TheOtherLeft
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TheOtherLeft

We need a new government

Starting the changes to make this work again

We need new governance. The old style of government is very broken in the US and crippled most everywhere. It has been obvious since November 2016 that the US is the worst case and may not survive the failed federal election. The effects of that election has led to a year of rapid decline and the loss of planetary leadership by the US. You simply can’t have what was the leading nation taken over by a highly questionable candidate elected in new and very questionable conditions. The expected disaster has not disappointed and has, if anything, been worse than people feared. Failure to replace Trump and his cohort and to address the structural problems that produced an invalid and incompetent regime in Washington DC may have already doomed the nation.

But the point here is to look to the future and to possible ways to replace the existing mechanisms of electing parliamentary, partially representative governments. This has been a growing concern for decades in the US. The loss of the majority of eligible adult voters creating governments elected by 20–30% of the population is not workable. Combining this with the complexity of 21st century government issues and the elimination of citizenship training in public schools leaves a dangerously uninformed electorate. This is the stuff that authoritarian despots breed upon and the rise of even an incompetent such as Trump shows that danger.

Old assumptions

The solutions are readily at hand but are complicated by assumptions about the nature of elections and centuries of racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and corruption in all of its forms. As national surveys have consistently shown, the majority of the US population wants what most all other post industrial and even late industrial countries have. In short that is an equivalent of Scandinavian type nation state. While this is not a clear answer and not even a good representation of Sweden, Norway or Denmark as examples it is approximate and totally denied by the existing US power structure. While most European countries have the basic services and active governments that are hopelessly desired by most Americans, the limitations of the existing systems in those countries are well recognized with growing concern for the growth of neofascism in its various forms. In short they are better than the US but not the answer for the future.

The solutions mentioned above are being discussed with greater degrees of detail and a growing awareness of the need for action quickly. If no action is taken against Trump and the current regime before summer, and reliance on Mueller and the formal investigation into electoral illegality is a thin support for hope, the odds of anything other than a reenactment of 2016 in 2018 are small. Nothing has been done to correct or prevent the types of abuses used to create a questionable government. And that government has show no interest in doing anything but pulling all the levers of power at its disposal to ensure that is permanent. Congress is so corrupted by gerrymandered districts and outright ownership of representatives and senators that there is a near complete vote of no confidence. At this point the 2018 election appears to be an excellent example of doing the exact same things and expecting a completely different outcome.

A new way to vote

The answer is obviously in changing the nature of voting as well as the process of voting. We must move to a direct vote for all federal positions with no gerrymandering. This will require removal of the traditionally accepted weighting to rural voters by discounting urban votes as well as the obviously illegal gerrymandering. Probably the most basic solution is a voting district of a fixed number of voters e.g. 10,000 that may be only a couple of urban blocks or an entire rural county. This is not an issue as the voting needs to be done online with all citizens automatically registered and counted. Needless to say voting is a duty that is legally required. This would solve most of the current problems producing grossly distorted voting and representation. We will deal with the considerations and problems of this a little later.

Knowledgeable Voting

Requiring knowledge in order to make a reasoned selection on the basis of policy is a far bigger problem. One reasonable way to do this is by weighting votes based on education or knowledge. My preference is offering a elementary citizenship test including basic political structure and civic components in order to double your vote. The basic vote is for all citizens no mater what level of knowledge or formal education. Those that chose to take and pass the basic citizenship exam would gain an additional vote. The argument for this goes all the way back to Plato and is obviously even more important now.

The problems that we have had up to now have been based on the difficulty of preventing hacked voting and guaranteeing the identity of each voter. That can now be taken care with the permanent decentralized recording of the results using blockchain technology. This may require two blockchain ledgers with one for the permanent record of voting by the individual and the other recording the selections made. With voting required each citizen must have a voting record or an official waver. The selections should balance against the votes cast. This would require the addition of a no selection vote, or “none of the above” as has been discussed for many years. This should improve the audit and limit any type of rigging.

A common argument against electronic voting is the presence of people without knowledge of Internet systems or access to them. Since voting is online with automatic registration this could be handles by using official tutors or assistants for people with limited ability as basic voters.

Voting or what?

The nature of the electoral system is a much more difficult question. Initially I expect we would start from the existing concept of representatives although I think that direct democracy is now possible and, in fact, desirable. The use of blockchain transaction/contracts online removes many of the problems. All Congressional representatives would have the same equivalent number of possible votes. A logical move would be to introduce proportionate voting if representatives are still selected making the House of Representative much more parliamentary. This would remove the dead weight of the failed two party structure and place the emphasis on policy packages supported by weighted voting.

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Exploring change past, present, and future . . .

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Mike Meyer

Mike Meyer

Educator, CIO, retired entrepreneur, grandfather with occasional fits of humor in the midst of disaster. . .

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