A Passive-Digressive Political Rant

Forgive the total irrelevance of this post to my published purpose. But I had something to say, and this blog is my soapbox, so here we go…

I am resigned to the fact that, in its current state, the United States Congress can accomplish nothing worthwhile. The Republicans are practically all up for sale, and the Democrats would be too if there was anyone who wanted to buy them.

Has anyone noticed how the votes in Congress all tend to go the highest bidder? We shouldn’t have to wonder why our country is run by the mega-corporations. (Lobbying reform is very important, but my beef today is going to be election reform.)

The obvious fact is, if you can afford a massive tv, radio and newspaper ad campaign, your chances of getting elected greatly improve. So how can we voters complain that money buys votes in Congress, when that’s exactly what’s happening in the elections. The high-rollers, the big spenders, are going to be the eventual victors.

So, if you want to get elected, you have to court the billionaires. And once you’re successful, you’re beholden to them. Thus, the billionaires are really the only ones being represented in Washington.

My solution? Not a campaign reform bill… a campaign ban! (of sorts)

Campaigns today have gotten completely out of control, with any given candidate starting the ball rolling 12 – 18 months in advance, and spending money totalling billions of dollars that could be feeding hungry people. And for what? Propaganda. Very, very little of any campaign is devoted to real discussions of issues, qualifications and character. Anymore it’s a mere combination of Grandstanding and Mudslinging. Not to mention all the governing that doesn’t get accomplished during that time.

Obviously, however, candidates need opportunities to become known by the people. But as long as their opportunities hinge on the size of their wallets, we will never have an effective goverment. So here’s my proposal for elections to the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House:

1) Whereas, it will be unlawful for anyone to formally announce one’s candidacy for public office more than six (6) months in advance of the first primary election, at which point, public speaking and interviews regarding the nature of one’s candidacy may lawfully begin. These two activities will not be restricted. However, absenteeism from one’s current duties in office in order to engage in these activities will be duly noted.

2) Whereas, a fee will be charged of each candidate desiring to enter the primary elections. The fee shall be $4,000 for the House of Representatives, $12,000 for the Senate, and $20,000 for the White House. This fee may be provided by a political party, or by the candidate’s own treasurer. Each candidate in the primaries must be verbally sponsored by an approved political party [note: new parties can become approved through public petitioning.] The treasury of an individual candidate may be funded only by gifts from individuals (other than the candidate or the candidate’s immediate family,) not to exceed $200 per benefactor.

3) Whereas, no political party will be permitted to provide the entry fee for more than two candidates for the same position in the primary elections. However, they will be permitted to verbally sponsor as many as they like. [note: Political parties will try to keep their pool small, so as to avoid spreading the votes of their support base too thin.]

4) Whereas, it will be unlawful to “advertise” or “market” one’s candidacy in the mass media. Those who report the news will be expected (but not required) to provide balanced information about each candidate running, for the education of the public. Although mass media outlets are free to take an editorial position in endorsing particular candidates, any exchange of money, goods or favors between said media outlet and the endorsed candidate will be unlawful. Official pamphlets will be produced by the government providing the employment, criminal, voting and attendance records, plus a brief statement from the candidates on key issues. These pamphlets will be widely circulated.

5) Whereas, official debates will be hosted and broadcast (on a network station or PBS,) very similar to the current practice. One debate will be hosted during the month prior to primary elections. Every candidate will be invited to participate, and also offer a personal speech. Three debates will be hosted during the two months prior to the general election, and several opportunities will be given to each candidate to broadcast personal speeches.

6) Whereas, primary elections will be open, and not based on political party. All candidates running for a given position will be on the ballot, and voters will be given 5 votes to use. They may give all 5 to one candidate, give 1 vote to 5 different candidates, or divide them up in other ways. The two candidates with the most votes received will advance, even if they are both from the same party.

7) Whereas, there shall be no Electoral College. It is stupid and useless.

8) For the general elections, each voter is given one vote to use, and the candidate who earns the most votes will be the winner.

9) Whereas, all offical debates and speeches will be hosted and broadcast at the expense of the United States government, using entry fees, and tax money when necessary.

10) Resolved, representation in Congress and the White House shall be returned to the voters of the United States, and undue power shall be revoked from corporations, special interests and the wealthy.

