Practical decomracy for candidate selection (a universal primary?)

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Practical democracy is a reasonable way to find candidates. Involving everyone at the first level is good. Keep the family rule and the five meeting rule, for all the right reasons. Then make triads totally random within a cost effective geographic area. Small enough, not too big. Forget about joining factions, because we are all in this together. If there will be only one eventual winner, each triad IS inclined to put forward their most qualified alternative. I would like to see the levels end at a point like in the example of 25000. With 12 choices still standing, that’s a good cross section of the electorate. After that I feel it is time to go back to the entire electorate in the form of a general election. One can hope that the surviving candidates are all qualified in the minds of all the voters, then there is no bad choice. Practical democracy could take it one more level by reducing the field to four. Thereby losing diversity, but presenting an election where each voter, even lazy ones, would be more inclined to come to an informed opinion on each candidate. Involving everyone in the final decision is the perfect end to this exercise in democracy.

Comments

A Few Thoughts

Thanks for thinking about it, Ran

re: "Forget about joining factions, because we are all in this together."

Can we look at this point a little more closely?

Partisanship is a vital part of our existence. It is the way we make progress; the way we get things done. Alone, our efforts don't achieve the critical mass necessary to inspire progress and action. We need the support of others.

You and I feel there might be some merit in Practical Democracy. Let's say we live near each other and believe the process would benefit our community. One problem is that it's different. It's very difficult to get people to think about things that are different than what they're used to. At the lowest level, before the process has weeded out the less thoughtful of our peers, it will be difficult for us to appeal to the reason of the members of our triad.

If, instead, you and I and others who think Practical Democracy worth considering, are part of a separate interest group that advances members in parallel with the unaligned group, two things happen. The first is that we will examine our differences (your thoughts on how the process should end, for example) and reason our way to the best solution we can reach. The second thing that will happen is that we will advance the best advocate of our perspective so that, when we are merged with other thoughtful candidates at a higher level (after most of the less-interested people have dropped out), our advocate will be the person best able to persuade folks who don't share our view that the idea, or some part(s) of it, will benefit the community.

The same thing is true of all new ideas. We're all in this together, but we need to provide fertile ground for new ideas to take root and grow. If the ideas have no merit, the non-partisans will prevent them from spreading.

re: "I would like to see the levels end at a point like in the example of 25000. With 12 choices still standing, that's a good cross section of the electorate."

I agree with you. I avoided a detailed description of the end of the process, partly because it will depend on what offices are to be filled and partly because there are several ways to make the final steps.

re: "After that I feel it is time to go back to the entire electorate in the form of a general election."

I've leaned toward this solution, too. The biggest problem I see is that it means candidates will campaign for office, and that means money will influence the process. Soliciting funds to finance a campaign invites demands from the financial backers and that is inherently corruptive.

re: "Practical democracy could take it one more level by reducing the field to four. Thereby losing diversity, but presenting an election where each voter, even lazy ones, would be more inclined to come to an informed opinion on each candidate."

This is another good idea. The media will be active and will influence the way the candidates are perceived.

Do you think the bi-directionality of the process might help produce a better result? Each candidate sits atop a pyramid of known electors, so the candidate can easily send questions on specific issues directly to the people and they can ask questions, as well. Also, some of the people in each candidate's pyramid may not like the final selection and others may be avid supporters. If they are active, they will influence others.

re: "Involving everyone in the final decision is the perfect end to this exercise in democracy."

You may be right, if we can work our way through the obstacles. In any case, a bottom-up process that involves everyone - to the full extent of each individual's desire and ability - is mandatory. If I may quote Robert Michels, from his book, Political Parties, he wrote, "Though it grumbles occasionally, the majority is really delighted to find persons who will take the trouble to look after its affairs."