In another thread, we were talking about the problem of how voters keep sending mediocre politicians to office. As others have noted in the past, the paradox is that while voters claim to want dedicated and fair minded visionaries overall, they actually vote for pork promising sleazebags for their own representative.
So we need to come up with a radical solution and here’s mine: cross-voting.
Every two years, six months before election day, we’ll have a big lottery. We’ll announce every congressional district one by one and then pull a slip of paper out of a barrel. On that slip of paper will be the name of a different congressional district. And the voters of that district will vote on who represents the first district. So you’ll have the voters of the Minnesota 4th voting for the Representative for the California 50th; the Connecticut 8th voting for the Mississippi 3rd; the Texas 19th voting for the Oregon 5th; and so on.
The candidates will then have to convince a bunch of relative starngers that they’ll do the best job representing the people of their district. Pork barreling should be eliminated because the folks back in the district won’t be in a position to reward you for bringing home the bacon. Carpetbagging won’t be a real issue because candidates will still have to qualify as residents of their districts and be nominated by local parties.
There’s is the issue of regional ideologies. Candidates who run for office in Massachusetts are very different from those in South Carolina. But it’ll all balance out nationwide. If one district is forced to choose a more liberal candidate than it likes, by definition some other district must be being forced to choose a more conservative candidate than it would have liked.
It’s also possible that some candidates might decide to sell out their home districts once the voting districts have been announced. They could promise all kinds of booty to the people who’ll be voting for them. But it’s a short term strategy because those people will almost certainly never vote for that candidate again, so most voters will realize that if he sold out one district he’ll sell them out as well. Ultimately, candidates will be forced to the realization that their best strategy is to demonstrate they can do the job regardless of who’s voting for them.