Any competitive system will select for those best suited to win. Those will rise to the top, those who aren’t will shuffle around at the bottom. Our political system selects for, essentially, popularity. There are some checks in place to make sure that some modicum of intelligence and a basic ability to get things done without entirely screwing things up are both present, but these aren’t really built into the system. These checks exist solely in the form of wiser heads spreading information via newspapers and so on.
Now I could go on to describe such regular events as politicians being unaware of the basic issues and sides in topics that they sit on the committee of, or the prevalence of the “easier to understand” side winning arguments versus a preponderance of scientific evidence. But let’s proceed on to the specific proposal.
We assume that there are certain categories in which a particular politician (for instance) the President must have a decent familiarity with. Not an expert, by any means, just well versed enough to be able to understand briefings by the specialists and discourse with them in a meaningful way. These categories might be:
Now we can decide what group could be considered the “specialists” of any of these topics.
Economics - Economic majors, CEOs
Science - Science majors
Foreign Relations - ?
Military - Military officials above X rank
Law - Bar members
Now, the core idea of the popular vote is that the person being elected foremost needs to represent the people as a whole. So you can’t just relegate the vote to the specialists, but there’s also no valid way to decide how much the specialists should have a say versus the populace. except to let the people decide how important they think their own vote, and that of any subcategory of specialization, are worth comparatively.
So say that I decide that my vote should count for 50% and the specialists at 10% each. If then all 5 groups vote against me, my total vote is split evenly for both candidates. If three vote with me and two against, then 80% of my vote is for my preferred candidate and 20% against.
But I could also decide to cast my vote as 100% what I decide, or 0%. I could decide to rank economics as the single most important issue and give the economists 100% of my vote. It would be up to me.
Would specialists need to vote separately from their vote as a citizen? I’m not sure.
Who would decide what specialties are needed? The electoral college, perhaps? Different positions in the government might require different specialties, and different regions might feel that the primary ones that need to be included are different.
Possible results from this method of voting:
A general improvement in a politician’s knowledge in at least a few specific categories. Assuming that these will tend to then be included in committees which specialize in related topics, an overall higher level of output should be expected.
A tendency for one particular issue to decide elections. This could possibly be good, possibly bad. On the one hand, it makes it more likely that things would get accomplished, on the other hand the newest and most exciting idea currently floating around might see itself being put into effect at the top levels–which could be fairly extreme. It could also lead to all secondary issues being ignored.