The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release January 24, 2012
Remarks by the President in State of Union Address
United States Capitol, Washington, D.C.
9:12 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:
I speak to you today not only as your President but as a fellow American citizen who is searching for ways to improve our nation. I believe we are at a pivotal time in our nation’s history, a time of historic disconnect between the wishes of the majority of American citizens and the actions of their representatives, who often represent little more than their own wish to be re-elected and the wishes of the corporations who fund them. We live in a time when many voters feel obligated to vote for one of the two major party candidates in order to not ‘waste’ their one and only vote; we live in a time when legislation is literally written by corporations and lobbyists, none of whom were ever elected or are accountable to voters; we live in a time when more and more Americans wish to have a direct influence on the decisions of their country but have no means to do so.
All of these facts may sound disheartening, but instead of allowing our nation to be broken by despair we must investigate the roots of these problems and eliminate them, one by one. To do this, we must stop assuming that the underlying structure of our nation is sound. It is not. All of our problems are significantly caused by structural defects in our political system, and all of them can be improved quite easily if we wish. We must make three significant structural changes to our political system in order to improve our democracy, to increase Americans’ participation in the decisions of our nation, and to ensure a future where politics is seen not as something disgraceful but as a means to making wise decisions.
The first structural change I propose is serious voting reform.
We must conduct our elections using this same voting method, Score Voting, in order to ensure that the most generally preferred candidate -- the one who represents the true ‘will of the people’ -- will win. Voters would simply score each and every candidate on the ballot that they wished, and the candidate with the highest numerical score would win the election. This will increase voter satisfaction and greatly increase feelings of legitimacy about our government, since each voter has a greater influence on the outcome of the election, and all of his or her preferences are taken into account. We now have the technology, as the companies I just mentioned have demonstrated, to institute Score Voting on a local, state, and federal level, and eventually to use it in all elections. This is the most important change we can make to our political structure, as upgrading the way in which we vote is at the absolute root of any improvement to our democracy.
The second structural improvement I propose is getting all private money out of public elections.
The third and final structural change I propose is the creation of a new body of the Legislative Branch, which I call ‘The People’s Congress.’
The state of our union is not strong at the moment, but it can be made strong. The three structural changes I propose -- using Score Voting in our elections, getting private money out of public elections, and creating The People’s Congress -- are very clear solutions that get at the root of all of our political problems. An additional benefit of these three solutions is that they can each be implemented at the local and state level as well as the federal level. We must make it our priority to focus on instituting these changes in order to allow all Americans to have a greater, more equal say in the decisions of our nation. Only by improving the way we make decisions -- the root of any democracy -- can we ensure a prosperous and mutually beneficial future for all Americans. No goal is more important than this.
Thank you. May we all work together to make these changes happen, and to create an America that is truly representative of the people who comprise it.
END 9:30 P.M. EST
Learn more about Score Voting:
Test out Score Voting in a mock election for president
Learn more about constitutional amendments to get private money out of public elections:
Do you have an idea about how The People’s Congress could be designed and implemented? Please leave a comment below; I’m excited to see what people think. I think the White House’s new We the People petition platform is a huge step in the right direction.