Brain Dropping #39
Warning: This e-mail contains crude and unseemly language which the NYT would never publish.
Our electoral system is fucked! The Electoral College system, where the winner of a majority of the popular vote can lose, as per Bush vs. Gore, is not only unwieldy but unfair to the principles of democracy. But what am I saying? – we are not a democracy – we are an auction where the highest bidder for the seat of power gets to rule along with his, or in the case of Hillary, her corporate ‘sugar daddies.’ If that conclusion seems too extreme, it’s evident that you haven’t read the Citizens United or the McCutcheon decision handed down by the malevolent male justices of the U.S. Supreme court. And the nominees of the ‘Elphadonk Party” are in the hip pocket of Sheldon Adelson, the Koch brothers, Microsoft, Bank of America and their oligarchic ilk. No wonder more than half the electorate don’t bother to vote. My own inclination is to write in “None of the Above” in the space for a write-in candidate. I can see a national movement where “None of the Above” wins the majority of the votes.
How much more democratic is the system of proportional representation practiced by just about the rest of the world? In New Zealand. Quebec, Canada, the U.K., Germany and many other countries the structure of their electoral system is based on the idea of “Mixed Membership Proportionality” where smaller parties are awarded parliamentary seats proportionally, according to the percentage of votes garnered. It works in the parliamentary system to give small, but politically viable groups a voice in governing, with the positive effect of having an opportunity to stir up the usually unnourishing, glutinous porridge that passes for the legislative process in the U.S.
There is another alternative to selecting the folks who rule us which goes back to ancient Athens, supposedly the birthplace of democracy (democracy, at least for those who were not slaves.) This system is called “Sortitian”(also known as allotment or drawing of lots.) “In ancient Athenian democracy, sortition was the primary method for appointing officials, and its use was widely regarded as a principal characteristic of democracy. It is commonly used today to select prospective jurors in common law-based legal systems.” The Athenians believed sortition to be more democratic than elections and was in opposition to those who supported oligarchy, or rule by the few. “Sortition is inherently egalitarian in that it ensures all citizens have an equal chance of entering office irrespective of any bias in society. Compared to a voting system, a citizen-wide lottery for public office lowers the threshold to office. Ordinary citizens do not have to compete against more powerful or influential adversaries,and those who have pre-existing advantages.” (Shitloads of money.) Sortition is the solution to entrenched incumbency and the arrogance of power it engenders.
And most satisfyingly, we can tell the Koch brothers to “Go fuck themselves!”