[EM] Conceiving a Democratic Electoral Process
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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