Cost And Time Consumption

The cost of conducting an election by this method is free to the participants, except for the value of their time, and minimal to the government. The length of time taken to complete an election compares favorably with the time required by campaign-based partisan systems. Even in California, with a voting-eligible population of about 22,000,000, the process would complete in less than 12 levels, or about 230 calendar days.

Bi-Directionality

The process is inherently bi-directional. Because each advancing participant and elected official sits atop a pyramid of known electors, questions on specific issues can easily be transmitted directly to and from the electors for the guidance or instruction of the official. This capability offers those who implement the process a broad scope, ranging from simple polling of constituents to referenda on selected issues and recall of an elected representative.

Harnessing the Pursuit of Self-Interest

The initial phase of the PD process is dominated by participants with little interest in advancing to higher levels. They do not seek public office; they simply wish to pursue their private lives in peace. Thus, the most powerful human dynamic during the first phase (i.e., Level 1 and for some levels thereafter) is a desire by the majority of the participants to select someone who will represent them.

Practical Democracy: How The Process Works

Step 1

Divide the entire electorate into groups of three randomly chosen people.

a) The random grouping mechanism must insure that no two people are assigned to a triad if they served together in a triad in any of the five most recent elections. At the initial level, it must ensure that no two people are assigned to a triad if they are members of the same family.

Practical Democracy: Creating A Bottom-Up Process

Including Everyone

Political systems are always an embodiment of human nature. Since we cannot divorce our political institutions from our own nature, the new machinery to support a democratic political process must harness our nature. It must make the qualities needed to represent the common interest desirable attributes in those who seek political advancement.

Practical Democracy: Thinking Through The Process

When the people of a community are invited to participate in the political process, the media will be reporting that the people are selecting their political leaders and will describe the process. Most people will meet as requested. Some will meet because they are good citizens and some to influence the events in their community. Some will be unwilling to participate but they will not be a great loss. If they have no interest in the welfare of their community, they are unlikely to contribute anything valuable to their peers.

Practical Democracy: Why It's Necessary

Democracy Is Not A Team Sport

Democracy places political power in the people, but the people can be fooled into using their power against themselves. As George Washington warned us in his Farewell Address1, "cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men" were able to "subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government" by encouraging the people to take sides on public issues rather seeking agreement on the best resolution.

Practical Democracy: Obstacles

The realities of life, particularly our economic needs, tend to distract us from serious thought about public concerns. These circumstances have allowed the political infrastructure in the United States to gradually deteriorate until, as Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page1

  • 1. Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page (2014).

Practical Democracy, Government Built On Public Agreement

Abstract

When we speak of government by the people, 'the people' is not an amorphous mass. It is an abundance of individuals: some brilliant, some dull; some good, some bad; some with integrity, some deceitful. To achieve government by the people, we must sift through this diversity to find the individuals with the qualities needed to address and resolve contemporary public concerns.

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