[EM] Conceiving a Democratic Electoral Process

Michael Ossipoff email9648742 at gmail.com
Sun Jul 1 12:15:49 PDT 2012


On Sun, Jul 1, 2012 at 9:38 AM, Fred Gohlke <fredgohlke at verizon.net> wrote:
You said:

> Mike Ossipoff:
> re: "...including ones whose proposals and procedures are
>      democratic."  (posted in response to: "My comment was not
>      referring to democracies, it was referring to parties")
> Parties are not democratic, either in relation to the entire electorate


It's ridiculous to suggest that a political party should represent the
entire electorate. A political party is a collection of people who share
some particular set or system of policy proposals. A party represents the
views of its members. If the party is genuinely democratic among its
membership (some are), and if its members care about the well being of the
entire population, then that concern will be reflected in the party's
platform. ...just as it is in the platform of an independent candidate who
cares about the well being of the entire population.

You continued:

or in relation to their own membership.


A sloppy, overbroad generalization. Some parties choose their convention
delegates by a democratic vote, and write their platforms via a democratic
procedure at their convention, among their elected delegates. They likewise
choose their candidates by democratic voting among their delegates.

You continued:

In terms of the entire electorate, they are but a subset of the people,
organized to impose their will on the majority.


You don't listen very well, do you, Fred.

Recommendation: More listening, less repetition of already-answered

Every independent candidate, and every party, has a set of policy
proposals, usually referred to as a "platform". Those proposals specify or
imply certain laws, or certain kinds of laws, or laws that will achieve
some specified effect. A law is an imposition of the public's collective
will upon all individuals. In a dictatorship,an oligarchy, a plutocracy,
etc., those laws might not represent the public will in a meaningful sense.
But in a democracy they do. It's a matter of how we make the laws, or how
we choose the people who make the laws, that determines whether or not we
have a democracy.

You called it a "slur", when I said that what you really oppose is
government itself. No, it isn't a slur; it's just a fact. You keep ranting
about imposition of some people's will upon others. That's what government
does. It's called "laws". If you don't like that, you're an anarchist. I
don't criticize you for being an anarchist. But at least have enough
honesty to say so.

You quote some author, probably the one from whom you got your ideas.
Sorry, but the fact that someone said it in a book doesn't make it so.
Quoting the author whom you're repeating doesn't help toward justifying
what you're saying.

You said:

In terms of their membership, they are oligarchic.  They exhibit The Iron
Rule of Oligarchy as described by Robert Michels.  You can find his
fascinating study of the issue, Political Parties


Any set of people fully have a right to meet, and find out if they have the
same policy goals. And, if they do, then they have a right to work together
to publicize their proposals, and to iron out the differences among their
individual policy details, by compromising, &/or by discussing which policy
details are best.They do that so that they can work together, combining
their resources and voices. So that they can show the rest of the public
that there is a large set of people who agree on certain policies, as
specified in their platform. That isn't bad, Fred.

re: "It isn't the job of the electoral method to choose who will

>      run, or to seek out candidates.  We ourselves, the public,
>      the voters, should be the ones to decide who our best
>      advocates are."
> You are correct when you say, "We ourselves, the public, the voters,
> should be the ones to decide who our best advocates are."  You are wrong
> when you say it is not the job of the electoral method to ensure that
> happens.  The electoral method must ensure that each and every one of us is
> able to participate in the electoral process, including the selection of
> candidates, to the full extent of our desire and ability.

No one is preventing you from choosing for yourself which candidate(s) you
like best. Well, of course maybe the media make that difficult for you if
they systematically promote one policy system and exclude mention of
anything else. Media distortion and deception are detrimental to your
ability to make good choices. That's why I've suggested that it would be
better if, in some way, media availability were in proportion to public
support, so that the various policy positions would gradually reach their
rightful equilibrium media share.

But, as for the electoral system itself, its job is to give you a fair
chance to express what you like &/or want, and fairly take it into account
in the social choices that it makes. If it does that well, then it will
also show you what others like &/or want. But, other than that, its job is
not to help you make your choices about what you prefer. That part is up to

You could, and probably will, dither forever about "How can we find a
system that will ensure that we choose well?". That's ok. You can post
anything here.

You said:

When the electoral method lets the parties pick the candidates the people
will be allowed to choose from, it is not only undemocratic, it's dangerous.


You're expressing an anti-democratic, totalitarian, sentiment.

You want the electoral system to forbid a group of people from assembling,
to choose what candidate(s) they, as a group, will support and campaign
for. You have a very strange notion of what democracy is.

A party does _NOT_ pick the candidates the people will be allowed to choose
from. (But our media of course try to do that). A group of people
comprising a party merely pick which candidates they, as a group, choose to
endorse, support, and campaign for. Most people would agree that that is
their right. You're in the minority there.

What you keep missing, though I've explained it to you two or three times
PARTY._ Did you get that? Need I say it again?

If you hate parties, then I recommend that you vote for independents. No,
that isn't "the height of futility".    ...unless you're the only one who
likes your independent. If that's the case, then don't try to blame your
independent's lack of popularity on parties. Maybe you should blame it on
your choice of independents.

You quoted me:

re: "...but which you feel are somehow like Stalin and Hitler."

>     "you need to understand and admit that what you really are
>      opposed to is is government itself."
>    and
>     "Yeah, that's what the Democrats say too  :-)   And the
>      Republicans too."
>    and
>     the various and sundry similar slurs strewn throughout
>     your post.
> and said:

> These slurs are tiresome, and the deliberate misconstructions of my
> comments are tedious.

I didn't misconstrue what you said. I've  already explained my statement
that you're opposed to government itself. And my other statement is
obviously true too: You say that you want to "empower the people". The
Democrats and Republicans say that too. So what makes you different from
them when you say it?

Sorry, but I can't help you with your obsession about parties. I've helped
you all I can in this discussion.

Mike Ossipoff
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