About

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Joe Mokler, Project Manager

FOR AN IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TO MEDIA INQUIRIES, EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS, COMMENTS, SUGGESTIONS, QUESTIONS, OR TECHNICAL ISSUES, CONTACT US AT:

SmartVoters.org@gmail.com

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AN ELECTION ABOUT NOTHING

The 2012 presidential campaign was described as an election about nothing because candidates failed to propose a single bold idea to get the U.S. out of the worst economy since the Great Depression.

Yet, the fact that candidates had no bold ideas on any problem suggested that the 2012 presidential election was a $7 billion marketing campaign in which Democrats and Republicans fought a turf war with patriotic ideals, pacifying ideologies, false hope, and empty promises.

For the reasonable who are not partisans of party and the two-party system, the 2012 presidential campaign was the latest election about nothing because, as usual, the parties and the candidates were unwilling to acknowledge the real extent of the nation’s political and economic problems and express any degree of responsibility.

In 2012, Democrats and Republicans once again ignored truth and avoided accountability, demonstrating instead a continued preference for blame over bold ideas, campaigning over governance, and protecting the status quo over changing it.

Voters concerned about the direction of the country in 2012 were offered strategies that were vague, timid, and assumption laden.  Proposed budget cuts to deal with debt and deficits were either too small or not real, strategies to create jobs were discredited, temporary in nature, or lacked details, and projected growth rates were unrealistically high.

Given the country’s historic decline from post WW II golden age to being the world’s most indebted nation, Democrats and Republicans clearly lack the political will to solve or even define problems and voters lack a clear sense of where the country is where it’s going.

If this destructive arrangement undermining democracy and capitalism is going to end, a seismic shift in the political balance of power between Washington and Main Street will come from the ground up because Washington has a compelling vested interest in protecting the status quo.

THE ELUSIVE SEARCH FOR NATIONAL DIRECTION

Voters are concerned about national direction but can’t define it for the following reasons:

*  the overwhelming amount of eco-political information

*  the number and complexity of public issues

*  the extent to which Democrats and Republicans disagree on everything

*  a media bias that promotes either Democratic or Republican interests

*  each party’s aversion to show accountability for failure

*  the parties reliance on blame, buzzwords, and cliches

*  the preference for campaigning over governing

*  the inability to solve or even define problems -and-

*  the pursuit of public policies that promote the toxic concentration of eco-political power.

So while most voters are deeply concerned about the direction of the country and cling to the hope that Washington will change it, the parties– despite their intra- and inter-party rivalries– protect the status quo, perpetuate negative national trends, and undermine democracy and capitalism.

The country operates in a political vacuum so any hope of laying the groundwork for a different future depends on shattering pacifying myths like voter competence, American affluence, and meaningful two-party competition with some bold, non-partisan ideas.

IN POLITICS, TRUTH IS THE ART OF PERSUASIAN

There are no leaders in Washington, only followers whose loyalties are to party, the two-party system, lobbyists, big donors, and outworn ideas.

Washington is a political merry-go-round with a single priority– winning or retaining the White House, the Senate, and the House.  Public issues are never solved, their numbers always increases, and funding is on a never-ending upward spiral.  Issues are simply pawns in a chess game.  They’re used for political advantage and perpetuated through posturing, the manipulation of language and other creative persuasion.

POLITICS IS THE ART OF KEEPING VOTERS UNINFORMED WHILE INSISTING THEY ARE

Voters don’t have a clear sense of where the country is or where it’s going and Washington can’t solve or even define problems.  A system in which the self-serving and inept are leading the uninformed is proof that America has not solved the problem of social organization:  how to set-up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm.  

THE POLITICAL VACUUM CREATED BY VOTER IGNORANCE AND THE CANDY STORE MENTALITY

For the reasonable, both Democrats and Republicans enact endless and costly legislation that expands Washington’s reach but doesn’t actually solve any problems.  Not only is the number of unsolved national public issues constantly increasing but their overall severity has worsened to the point that Washington is divided, paralyzed, and dysfunctional.

Washington has become a victim of its lavish spending and fantasies.  It pursues fiscal and monetary programs that are bankrupting the country and manipulating our currency while perpetuating myths that one party or the other is better for the country and that the U.S. will experience an economic miracle in an intensely competitive global economy.

Washington is bad government with no vision, big ideas, or political will mortgaging the future to protect the status quo that is leading the nation from fiscal cliff to fiscal cliff with catastrophic default and severe austerity as the end result.

That Washington has become so dysfunctional is evidence of a much larger problem.  Thomas Jefferson warned that nothing is more vital to democracy than an informed electorate and, yet, while the parties are manipulating voters by praising their political intelligence, statistical evidence of a poorly informed electorate dates back to early scientific polling in the 1940s.

