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Debates Forum

  1. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    07 Aug '09 11:40
    This is a variant of an idea I proposed in another thread. Namely, to bring direct democracy to Congress.

    The Senate remains the same, with the people electing two Senators per state.

    The House of Representatives, however, introduces a proportion of direct democracy to its voting process. There are 435 seats in the House. My plan would reduce the number of House members by 5% (22 seats) and give those votes directly to the people. Any registered voter who is interested could set up an online voting account and subsequently vote on any pending legislation that comes before the House. The 22 votes that are assigned to the people are then broken down proportionally according to the vote totals (if 60% of the people vote 'yea' on something, the 'yeas' get 13 votes and the 'nays' get 9). Those totals are then added to the normal 413 House votes to determine if that particular piece of legislation passes.

    If the process works out well enough, then in ten years you could increase the popular vote to 10% (391 House members and 44 votes assigned to the people). You could keep increasing the popular vote by 5% every ten years and after 100 years the people would be directly responsible for 50% of the votes in the House (217 House members and 218 votes assigned to the people).

    Any takers?
  2. 07 Aug '09 11:49
    It doesn't work for the same reason as direct democracy in California doesn't work - it will be infested with lobby groups.

    The US does not need direct democracy, it needs proportional representation.
  3. Standard member Seitse
    Doug Stanhope
    07 Aug '09 11:59 / 2 edits
    Why not keep it the way it is? It works marvelously.

    That is: to make oversimplified and biased opinion polls, and then do (in a way) what the people think they fancy.

    If what they fancy goes against the big benefactors of the system as it is, then you bomb TV, internet, and newspaper with biased or blatantly false information in order to shake the opinion polls the desired way.

    If that fails, then you create zillion TV shows, products, and happenings to dumb up people and convert them in politically uninvolved, oversimplified & fat* leisure zombies.

    If a group still refuses to be sheepish, then you invent false enemies (illegal Mexicans, Islamic terrorists, etc.) so the critical ones are seen by the majority as traitors to the motherland. Also works to feed people the belief that 'true freedom' is to choose the color of your skateboard, pimp your ride, or the extreme stuff. MTV style.

    After all, politics are as professional, serious, and respectable as a beauty pageant.

    * dig this! http://orlando.bizjournals.com/orlando/stories/2000/01/31/editorial2.html
  4. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    07 Aug '09 12:02
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    It doesn't work for the same reason as direct democracy in California doesn't work - it will be infested with lobby groups.

    The US does not need direct democracy, it needs proportional representation.
    How would it be infested by lobby groups? I say it would be immune to lobby groups. It would be much more difficult to bribe millions of voters than a few key Representatives.

    Proportional representation would be good too, but that's the subject for another thread (which I did a while ago).
  5. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    07 Aug '09 12:08
    Originally posted by Seitse
    Why not keep it the way it is? It works marvelously.

    That is: to make oversimplified and biased opinion polls, and then do (in a way) what the people think they fancy.

    If what they fancy goes against the big benefactors of the system as it is, then you bomb TV, internet, and newspaper with biased or blatantly false information in order to shake the opi ...[text shortened]...
    * dig this! http://orlando.bizjournals.com/orlando/stories/2000/01/31/editorial2.html
    Fortunately, I am not cynical enough to think the people are incapable of making informed choices.

    The reason people appear stupid now is because the system expects nothing from them. And so it gets nothing in return. But if people are raised in a culture where their votes actually mean something, then I think they will respond by casting meaningful votes.
  6. 07 Aug '09 12:09
    Originally posted by rwingett
    How would it be infested by lobby groups? I say it would be immune to lobby groups. It would be much more difficult to bribe millions of voters than a few key Representatives.

    Proportional representation would be good too, but that's the subject for another thread (which I did a while ago).
    In the same way as it works in California: lobby groups attempt to influence voters.
  7. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    07 Aug '09 12:19
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    In the same way as it works in California: lobby groups attempt to influence voters.
    Lobby group attempt to influence House members now, so what's the difference? I say it would be more difficult to directly influence millions of voters than it would be for 435 House members. Just repeating the word 'California' does nothing to dissuade me from that opinion.
  8. Standard member Seitse
    Doug Stanhope
    07 Aug '09 12:36 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by rwingett
    It would be much more difficult to bribe millions of voters
    You don't need to bribe them, dude.

    All you need is to dumb up the population, so the probability of getting functionally thinking people participating in the system is the smallest possible.
  9. Standard member Seitse
    Doug Stanhope
    07 Aug '09 12:40
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Fortunately, I am not cynical enough to think the people are incapable of making informed choices.

    The reason people appear stupid now is because the system expects nothing from them. And so it gets nothing in return. But if people are raised in a culture where their votes actually mean something, then I think they will respond by casting meaningful votes.
    Bingo.

    So, can we conclude that your idea is viable only after creating the conditions and institutions (i.e. in the broader sense) of a culture like the one you define?

    Right now, it'd be sad and a waste of a good idea (like yours) to throw filet mignon to the pigs, so to speak.
  10. 07 Aug '09 12:46
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Lobby group attempt to influence House members now, so what's the difference? I say it would be more difficult to directly influence millions of voters than it would be for 435 House members. Just repeating the word 'California' does nothing to dissuade me from that opinion.
    Well, I don't know. Of course corruption is much more of an issue in the US than in most other modern industrialized nations (except for Italy, maybe), but that can be tackled in other ways. For starters, by banning private funding of election campaigns.
  11. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    07 Aug '09 12:55 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Seitse
    Bingo.

    So, can we conclude that your idea is viable only after creating the conditions and institutions (i.e. in the broader sense) of a culture like the one you define?

    Right now, it'd be sad and a waste of a good idea (like yours) to throw filet mignon to the pigs, so to speak.
    That's why I start with only 5%. Presumably a more civic minded citizenry can subsequently be brought into being. In the ten years it takes to go up to 10% a whole new generation of voters will have come of age. A generation raised in the expectation of wielding voting power.
  12. Standard member Seitse
    Doug Stanhope
    07 Aug '09 12:56
    Originally posted by rwingett
    That's why I start with only 5%. Presumably a more civic minded citizenry can be subsequently be brought into being. In the ten years it takes to go up to 10% a whole new generation of voters will have come of age. A generation raised in the expectation of wielding voting power.
    Chomsky would be proud of you.
  13. Donation rwingett
    Ming the Merciless
    07 Aug '09 12:59
    Originally posted by Seitse
    Chomsky would be proud of you.
    The thought brings a tear of joy to my eye.