[EM] Conceiving a Democratic Electoral Process

Juho Laatu juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Jul 25 12:31:05 PDT 2012

On 25.7.2012, at 19.35, Fred Gohlke wrote:

> 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.

Ok, two phases then. One to elect the party candidates (by voters, by party members, or by nominees?) and then the final election.

The proportions may be manageable if there are e.g. 1,000,000 voters, 10 parties, 1000 nominees per party, that elect 10 candidates per party. I wonder if you want some proportionality (e.g. betwee two wings of a party) or not. That would influence also the first phase.

> 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.

If the second phase is a traditional election, traditional financing practices may apply.


> 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
>   people.
> 6) The electoral method must be repeated frequently (preferably
>   annually).
> 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
>   society.
> Fred
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