Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Politics without Ideology

(This week's crazy idea...)

One of the handful of common feelings shared by everyone across the political spectrum is that we all share our deep mistrust and dislike for politicians for their partisanship and seemingly unfounded/irrational ideology!  It is getting more and more about us vs them, rather than about the common good.

Necessary evil of democracy - or is it?

I would rather abandon this whole idea of parties all together, like what our founders intended.  But that is probably a little too improbable just yet...

For now or the near future, I wonder if it is viable to have a party with no ideology, with candidates running on the sole platform that they WILL make decision on any public issue solely based on their constituencies wishes - using social media. (hey, I am limited by my own experience and imagination, OK?)

The gist:

  • All voters in a district are highly encouraged to register themselves on some site - or convince someone like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, (SurveyMonkey?) or brian's-garage-startup.com to operate it...
  • Once elected, the official will run a survey on ALL "public" issues (at least those that has some lead time like 72 hours or more...) that he or she needs to make a decision on and broadcast to registered voters via email, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, SMS etc
  • The elected official will make the decision solely based on the result of such survey.  If there is no critical mass, say 50% of electorate, or if there is a statistical draw, he or she will vote absentee or take no action if allowed to
Yawn.  You might think should someone even win an elected office on such a stupid platform, most voter will not bother to take such surveys or even qualified to wade through supported documentations to understand the implications.  I think so too.

But hear me out...

    • The voter can pre-select people during registration whom they trust so to auto-"follow"/"mirror" the trusted sources' responses in the event that a voter didn't respond to a survey directly
    • If none of the designated trusted sources vote directly, their trusted sources' vote will be followed
    • The voter can choose to be notified whenever his/her first line trusted voter has voted or not, but will NOT be able to see which way they voted
    • If the voter choose to take a closer look at a survey and still decide not to vote, he/she can also pick another voter to "follow" just for that issue
    • A refinement could be to designate trusted sources by some categories e.g. for local issues, I trust John, but for national+taxation+economics I trust Jane, and for all others, I follow Jon Stewart, then Stephen Colbert
    • Thus a web of influence is formed - classic Social Network applied to Politics!
    • Voters can also see how influential they are by the number of followers they have, or number of actual decisions they actually influenced
    • Major influencers can also be identified and be approached for early feedback, advise, or lobbying?
    • The elected official will publish his/own decision against the result of the survey, with aggregate data to allow public analysis, but individual voter's response will be made anonymous and protected, with individual actual response available to that individual (or whenever there is some criminal investigation with court subpoena ?)
    Obviously this works only for highly online constituencies like Silicon Valley, where the percentage of electorate with reliable Internet access is very high.

    However, I don't think I will bother to investigate such data today, because that sounds like work.  Putting ideas down in a blog is already taking too much of my day dreaming time :-)


    1. Crazy idea, yes, but sounds like fun. However, only if Facebook (or other online social platform ties the individual account to their social security number.

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