I know a lot of this sounds socialistic, and kind of un-American. But remember, capitalism and free market principles are for the market, not for the government. There is nothing un-American about placing constraints on government operations in order to increase and maintain the quality of egalitarian representation therein. In fact, I think it’s the most American thing we can do.

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About rwiksell

I am a former church-planting pastor, currently active as a wedding minister, and the leader of a spiritual discussion group at a local bar called Scotch & Soda. By day, I am the graphic designer and production manager for a historic print shop called Traders Printing, located in downtown Springfield, Missouri. My wife Christina and I have been married for 9 years now, and we live in a turn-of-the-century bungalow on the north side of Springfield with our dog Abbi, and our cat Charlie.
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36 Responses to A Passive-Digressive Political Rant

  1. Beloved says:

    Sounds like a plan to me.Good luck on that. :)

  2. Beloved says:

    Sounds like a plan to me.Good luck on that. :)

  3. Makeesha says:

    hehehe…yeah, that’s pretty much my response too. I’m with ya. I’m not much for politics so I haven’t though through it to that depth – kudos.

  4. Makeesha says:

    hehehe…yeah, that’s pretty much my response too. I’m with ya. I’m not much for politics so I haven’t though through it to that depth – kudos.

  5. The Coreman says:

    You know I think there are a lot of people who would be more INTO politics if they felt like they had real access to it. As it is now, unless you have billion dollars, you just don’t.

  6. The Coreman says:

    You know I think there are a lot of people who would be more INTO politics if they felt like they had real access to it. As it is now, unless you have billion dollars, you just don’t.

  7. Beloved says:

    Maybe this is one (of the many) reasons we don’t have any of Jesus’ words regarding politics (if He even mentioned it at all). His Kingdom and earthly kingdoms are no longer linked in any way whatsoever. He doesn’t care about the USA or any other nation. He cares about His Church and His glory. He’s no less pleased with the Christians in China who are subjected to an oppressive government than He is with us “free” Christians. In fact, they have even greater opportunity to function as the Body of Christ was intended to than the Church in America does. Why? Because they are persecuted. Jesus said we would always be persecuted, until He returns to this earth to put an end to all of this.“Blessed are those who are persecuted for my name’s sake.”–Jesus

  8. Beloved says:

    Maybe this is one (of the many) reasons we don’t have any of Jesus’ words regarding politics (if He even mentioned it at all). His Kingdom and earthly kingdoms are no longer linked in any way whatsoever. He doesn’t care about the USA or any other nation. He cares about His Church and His glory. He’s no less pleased with the Christians in China who are subjected to an oppressive government than He is with us “free” Christians. In fact, they have even greater opportunity to function as the Body of Christ was intended to than the Church in America does. Why? Because they are persecuted. Jesus said we would always be persecuted, until He returns to this earth to put an end to all of this.“Blessed are those who are persecuted for my name’s sake.”–Jesus

  9. The Coreman says:

    Beloved is correct… and YET, since we still have a government that is techncially of the people, by the people, and for the people, that means we are stewards of our government.Just because money will pass away at the end of the age, does that mean we don’t have a responsibility to handle it well? Just because marriage will cease, does that release us from our current obligations? (what a romantic way to say it…)If we were in China, we would have virtually no power to manage our government, and God knows that. He is equally pleased with all Christians who serve Him first, and serve Him fully. And sometimes that is more likely to happen under an oppressive regime. But He also knows that He placed us in a country where we are voters, intended to hold our public officials accountable. If we fail to do that, and allow billions of dollars, that could be used to feed the hungry or reach the lost, to be squandered on the consumption of propaganda, the American arm of the body of Christ has not fully served our Lord.

  10. The Coreman says:

    Beloved is correct… and YET, since we still have a government that is techncially of the people, by the people, and for the people, that means we are stewards of our government.Just because money will pass away at the end of the age, does that mean we don’t have a responsibility to handle it well? Just because marriage will cease, does that release us from our current obligations? (what a romantic way to say it…)If we were in China, we would have virtually no power to manage our government, and God knows that. He is equally pleased with all Christians who serve Him first, and serve Him fully. And sometimes that is more likely to happen under an oppressive regime. But He also knows that He placed us in a country where we are voters, intended to hold our public officials accountable. If we fail to do that, and allow billions of dollars, that could be used to feed the hungry or reach the lost, to be squandered on the consumption of propaganda, the American arm of the body of Christ has not fully served our Lord.

