Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby sardia » Sat Aug 13, 2016 3:08 pm UTC

I was trying to google a related article about a town that let the people vote, debate, discuss etc etc the whole shebang on a few hundred thousand dollars of money. However I was unable to find anything. Anyone hear about it? Regular people were involved, and it was exciting at first, until they they saw the time commitment. Then people started dropping off, and they were having a hard time deciding what to spend money on. The big takeaway is the time commitment is really hard on regular people, but it is very important to get civil engagement up in society. It hints to why you shouldn't do Sortition very much, if at all.

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby elasto » Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:23 pm UTC

sardia wrote:The big takeaway is the time commitment is really hard on regular people, but it is very important to get civil engagement up in society. It hints to why you shouldn't do Sortition very much, if at all.

It's an argument against direct democracy based on volunteerism, but not against sortition for which someone would receive a generous full-time salary.

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby sardia » Mon Aug 15, 2016 2:23 am UTC

elasto wrote:
sardia wrote:The big takeaway is the time commitment is really hard on regular people, but it is very important to get civil engagement up in society. It hints to why you shouldn't do Sortition very much, if at all.

It's an argument against direct democracy based on volunteerism, but not against sortition for which someone would receive a generous full-time salary.

How is this different from civil servants? A wider pool and mandatory?

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:07 pm UTC

First: Civil service makes no pretense at being representative. Sortition is significantly more representative than even elections.

Second: They don't mandate. A civil servant is told, somewhat clearly, what they should try to accomplish. The Jurists would be actively participating or deciding what the government should be trying to do.

Third: Civil service positions tend to be entrenched. That's a fine thing for many positions, but you need a few positions being rotated to keep things honest and diverse.

As for the positions being Mandatory: I'd say maybe, but probably not. At any rate, it should be a decent deal absent any coercion. As I see it, the question of compensation is similar to compensating legislators: You need to do it, you need to do it well enough that you get decent people, and it's a pretty trivial portion of most bodies' budgets.

The point isn't to save any money by drafting people into service, it's just to change which people serve.
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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby Eomund » Thu Aug 18, 2016 5:37 am UTC

I can't say I like the idea of a jury legislature. It sounds like a good idea, but I have some serious concerns about how it works in practice.

One of my big concerns is that there isn't any sort of baseline agreement. For a criminal trial everyone in your jury is going to agree that murder is bad and murderers should be punished. All they have to figure out the facts. With a legislative jury, you could have huge divergence on the underlying principles.

Secondly, who decides what proposals the jury gets to vote on. Whoever chooses this wields a lot of power. They could prevent any proposal they don't like from being seen. Along similar lines, how does the jury make decisions, are proposals given to them and they simply vote yay or nay? Or can they draft and revise bills themselves? I can see large issues with either method.

Third, how do we make sure the jury is representative of the population. It doesn't seem that unlikely that you could get a skewed jury. What if you just get a bunch of extremists who can convince enough other jury members of their views? With a legal trial, you can weed out anyone who is too biased or could be personally affected by a trial. How do you even decide what it means to be biased for a law making jury?

I think juries work great for legal issues but for law making I'll stick with my Parliament.

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby elasto » Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:17 am UTC

Eomund wrote:One of my big concerns is that there isn't any sort of baseline agreement. For a criminal trial everyone in your jury is going to agree that murder is bad and murderers should be punished. All they have to figure out the facts. With a legislative jury, you could have huge divergence on the underlying principles.

How is that different from existing politics? There's enormous philosophical differences between, say, the Green Party, the SNP and UKIP (to use UK examples).

Secondly, who decides what proposals the jury gets to vote on. Whoever chooses this wields a lot of power. They could prevent any proposal they don't like from being seen. Along similar lines, how does the jury make decisions, are proposals given to them and they simply vote yay or nay? Or can they draft and revise bills themselves? I can see large issues with either method.

It depends on whether the jury are The Executive or not.

If they are, they could work out what laws to enact on their own: They decide on a headliner like 'cannabis should be legalized' and the civil service goes away and drafts it up.

(It's not like existing politicians draft the detail contained in thousands of pages of lawmaking either. Every country delegates that task to a professional - and in the case of the UK, proudly apolitical - civil service.)

