The political system in the Union of Everett is a rapidly evolving array of ideologies. Unlike the former United States and its current political system that has remained intact for over two hundred years, Everett's political system has seen the collapse of the American defacto two-party type system and a rise of dozens of smaller, yet intensely popular political activist groups and candidates whom they support. Most notable of the differences between the Union of Everett and the United States, is the collapse of the Republican and Democratic parties within the Union of Everett.
By law, political parties are illegal on the federal level of elections. Candidates running for a federal office are not allowed to form party blocs, which can be used to exclude, attack, fund or lobby candidates. The former U.S. system of political parties, which is common worldwide in Democracies, but the U.S. system in particular, commonly results in intense levels of corruption and forced ideological values (where a member of a party must obey and follow the standards of the party's overall ideology or end up excluded), commonly resulting in candidates being unable to run for an election. This too has formed in the U.S. a defacto two-party system, dividing liberal and conservative voters into party politics and independent candidates and independent voters excluded from vital voting processes and debates.
President Kaitlyn Spencer notably criticized the use of the party system to prevented non-party registered voters (independent voters, third party voters and others) from having a say in the electoral processes of Republican or Democratic candidates during primaries. This party exclusion also prevents Democratic voters from being involved in the Republican candidates during primaries and the Republican voters from being involved in Democrat candidates. As a result, nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population is essentially restricted from having a say in certain portions of election processes. Spencer also criticized the final Presidential debates, which always excluded third-party candidates from the extremely vital debates to swinging public opinions. In the U.S., the Democratic candidate for President and the Republican candidate debate each other on the important issues affecting the country and forcefully excluding any third party candidates from participating, resulting in the defacto two-party system.
With the Everetti system in place, candidates are not able to run on party lines, have full free will of ideology and to state their personal agenda for the position. All voters are legally able to decide on every facet of the election and debates consist of every candidate who insists on running until election day. Voting machines as well keep all candidates listed, to not exclude other candidates, that in the U.S. system, like third-party or no-party affiliation candidates, would not appear on the ballots. As well, without the party system, it erases the need for election Primaries, forcing all candidates, even if they typically agree with each other on the issues, the equal and fair ability to run against one another and all the other candidates.
Common Political Groupings
Although there are no political parties allowed in federal elections, and state parties are not allowed to interfere with federal elections, a variety of like-minded ideological groupings have exploded across the country. The 2013 elections saw 131,775,218 voters turn-out to vote.
- Christian Values - Although smaller than most of the right-leaning ideologies, Christian Values is a political grouping of people who tend to be intensely pro-Christian teachings and are most notable for assaults on gay rights issues and are heavily anti-abortion. Based on a federal census of all registered voters, who answered a questionnaire regarding their personal opinions, approximately 15 million Everetti voters fall into this ideological grouping.
- 2nd Amendment'rs - A common and rapidly growing positive public view towards civilian ownership of firearms and the Second Amendment of the Constitution. 2nd Amendment'rs are considered the largest grouping of voter ideologies in the Union of Everett. 2nd Amendment'rs are pro-gun, most are against assault weapon bans, approve of public carrying of firearms for self defense, and have tendencies to seek laws with strict anti-crime penalties. 2nd Amendment'rs are consider right-wing"ish", holding strong Constitutional values, are anti-war and dislike excessive government involvement in personal matters. Comparable with the Libertarian Party of the United States, the census identifies approximately 80 to 110 million voters but no less than 75 million voters falling into this ideological grouping.
- Gay Rights Supporters - The Gay Rights grouping consists of people identifying as strictly pro-LGB and T equality. Most tend to be non-religious voters, many are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender themselves, or supporting of family members or friends who are LGBT, or support equal protection under the law clauses of the Constitution. Gay Rights Supporters also tend to have affiliations with, are part of, or in someway support human rights organizations, are against racism and commonly highly liberal in their opinions. The census approximates 30 million voters would fall into this ideological grouping.
- Liberal Religious - The largest grouping within right leaning religious ideologies, Liberal Religious are classified as voters who tend to be religious, specifically Christian identifying, who however support LGBT equality and are against discrimination, or view that LGBT matters are not of their concern or none of their business and don't have any reason to fight against it or hold no opinion. Nearly all are still anti-abortion in view. Census data approximates 45 million voters would fall into this ideological grouping.
- Nationalists - Nationalists are individuals who tend to be extremely pro-Everetti sovereignty. Most of them took part or directly supported the separatist movements and secession that followed to form the Union of Everett and states and provinces that later joined the Union. All are gun owners and easily fall into a classification as 2nd Amendment'rs, however, are more-so extremely against government intrusion and anti-United States. In more recent years, this mentality has grown significantly with U.S. aggression towards the Union of Everett, especially after the Sandy Hook and Boston Bombing terrorist attacks. Nationalists can commonly be anti-immigration, particularly from the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe. Census data approximates around 3 million voters would fall into this grouping.
