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dkhenry 471 days ago | link | parent

This is the wrong soution to this problem. The _right_ solution is to quadrouple the number of senators and house members. This effort shows that yes via technology we can have more people voting on the important business of the country , but it doesn't mean we should ignore the benefits of representative democracy and pretend everyone will know everything about everything. The right solution is to water down congress, it amazes me that we have allowed the voice of so many people to be condensed into so few representatives. My parents had twice as much representation ( in terms of votes / constitutant ) then I do. My grandparents had almost four times as much [0]

As a fun by-product you would completely eliminate the effect of large donors on the government. Lets see the Koch brothers or George Soros donate $1 Million dollars to ~1600 Congressmen every two years.

0. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_congressional_app...



dsr_ 471 days ago | link

Let me make an alternate proposal. Suppose that we want 600 congresscritters and the population of voters is 300M. Dividing A into B, we get a simple ratio of 500K to one. Let's allow them to sign up directly. No reason for it to be limited geographically. If you like Representative Archie, sign up with him. When Archie gets 500,000 registrations, he gets a seat. Even better, we'll let more people sign up -- if Archie is so popular that a million people sign up for him, then he gets two votes. We'll stop there to prevent too much power concentration -- more people can sign up for him if they like, but he doesn't get extra votes.

Once per period, all of Archie's constituents are surveyed to determine if they still like what he's doing. They can change registration at any time, but this is the most convenient time to do it.

If Archie drops below 1M at any time, he goes back to one vote. If he drops below 500K at a survey point, he's no longer a Representative.

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dkhenry 471 days ago | link

I think we could come together with both Ideas and make a system that works. I like some aspects of your plan , but I would want to see a few modifications. Your extending into voting systems as well and I don't necessarily think your doing it the best way , but i _love_ the idea your putting forth.

Edit:

So i realise why I like aspects of your proposal. Because it has a few of the principles of the Mixed-Member proportional [0] System mixed into it. I like MMP I really like it. I think that combined with a radical expansion of the number of representatives ( I think we should be closer to 100k then 500k, maybe as low as 50k ) would allow us to do many amazing things as a country. Also I would toss this wrinkle in. MMP is done at a state level and only state level political parties are recognized, and they are now official. They must follow rules to elect their leadership.

0. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT0I-sdoSXU&feature=share...

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charlesjshort 471 days ago | link

Please see academic paper here on Mathematics of Digital Republic.

http://www.ysenate.org/academic.html

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downandout 471 days ago | link

I also believe that this is the wrong solution, but I agree with the spirit of it. The people need a voice on individual laws, but the vast majority of the American public will not (and should not have to) educate themselves on the ins and outs of every issue brought before the legislative branch.

I think the right solution would be to allow the public to overturn laws. Let the House and Senate do their jobs, but enable an electronic voting system by which the public can automatically overturn any law that enough of the public feels is wrong at any time. This is a more balanced approach, and would also curtail the divisiveness that we see in our political system. The public wouldn't spend the time in between elections either pouting about or praising the results of the last election. Instead they could put their energy toward helping us craft a better country regardless of who is in office.

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dkhenry 471 days ago | link

I think if you did that you would get into much the same situation you see with the discussion over the tax/budget changes that are happening today. Its really easy to rally people _against_ something. Its a bit harder to get them to support it. I think you would find with a public veto that nothing substantial would pass through congress.

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downandout 471 days ago | link

I disagree. The current tax debate is largely over whether or not to raise taxes on, at most, 2% of the population. That isn't remotely close to enough of the population to overturn anything under my proposal. If you set the percentage required high enough, only those laws that are truly objectionable would wind up in the trash bin.

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dkhenry 471 days ago | link

but there are many more people opposed to it then just the 2%. Take for instance me. I am no where near close to that 2% in income, and unless you want to give them official representation in proportion to their tax burden then I claim what your doing is tyrannical. I bet I could convince enough people to a. Care and b. Vote about it that we could overturn it.

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dmix 471 days ago | link

+1 Moving towards more state-level government instead of centralized federally.

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zanny 471 days ago | link

I think state level misses the point. The underlying ideology is applicable at all levels, which is that a representative can better represent fewer people rather than more people. You trade off accuracy of representation for protection against popular interests. Currently, we are at an absurd extreme in terms of human history (one president for 320 million, then in Cali its 1 senator per 25 million people).