  11. Beloved says:

    Since when have the responsibilities of reaching the lost and feeding the hungry been shifted from Church to government? My beef is that there aren’t enough minutes in a day for us to devote ourselves both to the Church and the government. We have to pick our battles.I’m upset that i was robbed of opportunity to become well-trained in the Word, because the opportunity didn’t exist. Why? Because secular education and extra-curricular activities (such as sports) were valued more highly than Christian education. I believe that Scripture should play an integral role in every Christian parent’s children’s education. We need to learn from the traditions of other religions, such as historic Judaism. Our children NEED Christian education, and the Church in its current position CANNOT sufficiently meet that need. Why? Because there isn’t enough TIME in a day to devote to the type of education children need to devote to learning the Bible.Let’s face it, parents instill the values and teach some of the principles, but the vast majority of parents do not have the TIME to give their children adequate Biblical instruction. It’s just a fact of life. Yes, we must do our best as parents. But our best just hasn’t been cutting it.My solution? Decrease the current emphasis on classical education and extra-curricular activities; increase emphasis on Biblical education and incarnate faith. In other words, i believe the Church should regain its former role in the educational process. Once upon a time (only a century or two ago) the Church educated children both academically and Biblically. There is no reason why this should not be revived. Except, of course, the fact that there aren’t enough knowledgeable adults in America to educate students on the History of the people of God, from Genesis to present.There is a fundamental lack of knowledge among Western Christians about the heritage of our faith, that is the result of enmeshment with an increasingly secularized society. IN ORDER FOR US TO SURVIVE, let alone propagate a Kingdom movement, this trend has to change. There is no alternative.So all this comes around to the issue of government. “We the people” are not significant stakeholders in government because 1) we have not been educated enough about the political process, and 2) we have not been well educated enough about American and World History. So here again, the educational system is to blame for this problem. The solution? Increase emphasis on political and historical studies in elementary, middle and high school.PROBLEM: we as Christians simultaneously need to increase Christian education, and this means “cutting the fat” somewhere else.So we have two problems: 1) ineffective Christians due to lack of adequate discipleship, which is due to lack of knowledge (“Know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free.”) and 2) ineffective citizens due to lack of adequate skills and knowledge related to government, economics and history.FACT: We cannot win both of these battles. The demands of society do not permit it. The demands of the human body (i.e. the need for sleep and food and income) do not permit it. There is only so far we can stretch. And most of us (myself included) are already stretched to the max.Now as for your conclusion that somehow God has placed the American democracy on our shoulders as citizens of such a nation, i’m not sure where you gleaned that from. Who says it’s our place to keep the government from becoming corrupt, immoral and tyrranical, besides the Constitution? Are we mandated by Scripture to sign our names in agreement with the U.S. Constitution or some international “code of ethics”? Where do we draw the line? Is patriotism and nationalism inherent in the message of the Gospel? What about when such allegiances come between us and the will of God (as is the case more often than you probably realize)? Can we serve two masters?

