[EM] Conceiving a Democratic Electoral Process

Fred Gohlke fredgohlke at verizon.net
Mon Jul 2 06:08:58 PDT 2012

Good Morning, Juho

re: "To me the question of sponsorship is therefore simply a
      question of how much the elections should be 'one man one
      vote' and how much 'one dollar one vote'."

Since we are "Conceiving a Democratic Electoral Process", our focus here 
is on "one person, one vote".

re: "I see the question of independent selection of candidates to
      be a related but separete problem, since it would exist also
      without sponsorship."

Since we are "Conceiving a Democratic Electoral Process", designing an 
electoral method that lets the people, themselves, select their 
candidates for public office is one of the most fundamental problems we 
must address.  The design must accept, indeed welcome, the healthy 
reality that the people will form interest groups, factions, parties and 
enclaves to advance their particular point of view, but must prevent any 
of those entities gaining control of the government.

re: "At least in theory we could have a political system that
      runs on goverment budget money only."

That can't happen because the donation of private money to support 
political action has been deemed an expression of free speech.  In any 
electoral method that requires vast sums to achieve public office, it 
will be impossible to stop the flow of private money to support partisan 
interests.  Given the adverse effects of campaign-based systems 
described in my June 28th post, it would be best if the electoral method 
were free of these pernicious influences.

re: "The simplest approach is simply to make a law that
      eliminates all unwanted sponsoring."

I disagree.  Not only is such a law impossible to enforce, it is an 
example of condoning an evil and trying to prevent its effect.  It is 
much better to to conceive a system that does not require the 
expenditure of enormous sums, in the first place.

re: "... trying to build a system that implements an ideal system
      at one go, without such radical changes that the counter-
      poison approach represents, may be more risky."

At this point, we're not trying to build it, we're trying to conceive 
it.  Including poison in the concept ensures failure.

re: "I refer e.g. to the soviet system that tried to rule the
      country and even the world by lifting the best persons to
      the top (without allowing opposition that could have acted
      as a counter-poison)."

The 'best persons' you speak of were only best from the point of view of 
the party.  Of course they didn't allow opposition.  As I've said 
before, parties always "seek the power to impose their views on those 
who don't share them."  They don't always succeed, but when they do it's 
catastrophic.  The threat of domination is always present in a 
party-based system.

re: "Also current parties follow this idea that best people will
      rule within the party."

As with the soviet system you mentioned, the 'best people' are only best 
from the party's perspective.  They are not, and, by definition can not 
be, best from the point of view of the community.  Hence, the community 
will always suffer.

re: "It would be nice to have softer systems without the
      controversial and fighting parties, and a system that
      would not be very oligarchic ..."

How can such systems evolve if we lack the intellect and the energy to 
conceive them?  To not make the effort is inexcusable.

re: "One may try to improve the current (maybe multi) party
      based systems so that the harmful effects of sponsoring,
      self-interest and party favourite candidates will
      gradually reduce."

That can't happen for a very fundamental reason, a reason that was 
explained in detail 100 years ago by Robert Michels, when he wrote 
"Political Parties".  You can find the link in a post I made yesterday. 
  I hope you'll read it.  It's fascinating.

re: "This could take place both within the parties, within some
      towns, and at country level. Making the experiments within
      one fragment of the current system may be safer than making
      a full revolution that would allow the new proposed system

While it can't happen in parties, it probably will in some towns.  Small 
communities are the most likely to put advancement of the town's 
interest ahead of partisan interest.  In this connection, you might 
enjoy reading Adversary Democracy, Jane J. Mansbridge, The University of 
Chicago Press, 1980.


More information about the Election-Methods mailing list