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User Info: Jacehan

Jacehan
4 weeks ago#1
First, the problems with representative democracy:

1) No voting system exists without some sort of flaw. While Plurality/First Past the Post is particularly bad, every system has some sort of problem. (This has been mathematically proven.) The only system that doesn't is when there are only two options, in which case a simple majority vote works perfectly well. The only types of votes that really only have two options, though, are Yes/No questions. This is what most legislators actually spend their time voting on, though, so at least that part works.

2) Say a candidate wins a district with 51% of the vote. That leaves 49% of the population without someone representing their interests. Heck, even if they win with, say, 80%, it's still a significant minority that is unhappy and unsatisfied. Having multi-member districts can alleviate this somewhat, but it just decreases the amount of people who are not represented, it doesn't eliminate them entirely.

3) Because there are few candidates, the changes of your representative actually representing you and your ideals is pretty low. This is worsened bu the fact that representatives are determined geographically, which may not be the best way to represent a population. Take, say, LGBT people, who are born randomly and uniformly spread out among the general population. They might have issues and values that the larger population around them does not share, and the only way for them to become a significant voting block is to congregate in a small area. (Which we do for other reasons, but it’s still problematic for those that don’t or can’t.) Such a person may be better aligned with a rep from another district, but not be located there.

4) Representative democracy is vulnerable to gerrymandering, which exacerbates the above problems.

5) Even if you elect someone you think aligns with your views, you may find out later that they don’t, and often there is little recourse beyond waiting for the next election several years away.

6) The problems of apportionment mean that different districts are of different sizes, and so each voter may have a different amount of electoral power.
"To truly live, one must first be born." ~ Evan [aX]
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User Info: Jacehan

Jacehan
4 weeks ago#2
If we want votes to be cast based on your actual ideals, we need direct democracy. But that's flawed as well, mainly because it is unrealistic to expect people to be properly informed and invested when they have other jobs. It's also difficult to write legislation unless there are people whose job it is to be legislators. Direct democracy also had logistical problems in the past, but those problems don’t exist thanks to modern communications technology. But I have a proposal for a different system that can exist thanks to that very same communications technology.

I currently called it Direct Democracy with Transferable Votes. The basis is a direct democracy, with everyone able to vote on every piece of legislation on the floor. Let’s say that I’m too busy to read and follow every bit of legislation in the works. However, my friend M is totally into it, and we agree on pretty much everything. What I can do is transfer my vote to M, so that when she votes on a piece of legislation, she counts as 2 votes. (M needs to agree to accept the vote: she can’t be forced, and she can’t transfer my vote on to another person.)

This addresses the problem of people being properly informed, but we still need people whose job it is to legislate. So anyone who managed to have a certain number of votes transferred to them would become a legislator and be given an office and a salary by the government. That cutoff could change based on the current population, but for a US federal position, say something like 300,000 votes (which, in our current system, is enough votes to win a district in some of the smaller districts, and would cap the number of legislators at a little over 1000, though it would likely be fewer.) These legislators can still hire staff and such to actually run the government.

In this way, everyone has a representative that they actually support. And as there are no districts, it’s immune to gerrymandering and apportionment. But what about if you later find out that the person you gave your vote is not who you thought, or they are corrupt, or you change your stance and they don’t? Well, you can just take your vote back and give it to somebody else. It’s essentially the same as not voting for them in the next election, but the system can have a much faster turn around.

It can’t be in real time, because you can have the number of votes a legislator controls fluctuate in the middle of a vote or bargaining or whatever. So say currently the US Congress has 10 periods during the hear when they leave DC and visit with constituents. You could say someone could only transfer their vote during these times, when legislators are not actually meeting.

To also prevent someone from losing legislator status from losing one voter (or worse, bouncing back and forth over the threshold line), you can do something like have a legislator keep their office until they drop below, like, 80% of the threshold.

The actual mechanics for transferring the vote would need to be able to be done remotely, through an encrypted system, but maybe only accessible from physical “polling places” like a post office or library.