If anything explains the country’s decline from its post WW II golden age, it is the political vacuum created by voter ignorance and the candy store mentality of both political parties.

More than ever before, voters need an independent vision and innovative strategy to become informed and empowered.  FIVE PROBLEMS THAT DEFINE AMERICA’S DIRECTION– and two bold ideas to change it!  is an attempt to provide this essential framework.

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Joe Mokler, Project Manager

FOR AN IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TO MEDIA INQUIRIES, EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS, COMMENTS, SUGGESTIONS, QUESTIONS, OR TECHNICAL ISSUES, CONTACT US AT:

SmartVoters.org@gmail.com

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SmartVoters.org – PURPOSE

In a national environment in which Democrats and Republicans are more interested in campaigning than governing, SmartVoters.org seeks an end to a political merry-go-round that substitutes blame, buzz words, and cliches for credible vision, compelling strategy, big ideas, and political will.  This website is committed to a non-partisan synthesis of liberal, conservative, libertarian, and populist ideas.

SmartVoters.org is a reincarnation of Inform America, Inc., a Massachusetts-based, tax-exempt voter education research organization that operated from 1991-2003.  Both SmartVoters.org and inform America are projects managed by Joe Mokler, a former VISTA, a disabled vet, public affairs television producer, community magazine publisher, and two-time U.S. Census Bureau recruiting manager.

Inform America’s mission was to develop research and demonstration projects to assess and raise low voter competence.  Since foundations have never embraced and rarely acknowledge widespread voter illiteracy, the organization struggled for more than a decade with little funding.  It nevertheless evolved into experimental community television and publishing.  Inform America produced more than 800 hours of live, weekly, public affairs programming and published a community news magazine funded entirely by tax-deductible contributions and written by local residents.

Launching the SmartVoters.org website is an attempt to merge the best of Inform America with new ideas and technology to rally public support for the following:

(1)  creation of an independent national commission to conduct televised hearings to address a variety of liberal, conservative, libertarian, populist, and other proposals to eliminate waste, cut unaffordable spending, reform entitlements, and create economic growth;

(2)  development of a non-profit, grassroots “news only” newspaper model duplicated across the country focusing on local, state, and national issues; and

(3)  organization of a new foundation committed to supporting research and demonstration projects to raise low voter competence.

SmartVoters.org – EVOLUTION:

In 1968, I was a Sonora, California based VISTA volunteer serving in the death throes of President Johnson’s failing War on Poverty. For the reasonable, it was clear that Washington was throwing money at a problem and unrealistically raising expectations.  This bureaucratic overreaching and undisciplined spending which were also evident in the war in Vietnam created a chain reaction of dismal results, urban riots, antiwar protests, and, finally, LBJ’s decision not to seek re-election. 

With my confidence in big government liberalism shattered and Republicans committed to their own brand of Wall Street and defense-centric big government conservatism, I left VISTA a committed political independent inspired in a new grassroots direction.  The silent majority Nixon claimed to champion was a poorly informed spectator manipulated politically and dismissed as apathetic. 

 A new era of single-issue politics in which proliferating public issues are treated as separate and competing entities created a circus-like atmosphere with an ever increasing number of non-profits fighting for a finite amount of PR, money, and volunteers.  With so many issues on the table shattering any pretense of an informed electorate, my original plan developed into an effort to redefine what voter education should be and how to deliver it at the grassroots level. 

A series of grant proposals were written to conduct a research and demonstration project to assess and raise voter competence in a targeted suburb.  The last of these proposals focused on the myths and trends nature of what public issues mean collectively and advocated the development and linkage of non-profit, “news only” newspapers in communities across America focusing on local, state, and national issues. 

Although unable to secure funding for the project, I was still able to experiment by founding a tax-exempt educational organization committed to improving voter competence, producing 800 hours of live public affairs television, and publishing a community news magazine.

While still actively involved in community media, I served as a Census Bureau manager in the 2000 U.S. decennial.  In 2003– thirty-five years after my VISTA experience, I retired and moved to Maine.  Within two years, I was again writing op-eds. 

My concern was reinforced firsthand with service as a 2010 decennial manager and reading highly critical GAO reports.  Most striking was the dramatic cost increase of each new decennial which typifies the country’s spending problem.  The cost of the 1970 census was $1.22 per person but, by 2010, it had skyrocketed to $42.11.

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Joe Mokler, Project Manager

FOR AN IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TO MEDIA INQUIRIES, EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS, COMMENTS, SUGGESTIONS, QUESTIONS, OR TECHNICAL ISSUES, CONTACT US AT:

SmartVoters.org@gmail.com

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