However, I imagine they wouldn't be The Executive. Personally I envisage them more akin to the House of Lords than the House of Commons - again, to refer back to the UK system.

Third, how do we make sure the jury is representative of the population. It doesn't seem that unlikely that you could get a skewed jury. What if you just get a bunch of extremists who can convince enough other jury members of their views? With a legal trial, you can weed out anyone who is too biased or could be personally affected by a trial. How do you even decide what it means to be biased for a law making jury?

If you make the jury of a decent size - say 500 members, it's unlikely you'll get all EDL supporters or whatever.

There could be some kind of fail-safe in play though - like the general public could have the right to call an early 'general election' if the jurists turn out to be unrepresentative a-holes.

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Thu Aug 18, 2016 5:31 pm UTC

Eomund wrote:Secondly, who decides what proposals the jury gets to vote on. Whoever chooses this wields a lot of power. They could prevent any proposal they don't like from being seen. Along similar lines, how does the jury make decisions, are proposals given to them and they simply vote yay or nay? Or can they draft and revise bills themselves? I can see large issues with either method.
To make things easier to conceptualize, I'll make a concrete proposal. I'm not especially attached to this version, but it can be a lot easier to discuss something specific.
Spoiler:
Modification to the US federal system A:
Acts of legislature have a "summary" and "expansion". Attributes of the expansion can be struck down in court if they are found to be in contradiction of the summary or unrelated to the summary.

The federal legislative Jurists write the summaries of each bill. Recommendations for bills from the representative legislators, executive offices, and high federal courts are permitted, although not enforceable.

The elected legislature will then write the "expansion" of the bills. Before the final bills is passed, the jurists will have the opportunity to reject part or all of the expansion.

The federal jury will be able to impeach representatives and senators with a super majority.

The federal jury will be able to conduct government probes.

The federal Jury can by super majority, in the event of a presidential impeachment, death, or resignation, move the presidential election up to anytime between six months in the future and the next scheduled election.

The federal jury will be composed of 37 individuals and will sit you one calendar year. The Jurists will be appointed by July 1st of the year previous their service. During this time the jurists will have a full range of professional resources and shall otherwise be able study the relevant issues and contact significant political individuals relevant to their upcoming positions.
It doesn't seem that unlikely that you could get a skewed jury.
It really is that unlikely.

I ran some numbers for jury sizes of 23 and 37 , and for 30% minority and a 49% minority, to find the chance that they'd get a simple majority or a super majority.

Code: Select all

            group of 23        group of 37
            majority   super   majority   super
30% group   2.1%       0.01%   0.52%      0.00027%   
49% group   46%        3.8%    45%        1.7%

So under you example we'd get 2.1% risk with a group of 23. Not perfect, certainly, but we're comparing this to a system where congress is 83% male and 47% millionaires. The chance of an 83% male group would be about 0.1% with the 23 group, btw.
Last edited by Quizatzhaderac on Mon Oct 31, 2016 4:56 pm UTC, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby Eomund » Fri Aug 19, 2016 12:56 am UTC

elasto wrote:
Eomund wrote:One of my big concerns is that there isn't any sort of baseline agreement. For a criminal trial everyone in your jury is going to agree that murder is bad and murderers should be punished. All they have to figure out the facts. With a legislative jury, you could have huge divergence on the underlying principles.

How is that different from existing politics? There's enormous philosophical differences between, say, the Green Party, the SNP and UKIP (to use UK examples).

Secondly, who decides what proposals the jury gets to vote on. Whoever chooses this wields a lot of power. They could prevent any proposal they don't like from being seen. Along similar lines, how does the jury make decisions, are proposals given to them and they simply vote yay or nay? Or can they draft and revise bills themselves? I can see large issues with either method.

It depends on whether the jury are The Executive or not.

If they are, they could work out what laws to enact on their own: They decide on a headliner like 'cannabis should be legalized' and the civil service goes away and drafts it up.

(It's not like existing politicians draft the detail contained in thousands of pages of lawmaking either. Every country delegates that task to a professional - and in the case of the UK, proudly apolitical - civil service.)

However, I imagine they wouldn't be The Executive. Personally I envisage them more akin to the House of Lords than the House of Commons - again, to refer back to the UK system.

