American politicians have been promising to return power to the people for as long as Americans have been voting. But anyone who pays attention knows that the average citizen has very little voice in Washington. Now a new startup that uses an Internet-sourced, social-media-inspired, American Idol-esque approach could be the change we can really believe in.
The new company, Americans Elect, is about to submit 1.6 million signatures required to get on the 2012 California presidential ballot, the beginning salvo of a 50-state effort. The company plans to host an open nominating process to build a viable third party ticket in every state. Thomas Friedman at the New York Times explains their strategy, and how they could remake the future of voting.
It would work by recruiting delegates — anyone with an interest in national government, regardless of ideology — who would then fill out a questionnaire about political priorities. Then Americans Elect's algorithms will match delegates with people who share similar interests. Then can then organize and discuss priorities, drafting a candidate who represents their views. Each candidate must present a video platform explaining his or her positions, and after a three-round tournament in April 2012, the candidate pool will be reduced to six. Then each of the six finalists will have to pick a running mate.
Americans Elect is requiring each potential ticket to include one member of each existing party, so a Democrat would have to run with a Republican or independent, and a Republican with a Democrat or independent — a very Jack Lemmon/James Garner plotline that seems to undermine the idea of a third party. But it's an interesting idea, and it seems like a viable way to use the Internet to democratize the democratic process.
Friedman is quite excited about this idea, predicting that Americans Elect will do for our current gridlocked duopoly "what Amazon.com did to books, what the blogosphere did to newspapers, what the iPod did to music, what drugstore.com did to pharmacies." (He does not include "what pets.com did for pet stores.)
This seems a tad optimistic given the state of national politics, but hey, the Internet can solve lots of other problems, so why not this?
In June, an online national nominating convention will choose a final candidate, who would then be on the ballot under the Americans Elect party in all 50 states.
Sorry, Stephen Colbert and the Super Pac — the rules say any nominee must be "considered someone of similar stature to our previous presidents." (Although one could argue Colbert is more serious than some of them.)
About time someone decided to do this!
Watch how much voting on the internet differs in results for things like primaries, where only old people with too much time on their hands bother to vote on.
Do politicians lie? Do they project a false image? Do they have political manager to project; artificially create a statically wonderful image of the politician? Do they have speech writers that make the politician appear informed, intelligent and qualified, to later only be stupefied by a really good reporter? I think it’s wonderful if the power of the people can be returned close the actual people themselves, but I have my doubts if a truly represent able data base of choices can be developed, without it being slanted, bias, unfairly influence, by $$$ dollars or any other means. I do hope more power of the vote does come to the individually people! GOOD LUCK SINCERELY!
Unless your ideal representative is an older white man who's main interest is lining his pockets and keeping the corporations happy, you're not being represented in the government at all. Sadly, this is the case most of the time. Hopefully this will help represent the PEOPLE of this country, not the corporations.
Actually Estonia already has this. Estonia became the first nation to hold legally binding general elections over the Internet starting in 2005.
I don`t believe current parties in the US will ever allow this though. Any opponents or radicals will try to rig the system. Others will try and sue the system for even the potential of fraud. And our officials will stop it because of fear their entire parties and affiliates will loose power.
redline In case you haven't seen the current U.S. president you might want to leave the "white" out of "an older white man who's main interest is lining his pockets and keeping the corporations happy" And next election you might need to leave the man out as well. Grrl power might take it all in 2012.
The rest of the stuff can stay however, its accurate enough for current and past, but you might want to add activists, media, large hidden social engineers, billionaire world mongers and a bunch of other special interests that seem not to be complained about as much but are at least as damaging.
You can agree or disagree with Obama or any political leader; it’s your right and that is fine. I am just happier now the perspective or view of the Leader we elect has widened in our choices. Of course, the USA people still has some more maturing to do for the future. I always wish for the whole people of USA, to elect the best qualified Leader as possible!
Our political problems will be corrected when people become more interested in elections than baseball. Until then, the better looking candidate will continue to win. I hope the 9+% unemployed are at least a little more interested.
I guess the reality is BIG government can't support all the government programs it created and it’s too powerful as lawyers to actually make a decision for the future. So as our government goes down the toilet and the lack of $$$ force the issue of closing government departments, it could very well mean more opportunity for people in USA and more private companies open up to fill the gap. Of course the transition time and gigantic surge of sudden unemployment is going to rock good old USA, till we get through this transition. Moral of the story, our USA government and has grown up to be senile and unable to make a good decision on its own. It’s lost currently to its own arguments and confusion.
When I come from, all political and economic decisions are made by The Machines. However, we still get to select the Galactic Idol.
The Greek city was under siege. It could not escape. The city was surrounded and the people were starving. All the people did was going to the coliseum and entertain themselves. As then and now, we have entertainers, media, sports and drama from politicians and the government is being under siege by overwhelming economic ruin. Eventually the starving people of Greece open the city doors and they were all brutally killed and the city plundered. Not to long after this in history with the black plague we enter into the dark ages.
Given the state of dysfunction in our country, I doubt this would bear any fruit. Though, I am seriously thinking about signing up -- hopelessly idealistic, I guess.
The requirement that a candidate choose a running mate of the opposite party would be the most difficult hurdle for most politicians. Anyone else other than me watch the short-lived series, 'The Event'? Didn't work out so well for President Martinez -- did it.
As long as Americans cannot vote directly they are always bound to be guessing and having their rights taken away one by one.
for the past 20 years I've held the the internet was the way to go in electing competent, quilfied people to government. now it's time to prove it, sign me up.
HONEST "Abe Lincon" WHERE ARE YOU?!?! THE USA NEEDS YOU BADLY!!!!!
I just wrote a bit on an idea similar to this - the idea that by creating a market for laws that takes advantage of technology we have today we could maximize political outcomes:
Hold your horses..Who is Kahlil Byrd CFR Council on Foreign Relations
Who is Peter Ackerman founding chair of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict - He is a member of the Board of the Council on Foreign Relations. I would not give these communists a wooden nickle!