How Standout Independent Senators Could Drive Reform

Trade, the labor upon which trade depends, and human movement as a result of trade are macro matters of the utmost importance that the US Congress has proven incapable of adequately addressing, or addressing at all.

A league of pro-state independents, composed of a decisive five to ten Senators, would hold the cards for legislation regardless of which major party holds a majority. Such a league is a remedy in that only a small number of Senate seats is needed to control the agenda and drive at compromise. These independents would direct their efforts toward the most pronounced nation-related issues, namely, immigration and trade, and, by extension, continental security, prosperity, and stability at large.

It’s important to consider all within the context and challenges of the 21st Century.

The continual migration of people as a direct result of stark global wealth discrepancies is the most consequential return of globalization—more than technological and environmental change—as it is immediately politically disruptive.

Principles for nation-related issues must thus focus around concepts of space and movement. North Americans are almost entirely free to move across state and national boundaries north of the US-Mexican border as well as traversing southward into Mexico, whereas northbound migration into the United States is sensitive and restricted. Such a boundary crux is critical in understanding north-south geographical-political expanse and position, maintaining reciprocal relationships, and building upon multilateral ones: the concept of the neighbor and the concept of the continent.

Issue 1: Immigration
If we are to conceptualize the United States, Canada, and Mexico as inextricably connected relative to immigration, trade, and stability, then these nations must have an agreement pertaining to the allotment of north-bound migrants. I believe the most sensical approach is that Mexico, because of its most southern location and being the first nation of entry, should carry a weighted numerical load of migrants and refugees while Canada and the United States could take a lesser distribution in exchange for direct investment in Mexico (infrastructure, business, small agriculture, teachers, security, other). Furthermore, the northern nations could initiate a guest-work program for north-bound migrant workers which would operate as a basis for multilateral agreements with Mexico in relation to Central and South American countries as well.

Issue 2: Trade 
Trade goes hand in hand with immigration. The US’s most relevant multilateral trade agreement must be with its continental neighbors, as geographical space and free movement are integral for the social informing of democratic cultures and governances. It is vital that those who control the means and capital of economic production are geographically present with the rest of the citizenry, rather than socially and culturally distanced from afar. Transatlantic, transpacific, and hemispheric trade are contrastingly secondary priorities; oceans and distance pose a clear physical boundary to free movement, creating a disconnect between peoples and their ability to inform governances. However, democratic, cultural, and economic alignment provide clear reasons to maintain such cross-continental multilateral relations.

Give the States the Platform for Policy Change
A league of pro-state independents would also kick down non-nation-related issues to the States where each state’s populace would more effectively inform governance. I suspect that issues that are dear to me, as an average citizen (labor, health/wellbeing, and education among others), are better sorted out at the state level, where its people can engage in substantive and constructive dialog and debate in an environment they know well. Admittedly, the downside for more state-level flexibility is quite glaring. Civil rights and other protections have the potential to become even more at risk than they are now. With respect to changes in labor laws, the undermining of affordable health care, and gun laws—taken as a few examples—states would do well to compare and contrast with one another and potentially pool together in order to construct democratic policy structures. Other issues such as reproductive rights must continue to stand as federal law. These pro-state independents would have to think carefully when essentially kicking down such issues to the state level. Nonetheless, I suggest that there is little dialogic opportunity to carry through democratic processes when such non-nation-related issues are debated only in politicized generalities across regional contexts.

I am of the conviction that the consolidated, dual super party system is a major cause for dysfunctional governance. The Constitution already grants much authority to the States which means such a political introduction is by no means a systemic overhaul. Considering more people identify as political independents than Democrats or Republicans, it seems entirely feasible to make progress toward a critical caucus by 2020. However, there must be a binding concept, which must be practical relative to the constitutional democracy that exists. We need to conceive of the continent, and we need to elevate our democratic processes in our States.

I contend and emphasize that any move toward an enlightened political environment must come from a place of seriousness and purposefulness. My intent is to offer an inlet through which we can demystify national politics to the end of gaining control over our governing structures.