Regular elections would still be needed for executive positions, and thus would still have the problems of representative democracy. Not sure how to fix that. (Multi-member executive?)

Thoughts?
"To truly live, one must first be born." ~ Evan [aX]
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(edited 4 weeks ago)

User Info: AdmiralViscen

AdmiralViscen
4 weeks ago#3
It seems like this can’t work in a capitalist economic model. Corporations and individual wealthy power brokers would carpet bomb advertising to push their guy to get the most transferred votes and then continue to f*** up society just like they do right now.

If you scrap capitalism first then I think a lot of the problems of the current system would correct also.

It’s an interesting thought experiment, thanks for posting (and sharing it so I could see it).
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User Info: Jacehan

Jacehan
4 weeks ago#4
But if you're saying that's what they do right now, it's not really saying whether this is a better or worse system. And scrapping capitalism wouldn't solve the inherent mathematical problems with representative democracy. It would solve some of the social problems, sure, but there will always be people who are not being represented in the current system.
"To truly live, one must first be born." ~ Evan [aX]
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The Safe Haven of GameFAQs. (Board 2000083)

User Info: AdmiralViscen

AdmiralViscen
4 weeks ago#5
I think the “donate your vote option to another person” would make it even worse, because people who don’t pay attention would dump votes into whoever they saw on TV instead of just not voting at all. And the formal parties we have now, s*** as they are, at least are some mechanism to winnow down candidates so it isn’t explicitly an Exxon employee literally casting the vote, you know?
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User Info: Jacehan

Jacehan
4 weeks ago#6
Well, I guess you could add the caveat that anyone who reaches the threshold to become a legislator as a job can't have any other jobs. Exxon could try to do, like, microtargeting with their advertising to get several employees to get a bunch of votes but less than the threshold, but that doesn't feel significantly different from just lobbying and advertising about ballot issues in general.

You could also overturn Citizens United so there are limits on how much political spending a person or organization can do.
"To truly live, one must first be born." ~ Evan [aX]
Paper Mario Social:
The Safe Haven of GameFAQs. (Board 2000083)

User Info: AdmiralViscen

AdmiralViscen
4 weeks ago#7
Honestly almost all of this would be solved if the fourth estate actually performed its function, but - you guessed it - capitalism f***ed that too.
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User Info: Jacehan

Jacehan
4 weeks ago#8
True. It still doesn't address some of the inherent flaws, though, just makes things better.

I suppose the system would need some kind of limitations on who can be transferred a vote. If someone is found guilty of a crime, they probably shouldn't be in charge of multiple votes. (They can still have their own vote, because I don't believe in disenfranchising prisoners, but they probably shouldn't have other people's votes.) There might be other mechanisms to "remove people from office" for infractions, as we can see from our current day and age that there are plenty of people who will support corrupt and criminal politicians, so just counting on them removing their support won't quite work.
"To truly live, one must first be born." ~ Evan [aX]
Paper Mario Social:
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User Info: willis5225

willis5225
3 weeks ago#9
This question about semidisenfranchising criminals points to an important feature of any kind of "better mouse trap" system: It should take advantage of the emergence of computational power in order to be more responsive or more granular or more better in whatever way.

(We'll leave aside the MASSIVE and intrinsic security problem with any kind of centralized administration of voting, just because it's a thought experiment, all citizens are spherical frictionless voters, etc.)

This could be as simple as everyone taking a quarterly issues survey (calibrated to local politics, because local politics are still a thing) and giving you some kind of Match.com Compatibility Score or something that utilizes big data to automate government under the thumb of that computer from Fallout 3.
Willis, it seems like every other time you post, I need to look up a word that's in the OED or Urban Dictionary but not both.
-Mimir

User Info: HeyDude

HeyDude
3 weeks ago#10
I really like what all of you have said. I think I want to learn more about EU style "coalition" governments because every time I do a little bit of reading on issues like this, I see that referenced, but I don't know really well what it is.
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