US citizens have every reason to change the electoral system so it will better represent the people and work for satisfaction of their needs. A big question is how to achieve a more democratic system, since we are not in power to start with.
How about, start a coalition of organizations to run shadow elections for all State- and Federal-level elective offices?
The member organizations of the coalition could be pro-democratic-republic groups (i. e., groups that advocate for a republic, but a more democratic kind of republic than the 1787 regime), pro-democracy groups that are willing to help form a democratic republic as what they would see as an intermediate step in the right direction, peace and justice groups, political parties, and advocacy groups who realise that what they are advocating is unobtainable without first instituting democracy or at least a more democratic republic.
The shadow elections would would be run over the Internet.
The shadow elections would use a voting system that allows the voter to give more information than the plurality election system so widely used currently in the US. There is room for discussion about what system to use exactly. Score voting systems (also called range voting systems),
or perhaps ranked voting systems, might be worth considering.
Once the information-processing aspects of the shadow election system are drafted and tested, effort would shift toward publicity and getting as many US eligible voters as possible to participate. After there is a critical mass of participation, we can ask the people who voted for each shadow winner to sign petitions to get that shadow winner into the legal election in the relevant State or States or district. Well-intentioned voters would then vote in the legal election for the winner of the shadow election, and so in many cases maybe the shadow winner would get elected to the office in the legal election. Ideally, the voters would view the results of the shadow election as predicting the behavior of other voters in the legal election. Their viewing them that way might dispel the fear of a worse candidate winning the plurality election because of the opposition votes being split between two or more better candidates.
Once we get sufficient count of pro-democratic-republic and pro-democratic candidates (not pro “Democratic Party”) into all State legislatures and into the US House and Senate, we can get the election laws changed so the shadow elections will no longer be necessary.
The logistics and software design of the shadow election should be guided by the paper “Electronic Voting: An All-Purpose Platform” (PDF) by Ricardo André Costa, Mário Jorge Leitão, and Isidro Vila Verde so that anyone can check the vote count, and privacy of voters can be preserved.
Once the country that I live in has a democratic voting system, then it will be possible for me to argue to my fellow citizens for the end of torture and aggressive war, and my listeners will be able to take an interest in the issues on grounds that, among other grounds, they will have the power to do something about them. Until then, it is hard to draw much attention to policy matters from people who know that they have no power. Why would anyone listen to repeated harangues about matters about which they cannot do anything?
Once the electoral environment includes the shadow elections and they become popular, I can see the environment supporting at least two very distinct types of political party:
- A party of pretty much the traditional type could organize around agreement on one or more values. For example, the Green party emphasizes conservation. These parties could have platforms and could endorse candidates.
- Parties of a type that I suggest to call “Blank”, Blank Parties, could be established in all the States. A blank party would never adopt a platform nor endorse any candidates (prior to said candidates winning shadow elections). It would not espouse any particular values about governmental policy or law, other than concerning elections and other mechanisms related to democracy. It would try to get itself on the ballots for all offices voted on in the State in which it is organized. It would commit to run as its candidates, the winners of the shadow elections, and no one else. Blank parties would be registered with the coalition running the shadow elections and there would never be more than one in a given State. They could be named such as Blank Party of New Jersey, Blank Party of Virginia, and so on. The point of having blank parties is that they could start work to get on the ballots before it is known who shall win the shadow elections. AmericansElect demonstrated that this can be done.
The by-laws of the coalition for shadow elections should provide that parties that are members must exhibit internal democracy up to some level that can be determined either by objective criteria to be voted on for the coalition, or perhaps by surviving any challenge from the other parties members to be voted on by all such parties. There should be ultimately a way to deny voting status to parties that don’t exhibit internal democracy. Alternatively, the policies and actions of the coalition could be determined by individuals instead of through the politics internal to each party. In that case, lack of democracy internal to a member party would not be of concern for democracy of the coalition.
Appendix — Blurb with Link
Before US citizens can care about policy, they must have grounds to believe they can influence it. Let’s make it so. http://wp.me/p23U97-8w