Third, how do we make sure the jury is representative of the population. It doesn't seem that unlikely that you could get a skewed jury. What if you just get a bunch of extremists who can convince enough other jury members of their views? With a legal trial, you can weed out anyone who is too biased or could be personally affected by a trial. How do you even decide what it means to be biased for a law making jury?

If you make the jury of a decent size - say 500 members, it's unlikely you'll get all EDL supporters or whatever.

There could be some kind of fail-safe in play though - like the general public could have the right to call an early 'general election' if the jurists turn out to be unrepresentative a-holes.


The House of Lords idea has inspired me. Here's what I am thinking now. You have one legislative body that is elected normally (I'll call i the House). Anything that passes that is sent to the jury. Any party with a certain amount of seats in the House can send a representative to argue for or against the bill to the jury. The jury then has some time to deliberate and then they vote.

Quizatzhaderac, I've read your proposal; I need some more time to think it over. I like most of it. The only thing I am not sure about is having the juries draft legislation, even in summary form.

Another concern I have is what to do about people who don't want to be part of a jury. I don't really like the idea of forcing people to be on it. But I don't think I want the juries to only have the people who want to be there because they are more likely to be extremists.

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby elasto » Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:33 am UTC

Eomund wrote:The House of Lords idea has inspired me. Here's what I am thinking now. You have one legislative body that is elected normally (I'll call i the House). Anything that passes that is sent to the jury. Any party with a certain amount of seats in the House can send a representative to argue for or against the bill to the jury. The jury then has some time to deliberate and then they vote.

Yes, that's pretty close to my preferred system. The main thing to decide is do the jury have the power to permanently veto (as with the POTUS) or do they only have the power to stall and embarrass (as with the current HoL).

Another concern I have is what to do about people who don't want to be part of a jury. I don't really like the idea of forcing people to be on it. But I don't think I want the juries to only have the people who want to be there because they are more likely to be extremists.

The answer there is to make it as appealing as possible. eg. It should pay well - say 1.25x the person's current salary or £50k, whichever is the greater - and should come with a decent lifelong pension to compensate for a person's career being stalled.

I think you have to allow people the option to opt out, else they might just sulk or vote contrarian for the sake of it, but you give them every possible reason not to want to opt out. A big part of it would be education: There should be a widespread civic pride in being chosen to represent your country and then serving to the very best of your ability.

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Fri Aug 19, 2016 6:15 pm UTC

Eomund wrote:The only thing I am not sure about is having the juries draft legislation, even in summary form.
Which aspects are you specifically concerned about?
elasto wrote:The main thing to decide is do the jury have the power to permanently veto (as with the POTUS) or do they only have the power to stall and embarrass (as with the current HoL).
If I was going to propose something for the British National government it would be just to dump some in the house of lords, kind of simpler since the HoL is already a mishmash.
It should pay well - say 1.25x the person's current salary or £50k, whichever is the greater - and should come with a decent lifelong pension to compensate for a person's career being stalled.
I would say even more. Maybe the 50K for city/county positions, for the national positions (which involve relocation) something like 250K USD or 150K GBP plus whatever benefits congresspeople/MPs get.
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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby elasto » Fri Aug 19, 2016 8:16 pm UTC

Quizatzhaderac wrote:I would say even more. Maybe the 50K for city/county positions, for the national positions (which involve relocation) something like 250K USD or 150K GBP plus whatever benefits congresspeople/MPs get.

I know we're just throwing numbers around here, but that seems pretty extreme in UK terms; that's even more than the Prime Minister earns...

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Aug 19, 2016 10:16 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Quizatzhaderac wrote:I would say even more. Maybe the 50K for city/county positions, for the national positions (which involve relocation) something like 250K USD or 150K GBP plus whatever benefits congresspeople/MPs get.

I know we're just throwing numbers around here, but that seems pretty extreme in UK terms; that's even more than the Prime Minister earns...
The Prime Minister wants to be there (at least at first, I think it generally starts to pall after a war/riot/referendum or two) and always seem to be saying what a priviledge it would be/is/was to serve. Surely pecuniary reimbursement on top of the ability to take on such a sought-after position is overkill (or treat it like a student loan, and let them pay it back once they are earning above a certain threshhold of post-primeministerial earnings, e.g. from speaking engagements).