  12. Beloved says:

    Since when have the responsibilities of reaching the lost and feeding the hungry been shifted from Church to government? My beef is that there aren’t enough minutes in a day for us to devote ourselves both to the Church and the government. We have to pick our battles.I’m upset that i was robbed of opportunity to become well-trained in the Word, because the opportunity didn’t exist. Why? Because secular education and extra-curricular activities (such as sports) were valued more highly than Christian education. I believe that Scripture should play an integral role in every Christian parent’s children’s education. We need to learn from the traditions of other religions, such as historic Judaism. Our children NEED Christian education, and the Church in its current position CANNOT sufficiently meet that need. Why? Because there isn’t enough TIME in a day to devote to the type of education children need to devote to learning the Bible.Let’s face it, parents instill the values and teach some of the principles, but the vast majority of parents do not have the TIME to give their children adequate Biblical instruction. It’s just a fact of life. Yes, we must do our best as parents. But our best just hasn’t been cutting it.My solution? Decrease the current emphasis on classical education and extra-curricular activities; increase emphasis on Biblical education and incarnate faith. In other words, i believe the Church should regain its former role in the educational process. Once upon a time (only a century or two ago) the Church educated children both academically and Biblically. There is no reason why this should not be revived. Except, of course, the fact that there aren’t enough knowledgeable adults in America to educate students on the History of the people of God, from Genesis to present.There is a fundamental lack of knowledge among Western Christians about the heritage of our faith, that is the result of enmeshment with an increasingly secularized society. IN ORDER FOR US TO SURVIVE, let alone propagate a Kingdom movement, this trend has to change. There is no alternative.So all this comes around to the issue of government. “We the people” are not significant stakeholders in government because 1) we have not been educated enough about the political process, and 2) we have not been well educated enough about American and World History. So here again, the educational system is to blame for this problem. The solution? Increase emphasis on political and historical studies in elementary, middle and high school.PROBLEM: we as Christians simultaneously need to increase Christian education, and this means “cutting the fat” somewhere else.So we have two problems: 1) ineffective Christians due to lack of adequate discipleship, which is due to lack of knowledge (“Know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free.”) and 2) ineffective citizens due to lack of adequate skills and knowledge related to government, economics and history.FACT: We cannot win both of these battles. The demands of society do not permit it. The demands of the human body (i.e. the need for sleep and food and income) do not permit it. There is only so far we can stretch. And most of us (myself included) are already stretched to the max.Now as for your conclusion that somehow God has placed the American democracy on our shoulders as citizens of such a nation, i’m not sure where you gleaned that from. Who says it’s our place to keep the government from becoming corrupt, immoral and tyrranical, besides the Constitution? Are we mandated by Scripture to sign our names in agreement with the U.S. Constitution or some international “code of ethics”? Where do we draw the line? Is patriotism and nationalism inherent in the message of the Gospel? What about when such allegiances come between us and the will of God (as is the case more often than you probably realize)? Can we serve two masters?

  13. The Coreman says:

    I feel like I have two assertions to respond to here:1) that we don’t have time to educate our children both in the ways of God, and the ways of the world, and2) that it is better to withdraw from government than to strive to simultaneously reform it and maintain our allegiance to God’s kingdom.To the first, I say that we can look at our forefathers. They were very wise in the ways of government, but also by and large very spiritually astute. This may be due to their wealth… private tutors and all.. but with all our time-saving inventions it seems like we should be able to accomplish just as much if not more. I think it is not so much an issue of not having enough time, I think it’s an issue of not wasting so much time. This is really a whole new topic here… but the public education system could teach the same amount of stuff they do now in only 4 hours a day, if they were more efficient about it.More later…

  14. The Coreman says:

    I feel like I have two assertions to respond to here:1) that we don’t have time to educate our children both in the ways of God, and the ways of the world, and2) that it is better to withdraw from government than to strive to simultaneously reform it and maintain our allegiance to God’s kingdom.To the first, I say that we can look at our forefathers. They were very wise in the ways of government, but also by and large very spiritually astute. This may be due to their wealth… private tutors and all.. but with all our time-saving inventions it seems like we should be able to accomplish just as much if not more. I think it is not so much an issue of not having enough time, I think it’s an issue of not wasting so much time. This is really a whole new topic here… but the public education system could teach the same amount of stuff they do now in only 4 hours a day, if they were more efficient about it.More later…

  15. Beloved says:

    Hey, that is a bit of a different topic, but two VERY GOOD points. I’ll concur with you on these. :)The “wasting time” factor cannot be underestimated. Perceptive insight.

  16. Beloved says:

    Hey, that is a bit of a different topic, but two VERY GOOD points. I’ll concur with you on these. :)The “wasting time” factor cannot be underestimated. Perceptive insight.

