i.) The IParty will be a Good Example. The IParty should be structured well, as a divided and layered constitutional democratic republic, like the system it is advocating. It will use the advanced voting techniques and the fifty states to experiment with alternative models and sub-organizations. It will also be a model set of organizations with guiding principles, goals, and morals to increase brand identity and value. The IParty will comprise a national political party, a PAC, and a social welfare organization.
The political party, called the IParty Democrats, will be the main body of the IParty. It will serve the function of recruiting people to become candidates in the Democratic Party primary elections, recruiting candidates to run in elections where the Democratic Party fields no candidates, contributing directly to candidate campaigns, and running independent national media promotions for the issues championed by the IParty.
The political action committee, called the IParty Super PAC, will make independent expenditures promoting IParty issues and values, helping to create a national brand. Legally, it will not be allowed to donate directly to IParty candidate campaigns, or coordinate actions with the candidates.
The social welfare group, called the IParty Social Wellbeing Group, will be devoted to the various social goals of the IParty, including promoting the teaching of civics in high schools, hosting music festivals, organizing peaceful meetings, collectively bargaining for insurance, running anti-addiction health groups, and other social and political functions. This group will be organized as a non-profit group under 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(4).
Each group will have a different leadership, but will overlap in several ways. Each will adopt a constitutional bylaw system that separates powers among the leadership and various functions of the organization. For example, the constitution may establish a rulemaking committee, an executive leader, a judicial branch or ombudsman, a voting committee, a reporting branch, and an anticorruption compliance branch, while reserving enumerated rights to the membership. Each IParty group may have common members. For example, a member of the IParty Wellbeing Group may also join the IParty Super PAC membership, but might decide not to join the IParty Democrats. Each IParty group will adopt a similar philosophy. Each organization will assume the duty of enforcing standards regarding the IParty brand.
ii.) The IParty will have a Divided Power Structure. As each of the three independent IParty organizations grow, power should be formally divided among several branches (executive, legislative, judicial, legal compliance, reporting, finance, and voting members). The IParty organizations will adopt constitutions within their bylaws giving limited power to office holders and representatives. Of course, without voting members, the IParty will be powerless. The constitution and power structure should reflect this fundamental fact, reserving rights to members.
iii.) The IParty will Reform Campaign Finance Internally. The IParty will stay responsive to the broad membership of the IParty by not allowing special interests to gain undue influence over party decisions using large donations. The IParty organizations may establish small monthly dues to maintain membership and benefits. As the IParty gains more members, it may limit the dollar value of contributions to the IParty, so that no one may unfairly buy access or influence. If the IParty eventually gets 20% of the 65 million Democrats who voted for Obama in 2012 to join, that will represent about 13 million democrats. If each of those people contribute $5 a month in dues to maintain their membership, that will be an operating budget of $65 million per month. This is plenty of money to run candidates and become a competitive force in US politics.
Initially, the IParty may accept larger donations to establish the party. Any donation over $1000 will not be accepted until it is put to a vote of the dues paying membership. In this way, the membership may decide whether the IParty is being unduly influenced by large donations, and put a stop to it. The votes may be conducted by a monthly e-mail, listing the amount of the donation and the identity of the donor. IParty members could vote by e-mail, or other trusted electronic polling system.
Many donors may wish to remain anonymous, and not have their names known publically. Such donations should be allowed so that people may freely support the party of their choice without fear of retribution, for example from a boss or business associate. Many employees are aware of being pressured to vote for republicans or democrats. They may be unable to contribute if the IParty requires all donations to be disclosed publically. In order to remain immune from secret influences of “dark money”, or unreported donations from individuals with a political agenda, the IParty will set up a mechanism to receive donations anonymously, without learning the names of the donors. This can be accomplished, for example, by contract with a law firm.
The law firm would receive donations, but not immediately turn them over to the IParty. The donations could be passed on periodically, for example, monthly, so that no donor could assert that they gave $54,842 dollars, and then the IParty sees that $54,842 just showed up in the account that day. Instead, aggregated donations would be pooled. The IParty could adopt a policy of requesting that the law firm refund money to any donor who asserts either publically or to IParty officials that they donated to the law firm. The law firm could keep accurate records, and undergo an annual audit by a second law firm, whose only duty would be to report to the IParty whether the first law firm is substantially fulfilling the terms of the contract. The first law firm may consider donors to be clients of the firm, and only reveal their identity if required by law. These anonymous donations may be limited only to the 501(c)(4) IParty Social Wellbeing Group. A firm legal opinion will be sought, given the complexity of existing law.
The IParty will never agree to receive anonymous donations from donors who want particular favors. The IParty will always agree to receive anonymous donations from people who like the IParty, and want it to succeed. For this, the IParty does not need to know the names of the donors.
