[EM] Conceiving a Democratic Electoral Process

Juho Laatu juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Tue Jul 3 09:58:37 PDT 2012

On 3.7.2012, at 18.22, Fred Gohlke wrote:

> Good Morning, Juho
> re: "But also a system where the govenrment offers web pages for
>     all candidates to freely express their opinions, and where
>     campaign costs are limited to gas for the car of the
>     candidate, could be interpreted as a system that guarantees
>     full freedom of speech to all candidates."
> Are you suggesting that, under such a system, the internet would be the only source of information available to the public?

Yes, the only direct channel in addition to cahdidate herself. Also the media could of write about the candidates and their opinions.

> Would you outlaw political advertising?

Yes, that would be the case in the strictest model.

> Do you believe the media would cease to exist or that the candidates (and parties) would stop using it to sway public opinion?  That seems unlikely.

No, but media should watch out. If they are caught spending money to suopport some specific candidates, they might be punished.

We could have some limitations on what the party affiliated newspapers can do during the election season. On the other hand the party related media might mostly live on government money now since sponsoring is not allowed. Iff they all have the same or proportional amount of money, we might allow also them to advertise their candidates.

We may ban also private sponsoring. But private voluntary work may be be ok.

> Suppose, instead, we start with a broader base of candidates from all groups, partisan and non-partisan.  Suppose the candidates chose the winners from among themselves.  Each would have to find out which of their peers can be trusted to serve their interest before choosing any of them.  Since each of their peers advocate some mix of different interests, each would have to yield a portion of their goals to achieve the rest.

We would have to keep the candiate base very wide and election process very random so that famous an dpowerful candidates don't benefit of their position (and money) too much. Probably we can not fully avoid election of the best known and strongest candidates.

Even if we elect mostly normal people, the sponsoring companies might sponsor them to influence their opinions.

I don't really believe that candidates would genuinely and permanently change their viewpoints and yield a portion of their goals. Also current politicians are good at convincing all voter groups that they agree with just them in all key questions. And of course after the election things may seem a little different. Maybe they can not please all the different groups that they claimed to agree with.

> Such an approach would have a bias toward serving the common interest rather than any special interest or party, would eliminate campaigning and the cost of campaigning, and would ensure that the candidates were carefully examined by people who seek the same public office as themselves.

You can improve some essential aspects of the system. But I'd like to see the complete plan, and preferrably also a real experiment with the system, before I can trus that the system work. It may take some time to find all the possible leaks.

Although I believe that new systems that have not been tested yet are likely to require some adjustments, I do believe that there are also tricks that are likely to improve the political system. Limitations in sponsoring are one such thing in my mind.

> re: in response to my comment that "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.", you said:
>    "As well as in a party-free system."
> First of all, I'm not seeking a 'party-free system'.  I'm trying to conceive a system in which parties do not control government.
> In the second place, the suggestion that domination will occur in a system where parties do not control government is misleading.  The threat of domination I spoke of is the domination of a single party, as we witnessed with National Socialism and Communism.  In a system where control of the government is vested in the people, the 'domination' (if it can be called that) is by the people, not any partisan subset of the people.
> And finally, why must electoral power be vested in parties?  Why should non-partisans be disenfranchised?

My intended message was just that humans in general and organizations too have a tendency to seek power and stick to it and eventually dominate others. Whether we call such interest groups parties or something else does not matter. And it is difficult to avoid formation of such interest groups. Even if we would elect random people to represent us, there might be some other groupings that would be happy to "support" the representatives in their work.


> Fred
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