created as a result passed on and appreciated over subsequent generations of White families instead of the Black families that generated it. Then when slaves were freed, the promise made to them of 40 acres in land grants went unmet—while many White Americans were typically provided 160-acre “hand outs”  of land in the west. This “free equity” translated into greater economic security and wealth accumulation over subsequent generations.  

In the 20th century, a major contributor to Black wealth denial was racist home ownership policies, which reduced rates of Black homeownership and associated wealth appreciation. In the late 1940s, the GI Bill’s home loans overwhelmingly benefited White veterans. By the time GI Bill ended in 1956, nearly 8 million World War II veterans had received 4.3 million home loans worth $33 billion. But relatively few loans went to Black veterans. For example, in Mississippi only two returning Black veterans received home buying benefits from the GI Bill. In the north, Blacks did not fare much better; in New York and northern New Jersey, fewer than 100 of the 67,000 mortgages backed by the GI Bill supported non-whites.

The GI Bill’s college education benefits also went overwhelmingly to White veterans. Twenty-eight percent of white veterans went to college on the G.I. Bill, while only 12 percent of black veterans did so. And the colleges Blacks were allowed to attend tended to be of lower quality.

Devastating Economic System Dysfunction

In 1968, the minimum wage was $11.60 per hour (in inflation-adjusted 2019 dollars), the highest in U.S. history. Productivity grew from 1968 through 2019 by a factor of 2.5.  If workers’ pay grew proportionately with the value they produced over this period, as it did over prior decades, the 1968 minimum wage could have been $29 in 2019; instead, it was and is $7.25 per hour. Also, the 1968 median annual household income of $55,738 in 2019 dollars would have been $139,345 in 2019; instead, it was $68,700

All Americans could be living prosperous and stable lives. Instead, our economic system’s dysfunction has 78% of Americans in a condition where they can’t pay all their bills if they miss one paycheck. 40% cannot pay a $400 emergency expense without borrowing money or selling something. Tens of millions are food insecure, or housing insecure, or can’t receive medical care when they need it. The economic hardships of many tens of millions of Americans result from systems (economic and political) that have allowed a small elite to capture almost all the benefits of productivity gains.

From 1968 through 2019, the income of the average household in the top 1% grew by 158%, from $789,200 to $2,034,300. The top 1%’s share of post-tax national income increased by 66%, from 8.7% to 14.4%.