  17. Ariel says:

    Ryan, your plan for USA elections is nothing less than brilliant… wow!! Ramifications for social and political equality are enormous!As soon as the Messianic Era is initiated, consecrated, sanctified and commenced in New Israel, we should put your plan into practice immediately. Ariel, Founder of New Israel in the New World; & the Woman predicted in Revelation Twelve: One, the Testament of Jesus the Messiah. Today: 5-13-2006 Anno Domini or ‘5-13-06 M.E.’ on the Messianic Calendar. http://www.newisrael.net

  18. Ariel says:

    Ryan, your plan for USA elections is nothing less than brilliant… wow!! Ramifications for social and political equality are enormous!As soon as the Messianic Era is initiated, consecrated, sanctified and commenced in New Israel, we should put your plan into practice immediately. Ariel, Founder of New Israel in the New World; & the Woman predicted in Revelation Twelve: One, the Testament of Jesus the Messiah. Today: 5-13-2006 Anno Domini or ‘5-13-06 M.E.’ on the Messianic Calendar. http://www.newisrael.net

  19. Makeesha says:

    beloved: you sound like Sine ;)by the way, I just finished the book – it’s truly brilliant and we’re very excited about making some radical life changes to live this out…fortunately, we already think this way on a smaller scale so while some of what we’re going to do will be radical it’s not going to be a huge leap for us philosophically. Wanna come help us with our cohousing vision? Colorado is gorgeous and Fort Collins is a way cool place to live ;) Our girls could grow up together. we’re also excited to see how a lot of the Mustard Seed stuff shapes our ministry. Do you follow the MSA site at all?Ryan and Christine – you guys read this book right? I think 2 people working closely in ministry would have a hard time relating if one person was challenged by this book and the other was not…would you agree beloved?

  20. Makeesha says:

    beloved: you sound like Sine ;)by the way, I just finished the book – it’s truly brilliant and we’re very excited about making some radical life changes to live this out…fortunately, we already think this way on a smaller scale so while some of what we’re going to do will be radical it’s not going to be a huge leap for us philosophically. Wanna come help us with our cohousing vision? Colorado is gorgeous and Fort Collins is a way cool place to live ;) Our girls could grow up together. we’re also excited to see how a lot of the Mustard Seed stuff shapes our ministry. Do you follow the MSA site at all?Ryan and Christine – you guys read this book right? I think 2 people working closely in ministry would have a hard time relating if one person was challenged by this book and the other was not…would you agree beloved?

  21. The Coreman says:

    You know, believe it or not, Beloved has never twisted my arm to read it. Encouraged, yes, twisted, no. I always knew I was going to read it eventually, but Makeesha, you’ve convinced me to start on it right away.I can’t be left out can I?

  22. The Coreman says:

    You know, believe it or not, Beloved has never twisted my arm to read it. Encouraged, yes, twisted, no. I always knew I was going to read it eventually, but Makeesha, you’ve convinced me to start on it right away.I can’t be left out can I?

  23. Makeesha says:

    you cannot. you must submit. resistance is futile. besides, you wanna be cool don’t you? ;)

  24. Makeesha says:

    you cannot. you must submit. resistance is futile. besides, you wanna be cool don’t you? ;)

  25. Beloved says:

    LOL. Part of the reason i haven’t twisted too hard is that i just got it back from my old pastor a few weeks ago. The other reason is that i felt sorry for him, because the pastor at the church he works at dumped about 8 books on him to read, and i didn’t want to add to his burden! :) A third reason is that i’m re-reading through it again myself. It’s been 3 or 4 years since i’ve read it. And my life has truly been radically changed by what God showed me through that book.Coreman, i recommend buying it for your own personal collection. If i have to buy you one myself i will. :) I may buy one for everyone in the group, as soon as i get everyone copies of “The Cost of Discipleship”.Good stuff. Great God.

  26. Beloved says:

    LOL. Part of the reason i haven’t twisted too hard is that i just got it back from my old pastor a few weeks ago. The other reason is that i felt sorry for him, because the pastor at the church he works at dumped about 8 books on him to read, and i didn’t want to add to his burden! :) A third reason is that i’m re-reading through it again myself. It’s been 3 or 4 years since i’ve read it. And my life has truly been radically changed by what God showed me through that book.Coreman, i recommend buying it for your own personal collection. If i have to buy you one myself i will. :) I may buy one for everyone in the group, as soon as i get everyone copies of “The Cost of Discipleship”.Good stuff. Great God.

  27. Makeesha says:

    oh hey, you might be interested to know. I emailed MSA to ask them if Sine has considered putting out a revised version of the book addressing just the broader principles and removing the time sensitive material…since it was published in 99 and even has y2k stuff in it ;) His wife emailed me back and said he is actually working on just such a book that should be out by the first of next year…just a little scoop for ya.