We already have governmental overhead of 1 person on public payroll for every 6 people. I figure you could easily have 1 direct representative per 1,000 people if you change the system to an elector tree like the old US Senate rather than direct voting for too many positions.

Also, +1 for username 😉

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jrs235 471 days ago | link

The senate was never intended to represent the people, it was intended to represent the states. The 17th Amendment usurped the states rightful representation in the federal government and would be best if repealed. But it's harder to control the state governments if the federal government can't enforce mandates such as withholding money from states that refuse to pass or enforce laws. Those in favor of such centralized power are often unaware of their Authoritarian support. No state senator would pass such mandates laws and vote to limit their state governments if the senators had to answer to and were elected by the state legislatures. Each state can elect their senators as they see fit.

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zanny 471 days ago | link

> to an elector tree like the old US Senate rather than direct voting for too many positions

I mentioned this. The senators are still one of the largest divergent points from public interests that are direct elected. I'm all for abolishing the 17th amendment amongst other things (I disagree with the policy of 2 senators per state in principle anyway).

> No state senator would pass such mandates laws and vote to limit their state governments if the senators had to answer to and were elected by the state legislatures. Each state can elect their senators as they see fit.

I wish we could have unified state congresses that directly elected all federal representatives from within their own ranks. The citizenry shouldn't even be involved in the fed, which shouldn't be nearly as large as it is. They should be involved locally, and their local choices should influence larger groups through representation. The way republics are supposed to work.

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jrs235 469 days ago | link

I mostly agree with you. I however disagree that the citizenry shouldn't be involved in the fed. If the fed (and states) wish to approve some law or program that requires increases or creating new taxes, the citizens who ultimately pay those taxes should have a say... currently they do via the House of Representatives.

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emkemp 471 days ago | link

A nitpick: I don't know how you can say the 17th Amendment "usurped" states representation in the Senate. The states ratified the 17th Amendment, and willingly gave up their powers in that sense.

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zanny 471 days ago | link

They were mostly bullied with federal funding, as they always are. It is why federal dependence and welfare is so dangerous, not because of flawed ideologies of who "earned" what, but because they can easily use their services as carrots on a stick to drive people the way they want them the same way a gang might extract loyalty through "protection". It already happens all the time with the elderly in the US and social security / medicare.

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francoisdevlin 471 days ago | link

The only potential catch is that this is a lot MORE targets for espionage. You only need to find one person with some life circumstances (new kid, long commute, conflict of interests, etc) and spearfish/blackmail/torture/teach scala accordingly.

Granted, your proposal does address a lot of things, but this is something that would need to be addressed. Thoughts?

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dkhenry 471 days ago | link

It does give more targets to potentially get an insider into office, but the benefit gained by corrupting you local congressman by lets say forcing him to learn clojure is now limited as he is only responsible for .0003125 of the congressional power. If you managed to convert your congressman to be a lisp hipster you would control .001 of the congress ( and potentially more due to the current power arrangement )

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francoisdevlin 471 days ago | link

What you didn't take into account is that getting .1% control of anything would be a major coup for us in the lisp world :-p

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cyrus_ 471 days ago | link

There are many, many more people with access to sensitive/classified information in the executive branch. Increasing the size of congress by an order of magnitude will not meaningfully impact that number.

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turing 471 days ago | link

"As a fun by-product you would completely eliminate the effect of large donors on the government. Lets see the Koch brothers or George Soros donate $1 Million dollars to ~1600 Congressmen every two years."

I think that's more than a tad optimistic. If you quadruple the number of seats you also shrink the size of each district. With smaller districts the costs of campaigning would likely shrink, as would the amount each individual Congressman would need to raise.

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cyrus_ 471 days ago | link

Here is an editorial from a couple of years ago by a couple of professors echoing this idea:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/24/opinion/24conley.html

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dantheman 470 days ago | link

A more important step would be removing the direct election of senators. Senators should be selected by the state legislators to represent the views of the state.

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im_dario 470 days ago | link

I think you are asking for liquid democracy [0], as seen in pirate parties [1]. It is direct democracy with no mandatory delegation.

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_democracy

[1] http://techpresident.com/news/wegov/22154/how-german-pirate-...

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