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby elasto » Sat Aug 20, 2016 1:17 am UTC

Soupspoon wrote:The Prime Minister wants to be there ... and always seem to be saying what a priviledge it would be/is/was to serve. Surely pecuniary reimbursement on top of the ability to take on such a sought-after position is overkill

I don't buy that argument when it comes to paying nurses/teachers/carers etc. which are similarly vocational occupations - I think they should be well paid because they are important roles for society to have filled by skilled and dedicated people - so for consistency I can't buy that argument when it comes to politicians either.

(Anyhow, as I say, I think this jurist position should also be considered a sought-after and privileged role in society - and therefore, were I to accept your logic, should not pay as much as £150k either...)

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:36 pm UTC

elasto wrote:I know we're just throwing numbers around here, but that seems pretty extreme in UK terms; that's even more than the Prime Minister earns...
It's pretty trivial compared to the budget these organizations control. It's also smaller than the typical total (government + private) incomes of congress people. Also, these are people who didn't ask for the position or to live in the capital.
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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:31 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
elasto wrote:
Quizatzhaderac wrote:I would say even more. Maybe the 50K for city/county positions, for the national positions (which involve relocation) something like 250K USD or 150K GBP plus whatever benefits congresspeople/MPs get.

I know we're just throwing numbers around here, but that seems pretty extreme in UK terms; that's even more than the Prime Minister earns...
The Prime Minister wants to be there (at least at first, I think it generally starts to pall after a war/riot/referendum or two) and always seem to be saying what a priviledge it would be/is/was to serve. Surely pecuniary reimbursement on top of the ability to take on such a sought-after position is overkill (or treat it like a student loan, and let them pay it back once they are earning above a certain threshhold of post-primeministerial earnings, e.g. from speaking engagements).


....this doesn't make sense as a general rule. I would usually prefer we have people who want to do a job in that job, and that financial compensation be roughly commensurate with difficulty of task, not with how much that specific person hates the job.

And of course, the "privilege to serve" stuff is mostly standard political jargon, not anything of meaning.

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby elasto » Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:42 pm UTC

(deleting post cos I misread whose point Tyndmyr was arguing against! :D)

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby ucim » Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:30 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I would usually prefer we have people who want to do a job in that job...
Perhaps not, however, when that job consists of telling people what to do and what not to do. It really depends on how you they frame the job of governance, and how it sits with what the (relevant) public wants out of it. The job looks different from the POV of the one wanting the result, and the one doing the job.

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby elasto » Tue Aug 23, 2016 3:41 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Perhaps not, however, when that job consists of telling people what to do and what not to do. It really depends on how you they frame the job of governance, and how it sits with what the (relevant) public wants out of it. The job looks different from the POV of the one wanting the result, and the one doing the job.

Sure, but ego/vanity etc. can be a big part of many jobs from, I dunno, brain surgeons to fighter pilots.

It basically just means that oversight is required to ensure that even if the person is doing it for the 'wrong reasons', they still do a good job. And we knew that anyway, especially when it comes to politics.

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby arbiteroftruth » Mon Oct 31, 2016 4:36 pm UTC

How about a hybrid system where you have traditional elections, but the candidates available on the ballot are randomly selected? You'd have to offer significant compensation just for being a candidate, since these people are going to undergo public scrutiny, but it seems to me you get the best of both worlds. The random selection avoids getting career politicians and gives you a pretty representative sample of the population, while the election helps reduce the variability in the ideological makeup of the legislature, and biases the legislature toward the more competent candidates.

I'm assuming this would be used for a large legislative body, and not for an executive office. Individual districts might still be voting for one representative (although ideally you'd use STV or something to choose 3 or more per district), but the point is that no single randomly selected member has too much power.

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby elasto » Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:58 pm UTC

An interesting idea, but, realistically, would enough people care to inform themselves about the policies and character of a group of total unknowns?

Voters might go for the best self-publicists rather than the most competent - making it worst than a purely random selection. In fact, I could see it devolving into an X-Factor type vote-off...

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby Thrasymachus » Wed Nov 02, 2016 7:22 pm UTC

Voters might go for the best self-publicists rather than the most competent - making it worst than a purely random selection. In fact, I could see it devolving into an X-Factor type vote-off...
As opposed to our current electoral system, where you've got the best self-publicists who've also got the best connections to monied interests.

