109 – There are many ways we could improve our politics, but where do we begin?
In this episode, Jeremy Keil speaks about America’s politics with Mike McCabe. Mike brings a few issues to light that he believes Americans should address and proposes some ideas for where we can start. He talks about how gerrymandering is the root problem, how unionization affects our political representation, and the problems with our current left vs. right thinking when it comes to elections.
- What he did to give himself the leeway to take some time off and focus on some passion projects
- Why he believes gerrymandering sums up the problem with America’s politics
- How unionization has changed the way the American working class is represented politically and affected their voice
- Why Americans need to get out of the left vs. right political system mindset, and instead focus on an up vs. down representation of the powerful vs. the American voters
- And more
How To Fix American Politics
Summing Up The Problem
Gerrymandering and outside money in politics are two major contributors to political dysfunction if you look at the root causes.
What is gerrymandering? It’s a way of drawing political districts to produce results for the party in power. They draw districts in a way that makes it virtually impossible to beat the party currently in power by packing as many opposition voters into a few districts and then spreading the rest of those opposition party voters across many other districts.
So instead of having competitive districts where it’s relatively close to 50-50, and the results could go either way, they’ve turned those 50-50 districts into 60-40 or 65-35 districts, minimizing the competition for the party in power.
This naturally creates representatives who are fierce partisans because they no longer have to listen or talk to the opposing side.
By eliminating the fear of competition, the politicians no longer work to best serve us.
Our guest, Mike McCabe, has advocated taking the process of drawing political boundaries out of the hands of the elected officials and giving it to a nonpartisan agency or an independent commission. This would give us many more competitive districts and create representatives who would be keener to listen to the voters’ concerns.
With more fairly competitive elections and politicians considering Americans’ concerns, we would see greater voter turnouts and politics representing Americans better.
Unionization and American Politics
America used to be broadly unionized, but now it’s mostly government jobs that are the only unionized professions left. There is very little unionization in the private sector now. The last bastion of union involvement is in the public sector – the government workers still have union representation.
While some believe all unions are good, and others believe all unions are bad, the current situation is most union membership and power lies in government unions. This puts more power in the hands of the politically connected and less in the hands of every day Americans.
Now, with not a single member of most American families having any union affiliation, Mike believes that has changed how working people are politically represented. It has changed how working-class people have a voice in our economy and our democracy.
The Left Vs. The Right
Everyone believes it’s a left-right system, Democrats vs. Republicans. Still, it’s more of a top-down system, with the politically connected and powerful vs. everyone else.
A chapter in Mike McCabe’s book, Blue Jeans In High Places, speaks directly to this subject matter. It caught the most attention and got more people thinking and talking than any other part of the book.
We’ve been conditioned to think horizontally about politics, whether someone is a conservative, liberal or moderate. This has created a massive divide amongst the people and given politicians more power.
The thing that happens when you stop thinking horizontally and instead look at it vertically, at who has the most money and power in society and who has the least, most people tend to put themselves in the middle or just below the middle of that vertical spectrum.
The working class is in the middle without much influence on the political outcomes because of the influence those higher on the spectrum have.
Instead of thinking of politics horizontally and being at each others’ throats, we need to unite in the middle of the vertical spectrum to see the change we want.
After addressing a lot of the issues with America’s politics, we’re looking for some solutions, and that’s what Mike McCabe’s other book, Unscrewing America Hints and Hopes from the Heartland, is all about.
Political innovation has already happened in American history and twice in Wisconsin alone.
Mike says we can find hope and comfort in history because we don’t face anything today that we haven’t faced and overcome in the past.
If we go back to before 1960, America had eerily similar conditions, and if you go even further back to the 1800s, our politics were a cesspool with rampant corruption. It used to be entirely legal to bribe public officials for the first half-century of statehood in Wisconsin. The people rose against corruption and bribery was finally banned in 1897.
We don’t face anything today that hasn’t been faced and overcome before; even if the details are different, the overarching problem or theme remains the same, and we will find a solution.
We can take comfort in history and draw inspiration from it to resolve current issues because people faced challenges and traumas as great as what we face today, if not greater. Yet they still beat those odds, overcame those challenges, and made our country even stronger.
We can too.
To learn more about fixing America politically, check out the resources below!
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us or our guest, Mike McCabe, using the contact information provided below!
- Unscrewing America Hints and Hopes from the Heartland by Mike McCabe
- Blue Jeans In High Places by Mike McCabe
- Free Retirement Planning Video Course: 5stepretirementplan.com
- 3 Things You Should Know Before Choosing A Financial Advisor
- 7 Questions That Could Make or Break Your Retirement
- Subscribe to Retirement Revealed on Google Podcasts
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Connect With Mike McCabe:
Connect With Jeremy Keil:
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- LinkedIn: Keil Financial Partners
- Book a call with Jeremy
About Our Guest:
Mike McCabe has written and published two books, “Unscrewing America” in 2020 and “Blue Jeans in High Places” in 2014. Mike was a candidate for Wisconsin governor in 2018. He was the director of the independent watchdog group Wisconsin Democracy Campaign for 15 years, a communications director and legislative liaison for the Madison Metropolitan School District for 6 years, and director of a statewide civic education program for the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance.
Results and figures presented within the above links are hypothetical, unaudited and are intended for illustrative purposes only.
Keil Financial Partners assumes no liability or responsibility for any errors, omissions, or other issues with the links and their respective contents. This includes both the website content and any potential bugs, viruses or other technical threats.
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Keil Financial Partners does not provide any tax advice. No information or results from the links should be interpreted as tax advice. Please seek guidance from a qualified tax professional for any and all tax-related matters.
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