Political parties are top-down arrangements that are important for the principals, the party leaders, financiers, candidates and elected officials, but the significance diminishes rapidly as the distance from the center of power grows. Most people are on the periphery, remote from the centers of power. They have little or no influence, as shown by Gilens and Page.1

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


Few things in life are more predictable than the chances of an incumbent member of the U.S. House of Representatives winning reelection. With wide name recognition, and usually an insurmountable advantage in campaign cash, House incumbents typically have little trouble holding onto their seats... 1

Flaw 3) Passion Versus Intellect

Political parties mount, finance and staff campaigns designed to inflame the passions of the electorate. There is no genuine attempt to consult the public interest. Instead, surveys are conducted to find "hot buttons" which generate a desired response and professionals use the information to mold "messages" which the candidates and the parties feed the public. It is a rabble-rousing technique.

Flaw 2) Political Campaigning

Campaigning is the process of selling political candidates to the public. It is a top-down technique and is conceptually unsound in any political system that purports to be democratic.

Flaw 1) Party Politics

Democracy is not a team sport. Even though partisanship is natural for humans, political systems built on partisanship are destructive.

Flaws in the Existing Machinery

Creating new machinery that differs from existing machinery in important ways requires an understanding of the flaws in the existing machinery.

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, 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.

Online Experiment with Practical Democracy

I just had the great pleasure to reconnect with Fred Gohlke. I re-read his Practical Democracy paper, and I since then, I keep thinking about ways to implement a small scale experiment, to see what it would give in practice.

My own resources are very limited so I have not much to offer. However, I am the owner of this web site and, with some help, I could get something organized to have a first, limited trial run, with a few interested members.

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