[EM] Conceiving a Democratic Electoral Process

Fred Gohlke fredgohlke at verizon.net
Wed Jul 25 09:35:35 PDT 2012

Good Morning, Juho

re: "In the quoted text I assumed that your question "What would
      you think of letting interest groups (or parties) select
      their most effective advocates to compete with other
      candidates for public office?" referred to candidates that
      are not set by the electors (starting from the most local
      level) but by the parties. In that case I felt that there
      maybe was a need to allow the regular voters to decide
      instead of letting the party nominated candidates make the
      decisions. But maybe that was not your intended scenario."

Thanks, Juho.  I didn't realize you were speaking of nominees set by the 
parties.  Now, after thinking about it in the way you intended, I still 
favor the idea of having the nominees compete with each other to decide 
which ones will be actual candidates for public office.

I'm not speaking of vacuous televised debates where, in a couple of 
hours, fawning interrogators toss softball questions with inadequate 
follow-up, and where nominees try to outdo each other by making phony 
promises in an appeal for public favor.  I'm talking about a real 
competition conducted in open sessions spanning several weeks, where the 
various party nominees can be challenged, not only by each other, but by 
the public and the media; where nominees are pressed when they give 
misleading or obfuscating responses, and where the election occurs on 
the day after the nominees make their final choice of candidates.

In a competition like this, each nominee must try to persuade the other 
nominees to select him or her as the most able candidate.  If they want 
to be chosen, 'Party nominated candidates' will have to commit 
themselves to put the public interest above their party's interest in 
instances where those interests clash, while the competing party 
nominees will miss no opportunity to show how their partisan bias is a 
disservice to the public.

This is not the best solution to the political problems we face, but it 
would be an improvement.  At the very least, it would reduce the deceit 
and obfuscation that characterize political campaigns.  In terms of 
goals for a democratic electoral method, it does not address goals 4, 6 
or 7.  It meets goals 2, 3, 5, 8 and 9, and although it does not meet 
goal 1, it improves on present practice.

1) Parties must not be allowed to control the nomination of
    candidates for public office.

2) The electoral method must not require that candidates spend
    vast sums of money to achieve public office.

3) The electoral method must give the people a way to address
    and resolve contemporary issues.

4) The electoral method must allow every member of the electorate
    to become a candidate and participate in the electoral process
    to the full extent of each individual's desire and ability.

5) The electoral method must ensure that all candidates for
    public office are carefully examined to determine their
    integrity and suitability to serve as advocates for the

6) The electoral method must be repeated frequently (preferably

7) The electoral method must include a means for the electorate
    to recall an elected official.

8) The electoral method must ensure that candidates for public
    office are examined, face-to-face, by people with a vital
    interest in ascertaining their character, and the examiners
    must have enough time to investigate their subject thoroughly.

9) The electoral method must accommodate the fact that parties,
    interest groups, factions and enclaves are a vital part of


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