elections

Politics and Elections: There Has Got To Be a Better Way

Soon, Americans will go to the polls in their mostly yearly practice of getting interested in the workings of the state, and make a choice which they will have to live with for the next four years or so. In think, in this election especially, the world is watching, reviewing, and in some ways, trying to understand what seems to be an arcane electoral process which was put together over 200 years ago, by different men in different times. Even the dates were picked allowing for the kind of travel at the time – nowadays, why would it take two months for someone to move from wherever they lived to the White House?

The process was designed by the founders to be scalable at the outset – they somehow knew that the only way to make this work was to have the average voter not directly elect the President, but to elect delegates, which would them elect a President on their behalf. This system won out in the election of 2000, where George W. Bush beat out Al Gore in the electoral college, but not in the popular vote. Had we not had the electoral college, Al Gore would have won then – who knows how different the world would be, for better or worse.

The world of politics and elections are filled with these arcane rules, regulations and checks and balances. Some of these are for the better, like the check and balances, there for the specific purpose of not allowing some branches of the state to become more powerful than others, and other were just put in place to deal with the sheer numbers of people voting. The problem is that these arcane rules have served to make some people’s vote simply not count: if you are a blue person living in a red state, or vice versa, what is the point of voting?

It’s 2016, people. The founders could never have imagined that most of us would have in our hands a tool which would make voting crazy simple, results accurate and tabulated instantly. Why can’t we have an official app, keyed to our fingerprint, which allows us to vote once (and only once) when we need to, on the President, every 4 years? Or even better, an app which allows us to replace all of Washington DC, Sacramento (or whichever state capitol you happen to reside in), county and city councils with real democratic voting on issues which pertain to us? Wouldn’t it be awesome if, every day, this app could just simply provide us with a list of “Issues of the Day” from each level of government, and we should just swipe through them, ala Tinder, to decide which we like and which we don’t. As the day ends in each time zone, the results are tabulated, and laws are made.

If something’s bugging you, then post it like you would a Kickstarter or Indiegogo project, and let others agree to have it featured as a vote on the next round. It passes, or is struck down, within 48 hours, and we all get to move on. If you ask me, we now have the tools available to us in order to have truly instant fully democratic, unstealable elections (assuming that you can trust the developers running the system – which can be double blind tested). In fact, in this model we wouldn’t need politicians at all, it would truly be “government for the people by the people”, which is the whole point anyway, right?

Imagine a world in which we didn’t have to fall into this hysteria every 4 years, where elections happened whenever there were issues, and we all had a say which counted. Unfortunately, there is so much money, power, and influence pressuring to keep the status quo, that we simply bring in a few minor electronic conveniences, like electronic voting, which are already being questioned.

Considering how slowly government moves, I doubt that we would ever be able to see this kind of truly pure democracy anywhere, except in a seasteading vision. But it’s nice to think about as we watch people fist fighting, both literally and figuratively, over their choices this year.