- Mexican Identity - Voters of this grouping tend to be pro-immigration, especially in regards to immigration from Central and South America or the Caribbean. These voters are strongly supportive of being part of the Union of Everett, are against racism and discrimination and commonly supportive of workers rights and unions. Although other ethnicities can fall into this grouping, the vast majority are of Hispanic ethnic background. This grouping tends to overlap into 2nd Amendment'rs, are pro-drug war and tend to also be Liberal Religious. The census approximates 20 to 30 million voters fall into this grouping.
Common Debate Subjects & Controversy
The Union of Everett has been subject to a constant tsunami of political controversy and debates as the new government took form and as a result, laws were repealed, renewed, altered or introduced. The largest controversies that effected the formation of the legal system of the Union has included the Second Amendment and rights of gun ownership, LGBT equality and gay marriage, the abolition of the Federal Reserve, how to deal with the 2008 Recession, the Iraq War and the prohibition of political lobbying.
Political & Electoral Reform
In August of 2003, one of the first executive orders under the Spencer administration was to prohibit soliciting donations or lobbying elected officials. This executive order included designating corporate entities as "not individuals" and therefore prohibited from supporting, endorsing, funding or lobbying candidates for an office. Referred to as "a breeding ground of corruption and the usurping of the democratic process", religious organizations, public corporations, businesses, industries, foreign nationals and for-profit organizations lost the ability to, essentially, "bribe" public policy change. The order became a double edged sword for opponents of the order; supporting it meant the loss of income and funding from corrupt organizations, and condemning it outed corrupted officials who accepted lobbyist bribes as not working for the people, but for the highest bidder. However, many notable corporations did not agree with the order, including several major banks and oil companies.
As part of political reforms, party partisan politics were also prohibited under executive order on the federal level. Political parties such as the Democratic and Republican parties were no longer allowed to maintain their two-party system grip over the political system of the country. The order mandated that candidates run under their own name and views, causing a notable change in voting patterns of Everettis, which in the United States was based solely on the red versus blue ideological system. While the Republican and Democratic parties both officially condemned their banishment from the federal level of politics, third party parties strongly supported it, as did the independent voters and libertarian-minded voters of the Union.
Among the original fifteen states of the Union, it was agreed that the United States style of Electoral College would be abolished and become based on the popular vote system. This voting system was mandated to take effect nationwide, not only on the federal level like the party ban.
Human Rights & Equality
Still controversial today, the equal rights of women and of homosexuals and transgender citizens has been hotly debated since the passing of ENDA in April of 2004. ENDA acts as a fully encompassing anti-discrimination law, which included bans on discrimination against individuals based on sex, race, age, ethnicity, medical status, gender identity, sexual orientation, lawful immigrants, military servicemen and religion. Conservative Christian groups are most notable for continuing to fight against "marriage equality", a phrase representing gay marriage. Following the outing of President Spencer herself as a homosexual woman, controversy regarding LGBT rights was re-sparked with right wing condemnation against having a homosexual in government office. However, the vast majority of Everettis either support gay rights, having a lesbian President or are merely indifferent to LGBT rights movements.
Laws exist that prohibit unequal pay for equal work in regards to female employees. Under federal law, women are protected from being paid less for the same job under the same circumstances. A small minority did complain about this law, making a small controversy over having to pay equal wages to females and the alleged effects it would have on the finances of businesses. Feminist movements commonly called out opponents as using the excuse to cover for their traditionalist sexism against female employment.
Gun control is a slowly dying controversial topic effecting the Union of Everett. Between 2003 and 2014, gun rights had expanded on a federally mandated level, forcing Constitutional preemption, essentially repealing and voiding all state, county and municipal gun regulation laws or ordinances. In the first several years, the expansion of gun rights and the decay of regulation and bans had been a major fight between pro-gun and anti-gun organizations. Notable groups that still into 2014 advocate gun bans and regulation, such as Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense and Mayors Against Illegal Guns have suffered multitudes of losses in court cases in recent years in both the Union of Everett and the United States. The increase of public support from the Everetti President herself, who is known to support the 2nd Amendment and pro-gun groups like the NRA, has caused a change in the public's common view of firearms ownership, including so-called assault weapons. President Spencer is attributed to playing a large role in changing the public's view of gun ownership, commonly taking part in informed debates with anti-2nd Amendment figures. Between 2010 and 2014, support of full private gun ownership, including assault weapons and carrying rights rose to nearly 70% of the voting population. In the past year since the Sandy Hook massacre alone, which was outed as a U.S. act of terrorism in 2013, full support of the 2nd Amendment rose from 55% in 2012 to 70% of the voting population by 2014.
