Things that cannot happen anymore (and ways to stop them)

I’m jumping ahead in time here, but we’ve reached the point where we can see a world beyond Trump, Putin, Johnson, et al.  So I thought I’d write a little missive about what needs to go away in the next epoch we are about to enter, specifically in the U.S.

First of all, we need to vet candidates for president.  We’re not doing that right now.  Basic rules should be:

(1) You either release 10 years of tax returns or you’re out of the race.

(2) No entertainers, athletes, businessmen, or anyone else with zero experience in elected government posts.  Ideally this means you should at least serve a term in Congress before considering running.  This should also include military personnel — they should have to serve in elected government posts before running for President, although they could definitely ride the coattails of their military service into Congress to begin with.  Period.

(3) All candidates need to pass a test of knowledge of the Constitution.  This needs to be done in public, and the results need to be posted so everyone knows what they know.

(4) There needs to be a federal budget for Presidential campaigns, and every candidate should get the same amount of money from that budget, and no one should be allowed to use their own money.  No special interest groups should be allowed to donate.

Those are the very basics of what should be required of a presidential candidate.  I know there are more things to be considered, but the fact is, we’re not even doing that much right now.  And look what we’ve ended up with.

Second thing involves the MSM: they need to be penalized for promoting sensationalism vs. news.  For instance, right now we have them grabbing on to the “civil war” aspect of the Trump debacle and running with that, at the expense of reporting actual news.  It can’t continue.  Just the facts, ma’am (and sir).  Stop inventing worries that aren’t actually worries and then dwelling on them.  Realize that this affects the public, many of whom are now convinced that Trump has some secret army that’s going to attack everyone if he’s deposed.  Prior to this they’ve had most everyone convinced that Trump could unilaterally start WWIII.  FUCKING CUT IT OUT, ASSHOLES.

Third thing: dispense with polls.  The only poll that matters is in the voting booths on election day.  Most or all of the rest can be easily manipulated.  That’s to say that polls are fucking useless,and they feed into the false narratives such as the ones mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Fourth thing: DO AWAY WITH THE FUCKING ELECTORAL COLLEGE.

Fifth thing: STOP TRUSTING PRESIDENTS.  All those “understood” ethics rules that Trump has trashed — for instance, sharing highly-classified intelligence just because a president can (not that s/he should) — need to be formalized into laws with real penalties for violations.  For example, maybe let’s decree that a president CANNOT share highly-classified information without going through numerous channels to get okays first, and violations will be punishable by imprisonment and removal from office.

Sixth thing: The same counts for the offices of Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the House.  There need to be real rules applied to these offices, and real punishments for ignoring them.

Seventh thing: Make it clear that a sitting president CAN be prosecuted.  There is no law stating otherwise, only a memo written during the Nixon era — which has since been supplanted by another memo written during the Clinton era, which is now conveniently being ignored.  MAKE IT STATED LAW.

Eighth thing: Clarify “executive privilege” so no one can play with the term to suit their whims.

That’s all I can think of offhand, but it’s a start.  Thing is, we can’t go on as if Trump (and McConnell, and Ryan) never happened.  We need to do everything to make any future would-be despot’s lot not just difficult, but impossible.  That is all.