I reckon the best advantage of a system of sortition would be that it would eliminate the need for campaigns. It is, after all, the campaigns, and indeed the whole system of selecting candidates for office prior to elections that are the source of most of our systemic political woes. The need to raise money to fund them creates incentives for corruption and favoritism. And the campaigns themselves encourage voters to engage in the basest, most tribalistic and conspiracy-theory-laden thinking, both before and after the election itself. During the campaign, advocates take sides and sling hyperbolic insults and innuendo at one another that gloss over any real policy concerns, and after the election, when one side inevitably wins, the losers engage in cries of the whole thing being systematically corrupt and rigged and are encouraged by their supporters to use any bit of political power they still retain to obstruct and de-legitimize the winners.

The biggest flaws with it seem to be the same as with term limits: You end up with a bunch of neophyte representatives who don't know the process and don't understand the issues, who are at the mercy of career staff and lobbyists to come to understand those issues and processes. And it is perhaps somewhat more likely that you get a few that simply cannot grasp those things, than one would with regular electoral politicians and term limits. A constitutional amendment (and I fear it would have to be a constitutional amendment to get around 1st amendment issues) that forbids any compensation for lobbyists or lobbying consultants would probably be necessary, and would probably be a good idea with or without sortition, as well as a law that is better at finding and preventing quid-pro-quo revolving door "jobs" in the private sector after service, in return for favorable votes during service.

At the end of the day, though, it depends on what's really important in a democracy. If it's important that the government represents the citizenry accurately, passes laws and directs spending according to their actual, every-day values, and contributes to their ongoing improvement as judged by the people themselves, then it's tough to see how campaign-driven electoral democracy can claim to do that, in light of knowing what kind of "rational animal" mankind is, and what kind we aren't. And pretty easy to see how sortition could be better, with a few safeguards in place. But if it's more important that the people feel like they're "part of the process," than it is that the government that results from their participation genuinely reflect their real values (as opposed to their self-ascribed values following months or weeks of intense public conditioning), then electoral democracy is where it's at. And it could easily be that a genuinely demarchic democracy, that is, one which is genuinely representative of its people, is too feeble, too chaotic, and too feckless to survive when competing against a competently organized and purpose-driven oligarchical or dictatorial regimes, and that we really just need electoral politics to provide a veneer of legitimacy and help ensure the benevolence of a more-effective form of oligarchical government.

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby elasto » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:57 am UTC

Thrasymachus wrote:As opposed to our current electoral system, where you've got the best self-publicists who've also got the best connections to monied interests.

I agree completely. Hence why I am in favour of an element of sortition.

I reckon the best advantage of a system of sortition would be that it would eliminate the need for campaigns.

I agree again. The coalition government in the UK made a horrible change in 2010 when they removed the right of the government to call the election and instead moved to fixed-term parliaments.

The purported reason was to remove the built-in advantage that gives to the incumbent government but I never saw that in practice - all governments grow more unpopular over time anyhow. The actual effect will be to lengthen campaigning which means more money needed which means more corporate influence over our political parties...

One of the very best things about UK democracy was that election campaigns only lasted a month instead of the year and a half that US elections seem to go on for...

My own preferred solution would be the election date is decided randomly with minimal notice, so no party has any advantage and all just have to get on with the business of governing.

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby ucim » Mon Nov 07, 2016 12:44 pm UTC

elasto wrote:One of the very best things about UK democracy was that election campaigns only lasted a month instead of the year and a half that US elections seem to go on for...
I used to hate long campaigns too, until this (US) election. Had the campaign been short, we would never have had the opportunity to see Trump's true colors. I will never again complain that campaigns are too long.

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby elasto » Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:33 pm UTC

ucim wrote:I used to hate long campaigns too, until this (US) election. Had the campaign been short, we would never have had the opportunity to see Trump's true colors. I will never again complain that campaigns are too long.

Are you kidding? He was coming out with outrageous racism and misogyny right from the off.

Trump has been entirely consistent from the start right through to now. I don't think he knows any other way to be...

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby Thrasymachus » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:01 pm UTC

In any reasonable sorition-based demarchy, it would be highly unlikely for a Donald Trump to even be considered for the Chief Executive position in the first place. Frankly, it's pretty absurd we have popular elections, even ones filtered and distorted through an Electoral College, to choose that position at all. It's an extraordinarily difficult position requiring levels of expertise and diplomatic prowess that are not only unlikely to be found among the general population, but which the general population is not very good at judging.