  28. Makeesha says:

    oh hey, you might be interested to know. I emailed MSA to ask them if Sine has considered putting out a revised version of the book addressing just the broader principles and removing the time sensitive material…since it was published in 99 and even has y2k stuff in it ;) His wife emailed me back and said he is actually working on just such a book that should be out by the first of next year…just a little scoop for ya.

  29. Beloved says:

    Ha ha. Yeah, i remembered that as i started reading it again. Kind of humorous to look back into the mind of a futurist just before Y2K! Although i think he did a pretty excellent job of forecasting what the new millenium would bring (so far), i regret to say.I would seriously like to see what he charges to come out and do a local assessment of center-city Springfield and help us identify the unique challenges and opportunities of this area, so that we can be most effective.

  30. Beloved says:

    Ha ha. Yeah, i remembered that as i started reading it again. Kind of humorous to look back into the mind of a futurist just before Y2K! Although i think he did a pretty excellent job of forecasting what the new millenium would bring (so far), i regret to say.I would seriously like to see what he charges to come out and do a local assessment of center-city Springfield and help us identify the unique challenges and opportunities of this area, so that we can be most effective.

  31. Makeesha says:

    considering that he said in his book that only LARGE churches and organizations can afford him…a lot I’m sure. We are taking his challenge to create a “future panel” very seriously and that will be one of the first things we put together in Revolution.

  32. Makeesha says:

    considering that he said in his book that only LARGE churches and organizations can afford him…a lot I’m sure. We are taking his challenge to create a “future panel” very seriously and that will be one of the first things we put together in Revolution.

  33. shakedust says:

    Do I note a hint of your student government days in your post? :)Your solution is an intriguing idea, and I think a form of it could work, but I have a few qualms with it. I hope you don’t mind me discussing that.First, it essentially nullifies freedom of speech. I know there are campaign rules in place that do the same thing, but the Supreme Court just nullified some of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act based on freedom of speech issues. I cannot imagine this more restrictive solution being implemented.Second, it favors candidates that have a lot of free time on their hands. This would cause difficulty for candidates currently in office (thus, those who have experience with how to run a state or country) and people who are not independently wealthy. This second group of people is the group that I (and I think you) feel are the underrepresented masses, and they will still be the underrepresented masses.Third, it provides newpaper editorial staffs with too much power. Though it is an established practice, I question the ethics of newspapers backing candidates. This is fair due to free speech, but if candidates are so severely limited in how they can communicate to the public, media (and blog) editorials will have much more sway. I think this may become an “out of the frying pan and into the fire” situation regarding audience manipulation.Fourth, I think the campaign financing is a big part of the problem. A random billionaire like a Ross Perot or a Michael Bloomberg could still use their immense personal fortune to make a serious run for President based largely on their personal finances. Sure, they couldn’t buy traditional advertising, but a creative campaign manager should be able to turn enough money into a mountain of votes.

  34. shakedust says:

    Do I note a hint of your student government days in your post? :)Your solution is an intriguing idea, and I think a form of it could work, but I have a few qualms with it. I hope you don’t mind me discussing that.First, it essentially nullifies freedom of speech. I know there are campaign rules in place that do the same thing, but the Supreme Court just nullified some of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act based on freedom of speech issues. I cannot imagine this more restrictive solution being implemented.Second, it favors candidates that have a lot of free time on their hands. This would cause difficulty for candidates currently in office (thus, those who have experience with how to run a state or country) and people who are not independently wealthy. This second group of people is the group that I (and I think you) feel are the underrepresented masses, and they will still be the underrepresented masses.Third, it provides newpaper editorial staffs with too much power. Though it is an established practice, I question the ethics of newspapers backing candidates. This is fair due to free speech, but if candidates are so severely limited in how they can communicate to the public, media (and blog) editorials will have much more sway. I think this may become an “out of the frying pan and into the fire” situation regarding audience manipulation.Fourth, I think the campaign financing is a big part of the problem. A random billionaire like a Ross Perot or a Michael Bloomberg could still use their immense personal fortune to make a serious run for President based largely on their personal finances. Sure, they couldn’t buy traditional advertising, but a creative campaign manager should be able to turn enough money into a mountain of votes.

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