The death penalty is a commonly still debated issue in the Union. It is federally lawful in all states to execute violent offenders, classified as "level one" offenders, who are convicted of murder, rape, sex slave trafficking, terrorism, child molestation or production of child pornography. The controversy is most commonly based on the claimed possibility that an innocent person could be wrongly convicted of a crime and then executed. While this has happened in the past, the Union of Everett maintains strict guidelines on detailed investigations and the use of the latest forensic technology available to ensure proper convictions. Laws allow for the federal government to provide forensic and investigatory assistance to departments or agencies that lack funding for proper investigations into violent offenses. Although the death penalty is lawful nationwide, it is used on an uncommon basis, saved particularly for the most heinous violent acts. Discussion continues to exist on the executive and judicial levels of the federal government on abolishing the death penalty entirely.
Defense From Police Brutality
In March of 2014, a federal law was passed authorizing citizens to use deadly force against police officers committing acts of brutality or warrantless activities that violate the rights or safety of innocent and law-abiding citizens. Following the the concept of a court case turned law in the state of Indiana, the federal government, in light of increasingly common brutal police violence against innocent civilians, passed a self defense against police law. Dozens of police unions and other law enforcement organizations lashed out at the law, condemning it as making it legal to murder police officers doing their job. However, the President herself stood strong for the law, claiming "too many so-called law enforcers are committing, and getting away with, heinous acts of violence against the innocent". Civil rights groups stand with the new law, citing a growing statistical fad of police officers murdering individuals in their own homes and murdering their pets. Several provisions of the law are condemned by law enforcement representatives and union leaders, including the requirement for officers to wear body cameras and have gun cameras, the legalization for civilians to use force against officers engaging in warrantless acts, and the legalization of civilians to kill officers for alleged brutality.
Bathroom Bill Controversy
The "Bathroom Bill" controversy revolves around the issue of transgender rights regarding the use of public restrooms and locker rooms by transgender individuals. Although the Everetti Non-Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination against people on the basis of their "gender identity" in regards to most public accommodations, public restroom use is not included in the law. The controversy stems from conservative based fears that transgender bathroom bills would allow "men to slap on a dress to be allowed to enter women's restrooms or locker rooms to spy on females". However, transsexual rights activists point towards the issue of individuals undergoing medical or surgical operations to become the opposite sex should have the right to access public restrooms, which under current laws, makes using public accommodations both dangerous and possibly illegal, while depriving humans the right to relieve themselves.
Some states, both in the Union of Everett and the United States have passed bathroom bill laws, such as Tennessee and Arizona, which prohibit transgender individuals from using the restrooms of their gender identity. Other states have passed laws though, allowing transgender individuals to use public restrooms of the gender they identify as, including Pennsylvania, Ontario and New York. Several municipalities have also passed ordinances allowing bathroom use, including Everett City, New York City, Philadelphia, Toronto and Boston. The federal government has been deeply divided for some years on the issue. President Spencer has claimed that transsexuals should have the right to safely use public restrooms and legally, however, agrees with some politicians that there needs to be a definitive line as to what or who constitutes a "transsexual" and therefore, lawfully allowed to use the public restroom of their gender identity.
National Media Rating Commission Censorship
The Union of Everett federal government Department of Communications & Internet Services is the superior department of the Office for the National Media Rating Commission. Controversy often revolves around the NMRC's bureaucratic use of federal entertainment and media ratings guidelines, which affects the public availability of certain media releases, which primarily includes music, movies, television shows and video games. The primary opponent of NMRC authority to rate and therefore designate the availability of media is the entertainment industry, including several major Hollywood companies and agencies and their representatives. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), have been the forefront opponents of the Everetti rating system.
The NMRC rating guidelines allow the NMRC officials to designate the rating of a production and therefore, based on its content, a rating may force certain restrictions on the production's release to the public. Most commonly, movies and video games can receive ratings of XR and Ao respectively, (Extremely Restricted and Adults Only), which limits the lawful audience or lawful purchase of such a production to adults only, which under the federal government are people the age of 18 years or older. However, controversy and upset among media producers has focused on music releases from the United States. Musicians such as Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga have suffered "RC" ratings on their recent albums, which in the Union of Everett, restricts the sale of such musical content to be sold only in adults-only businesses or strict online purchases requiring age verification. While the RIAA and MPAA have both launched suits in federal courts regarding the restricted content ratings, officials have claimed the adult-access only ratings are in place on certain content because the content contains "explicit sexual conduct, promotes use of illegal and deadly narcotics or contains content promoting or glorifying violence", which "should not be accessible to children".
Three federal courts have dismissed RIAA cases regarding music ratings on the basis that music releases and products are not "directly censored or prohibited" because "adults may easily access and purchase such restricted content products in any adults-only retail business".