As for the lengthy campaign "revealing" how terrible Donald Trump is, that's really irrelevant. The flaw with campaigns is not what they may or may not reveal about the candidates. It's what they do to the citizenry, who are subjected to and polarized by them. It doesn't really matter that this campaign has revealed Trump to be a tax-dodging, child-molesting, misogynistic, racist, homophobic, narcissistic pseudo-billionaire. He's not the first, and he won't be the last either. What matters is that 40% of the country have been encouraged to support and back him in spite of, and in some cases because of those vices. That they have been sold and encouraged to happily buy lies, and treat innuendo as fact. That they pit brother against brother, father against son, mother against daughter, friend against friend, in irreconcilable moral judgement. And now we have people on both sides who regard those on the opposite side as "barely human." The point of a government is to enact the unified political will of the people, but electoral democracy only ever divides, and encourages increasing divisions.

The trouble with shortening the campaign season, by either keeping the election date a surprise until a month beforehand (like that won't be leaked to those with the power to bribe the bureaucrats who organize it), or by forbidding campaigning until a month before the scheduled date (and then what about "free speech" and educational campaigns?) is that the purpose of the campaign is really to inform and motivate the electorate. The shorter the campaign, the less motivated people will be to participate in making the political decision, and the less they'll know about the particulars of the decision they're being asked to make. You might as well be flipping a coin. Sure, you manipulate and propagandize the electorate less, but you end up with a government that's less representative and further isolated from the people and the issues that concern them.

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby elasto » Mon Nov 07, 2016 6:50 pm UTC

Thrasymachus wrote:The trouble with shortening the campaign season, by either keeping the election date a surprise until a month beforehand (like that won't be leaked to those with the power to bribe the bureaucrats who organize it)

There are easy ways to make it leak-proof. For example, The Queen presses a button once a week, and a simple, tamper-proof, true random number generator spits out a number (think like a Powerball Draw). If it's within range she announces there will be an election in one month, else she puts it away until the next week. Can't be leaked if it hasn't even been decided yet.

The shorter the campaign, the less motivated people will be to participate in making the political decision, and the less they'll know about the particulars of the decision they're being asked to make. You might as well be flipping a coin.

I absolutely disagree. For one thing, most people already know day-to-day how they'd vote if there were an election tomorrow (and why). For another, if a month isn't long enough to get yourself informed over the issues of the day, a year won't be either: Either you don't care or you are incapable of doing so.

I disagree profoundly that the UK electorate were less informed than the US electorate up until our constitutional change in 2010.

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby ucim » Mon Nov 07, 2016 7:30 pm UTC

elasto wrote:He was coming out with outrageous racism and misogyny right from the off.
Trump has been entirely consistent from the start right through to now.
True, but it can be ignored for a while since he's {Party} and people support their {Party} candidate. But the longer it went on, the more opportunity he had to demonstrate just how toxic he was, so that even {Party} members eventually distanced them from him. We knew he was terrible, but this gives us a chance to see him double down on it, and double down again.

Like advertising - seeing the message once is enough (in theory), but it's the repetition that gets you into the store.

I this case, the repetition is what got people out of it.

We still know what we know about Trump, but he's kept his mouth shut for a while. His support level has increased so now, instead of a Clinton landslide in the bag, it's on the knife edge and it's quite possible we'll have a President Trump as our Supreme Leader. You could blame it on the email thing, but I think it's mainly Trump shutting up (or being silenced by his handlers).

So yeah, we may have known it before, but it takes a while to sink in.

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby Thrasymachus » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:08 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Thrasymachus wrote:The trouble with shortening the campaign season, by either keeping the election date a surprise until a month beforehand (like that won't be leaked to those with the power to bribe the bureaucrats who organize it)

There are easy ways to make it leak-proof. For example, The Queen presses a button once a week, and a simple, tamper-proof, true random number generator spits out a number (think like a Powerball Draw). If it's within range she announces there will be an election in one month, else she puts it away until the next week. Can't be leaked if it hasn't even been decided yet.
It takes longer than a month to organize a national election in a country the size of the US, and I'd be very surprised if that isn't also the case in the UK. You've got ballots you've got to design and get printed off, or voting machines programmed, polling places that have to get organized and staffed, advertisements send out to all the media outlets so that people even know there's an election going on in the first place, places to organize and monitor the counting and staff to do the counting, and so on. I'd be surprised if even a moderately sized city could get by with only a month's lead time to organize an election, let alone a state or a nation.