The IParty organizations will conduct a vote after the 2016 elections to determine what finance system to use in the future. If the IParty requires dues of $5 a month to join, but adopts rules to accept no more than $5 a month from ANYONE, then the IParty cannot be unduly influenced by special interests. This type of business practice will give the IParty a solid brand name that voters can rely upon. When people vote for an IParty candidate, they will know that the candidate has a broad base of support from the electorate, not the backing of a few wealthy donors pulling their strings. The IParty candidate will have to look out for the broad interests of IParty voters, if they want to remain in the IParty and be re-elected. Many voters do not believe candidates in the main Republican and Democratic parties are looking out for voters interests. One possibility is that the IParty Democrats and the IParty Super PAC have low limits, while the IParty Social Wellbeing Group does not have contribution limits.
Some people may not like the idea of giving money to a political party. The IParty will still need contributions from a lot of people in order to survive. Instead of money, people should have the option to donate their time to the IParty in lieu of money. People could be asked to donate one hour of time each month, on average, working on tasks required by the IParty. The IParty could post these tasks on the website, and people could perform these tasks periodically to fulfill their membership dues to the IParty. For example, if people did not want to pay dues, they could collect signatures for a couple hours every other month, in order to get IParty candidates on the ballot. Or, they could choose to write stories about IParty policies, that illustrate the need for the policies in a concrete way. The IParty will need a reporting branch, and it will need to be staffed by a large number of reporters. This could be volunteer work to satisfy dues. Perhaps IParty members could be given the option of having their dues payments automatically suspended when they do volunteer work for the IParty.
In this way, the IParty can achieve its own campaign finance reform, not by changing the Constitution, but by voting on and adopting bylaws governing a political organization. This may not prevent campaigns in other parties from accepting large amounts of cash from individual donors, but it can make other campaigns look bad. When the IParty becomes a majority, it will not matter that other campaigns have not reformed, because the IParty will make the rules.
iv.) The IParty will Control and Limit Membership. The IParty should be structured to exclude representatives, officials, and members that damage the brand and reputation of the party. A mechanism should be created that allows the expulsion and exclusion of such damaging elements, such as a vote of the membership or a vote of a committee elected to represent the membership. The potential of trademark law should be investigated for the purpose of controlling membership. Also, the rights of freedom of association should be investigated for this purpose. In other words, at times, the IParty may wish to prevent someone from claiming they are a member of the IParty, speak for the IParty, or are somehow representative of the IParty.
Example: Susanne Atanus won the GOP primary election in the 9th Congressional District in Illinois in 2014. The Republican Party disavowed any association with her, but had no mechanism to prevent her from calling herself a Republican. The IParty will attempt to use trademark law to register trademarks such as IParty (only for use in a political sphere), IParty Democrats and InterSystems Party, in order to prevent individuals who do not follow IParty principles from damaging the brand by associating themselves with the IParty. Because political speech is the most protected speech under the 1st Amendment, success may be limited. In some situations, law suits may only serve to increase publicity for a candidate. However, if the IParty brand becomes credible enough, a law suit may be effective in deterring a candidate.
v.) The IParty will provide Value-Added Services. The IParty Social Wellbeing Group should provide services to its members that fundamentally require cooperation or pooling of resources. This may include social networking, sharing of resources, insurance, addiction support groups, religious networking, etc. The party should also provide a moderated open discussion forum similar to the discussion forum hosted by Slashdot. (See http://slashdot.org and look at the moderated discussion sections. Compare the commentary found there to typical commentary found on, for example, Yahoo! news sites. Actually, some of the ideas in this Outline were influenced by individual comments made on Slashdot over the years).
The IParty may use rating systems to allow members to establish and increase their own personal party rating. A member’s party rating would be their street cred in the IParty. Members may be rated by, for example, voting in primary elections, paying dues, making donations, performing party functions, demonstrating knowledge of party positions and effectively advocating party positions online as judged by IParty peers. The rating system could be presented as an online game.
vi.) The IParty will Conduct Improved Internal Elections. The IParty organizations should conduct internal elections using instant runoff voting methods. Internal elections and polling may be used to determine party candidates and positions. The IParty should advocate for instant runoff voting in federal, state, and local elections.
vii.) The IParty will Host Internal and External Debates. Currently, political debates are largely controlled by the Republican and Democratic parties. The IParty will host debates among candidates within the IParty, and with serious opponents outside the IParty. The IParty will attempt to make these debates more interesting, lively, and relevant to voters using modern media techniques to gain attention and popularity.
viii.) The IParty will Conduct a National Election Campaign. The IParty Super PAC, IParty Social Wellbeing Group, and IParty Democrats will each independently support all IParty candidates at the state level in part by running a national campaign for all IParty candidates collectively. Voters will become familiar with IParty positions, methods, and goals through the national campaign, and decide whether to vote for their local IParty candidate at least in part based on the national campaign. In this way, IParty funds can be used most efficiently to get IParty candidates into office.
ix.) The IParty will Grow and Adapt. The IParty will not remain a set of static entities, but will develop and grow. It will add new sub-organizations as it increases in size. It will change as the vision of the membership evolves.