The shorter the campaign, the less motivated people will be to participate in making the political decision, and the less they'll know about the particulars of the decision they're being asked to make. You might as well be flipping a coin.

I absolutely disagree. For one thing, most people already know day-to-day how they'd vote if there were an election tomorrow (and why). For another, if a month isn't long enough to get yourself informed over the issues of the day, a year won't be either: Either you don't care or you are incapable of doing so.
No they don't. A little less than two thirds of them know what party they're going to vote for, and that's about as far as it goes, except for a small minority. Insofar as there's any issues or candidates on the ballot, those two-thirds will vote for the party line, and that it's their party's line is all the reason they need or seek. Everything else is after-the-fact rationalizations for supporting the party they've already pre-committed themselves to support. The remaining third mostly don't pay any attention at all except to their co-workers, family and friends when casually talk politics, and generally just tend to join up with whatever the prevailing zeitgeist in their social circle is.

And many of the issues that voters are asked to decide upon are exceedingly complex, to the extent that knowing enough about them to make a genuinely informed decision would take years of dedicated study, or at least relatively unrestricted access to those experts that have done those studies. Everything from the environmental vs economic issues of paving a local road, the impacts of bond measures to fund schools, to when and how to legalize recreational drugs, what sorts of restrictions ought to be placed on elective medical procedures, food and drug safety standards, when, whether and how much of a federal deficit to run, diplomatic and military stances to adopt regarding other national powers, and on and on. Campaigns throw sound-bites at an electorate to ask them to judge candidates and ballot initiatives on issues they have no hope of getting anything like a complete picture on, even with a year of campaigning. Not that campaigns actually inform, even if that is their purpose.

I disagree profoundly that the UK electorate were less informed than the US electorate up until our constitutional change in 2010.

I really don't think there's much difference in how politically informed either electorate really is. If the UK electorate seems more informed, and your politics perhaps a bit more sane (though after Brexit that seems a bit more questionable, doesn't it?), it probably has more to do with your parliamentary system and proportional representation than with the quality of the electorate.

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Nov 08, 2016 2:13 am UTC

Thrasymachus wrote:
elasto wrote:I disagree profoundly that the UK electorate were less informed than the US electorate up until our constitutional change in 2010.

I really don't think there's much difference in how politically informed either electorate really is. If the UK electorate seems more informed, and your politics perhaps a bit more sane (though after Brexit that seems a bit more questionable, doesn't it?), it probably has more to do with your parliamentary system and proportional representation than with the quality of the electorate.

I can't say for sure about being more informed (seems to have gotten worse, recently, or maybe I just care more) but we don't have Proportional Representation in our main national parliamentary system, even if we have it(/had it!) at the European level and I think in all the non-English regional parluements/assemblies/whatever.

(If we'd had PR for the Referendum, it'd be interesting...)

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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby HES » Tue Nov 08, 2016 10:36 am UTC

Soupspoon wrote:(If we'd had PR for the Referendum, it'd be interesting...)

I'm not sure what you mean here, the referendum was a direct vote count. It was only reported by constituency for convenience.
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Re: Sortition (split from 2016 US Presidential Election)

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Nov 08, 2016 3:14 pm UTC

HES wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:(If we'd had PR for the Referendum, it'd be interesting...)

I'm not sure what you mean here, the referendum was a direct vote count. It was only reported by constituency for convenience.

Given it was a two-issue and diametrically-opposed vote there was obviously no reason to have it as PR, and this was really just a little bit of humour.

(But imagine being translated to slightly more than half out of Europe. Not by geography (like Scotland and NI..?), but instead half of the regulations (or only half regulated?), half of the funds, half of the freedoms of movement (both ways, all forms!), half of the environmental commitments, half of the voting power of in the EU parliament, etc... Just to be representative of the vote. Yes, not possible/practical, just a thought experiment.)


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