Starting over, the NEW new form of government thread

The now closed thread in P&E had an interesting premise but was started by someone not really interested in good discussion. So let’s use this one to invent the best kind of representative government we can.

In looking around the world, I’ve come to really appreciate the commonsensical nature and effectiveness of the Danish model of Parliament, which features multi-member districts and single transferrable voting. This pretty much guarantees effective proportionate representation and wipes out gerrymandering as an issue.

As my tweak to an already good model, I would like to sub-district the districts by age to give us an even better representative result.

I don’t think a second house or executive branch is necessary but if there had to be one I would work a sortition method in there.

Yes, a single house Parliament runs the risk of a really shitty majority turning the country into a loathsome shithole but the potential benefits outweigh the risks, imho. I think most people want to live in peaceful and functional democracies.

I’d like to enshrine a requirement for a “supermajority” for legislation to take place. Let’s have something akin to the Filibuster, formalized and systemic. We still risk tyranny of the majority, but at least it requires something more than 50% + 1.

(A friend of mine likes to say, were he President, he’d veto EVERYTHING. If they can’t pass it by a 2/3 majority, overruling his veto, then it doesn’t deserve to be law. Hyperbole, a bit, but there’s a valid idea lurking here.)

A supermajority system in this country is doomed to failure. It will be nearly impossible to get anything done. You can’t get 2/3 of this country to agree on what day of the week it is.

Yeah, requiring supermajorities for legislation has always seemed like just a version of minority rule to me.

If a nation with good representation keeps electing governments with bad ideas, maybe that’s the kind of crappy nation it deserves to be.

I sorta disagree…and I can also hold a vaguely libertarian view, that if a supermajority don’t favor it, maybe it shouldn’t become “the law of the land.” Let simple majorities rule at the city, county, and state level, but for Federal Law, let’s make sure there’s a real consensus.

A supermajority is hinted at in the Constitution already, with the two houses of Congress. People representing the majority of the people, and people representing the majority of the states, must agree before a law can be passed. I’d just like to formalize this, against the occasional temporary situation where one party has both houses and the Presidency, and can do damn near anything.

How is it minority rule not to pass a law?

Considering how commonly politicians seem to be corrupt in so many ways, I thought of an idea a while back that’s kind of off the wall but might be interesting to talk about:

There’s a national lottery, with every adult citizen entered automatically. Every 2 or 4 years, an adult is picked at random to run for president. They can accept or decline. If they decline, pick another name out of the hat. If they accept, they then have 6 weeks or so to make their case to the public why they should be chosen (all “campaigning” is publicly funded). Then the public votes - either for this person or for another pick of the lottery.

Or something like that.

I don’t know how to answer that question. It kind of assumes that taking no action is the default when I see the situation instead as “action or no action” and I don’t understand why we need to give “no action” a beneficial handicap.

Ah, another closet sortitionist. Welcome to our tiny club.

A form of government cannot long be better than its citizens. Said another way, you can’t build a product without understanding the materials it’ll be made of or the uses to which it’ll be put.

So first let’s posit what sort of citizenry we’re intending to serve. The optimal government for Vulcans and for cannibals will have different characteristics.

Arguably what we’re seeing in the USA today is a form of government that worked for 18th century Renaissance men and for 20th century statesmen & factory workers. But doesn’t work so good for who we are now.

People only vote for local representatives. Those local representatives choose an executive for their area, who manages the government for that level. Those local representatives vote for representatives that cover a larger area the government of which has different responsibilities than those of the local group. Form as many levels as is reasonable, with each level having different responsibilities regarding governance, presumably those suited towards the size of the area that they oversee. Stagger elections such that there is a long time between the election of a level of representatives and the election of the next highest level, meaning that the goal is good governance at the level they are being elected for, not to push their agenda up to the higher level. Each representative, in casting their vote for the next highest level or for exectuive, casts a number of votes equal to the number of votes they received when elected. They may choose to split these votes among favored candidates, even for the singular executive position.

Candidates for higher level representatives may be considered that are not currently representatives doing the voting, but they will be required to have at least once been elected to the level just below the one they are standing for. Executives for each level of governance need not be chosen from among the representatives elected for the assembly of that level, but each executive would need to have served as executive of at least the next lowest level for a full election cycle.

Vacancies in executive posts are interimly filled by the representative for that level with the most experience as an executive, with higher level experience trumping any amount of lower level experience. If no representatives have any executive experience, then repeat with experience as a representative. In case of a tie, there will already have been a draw at the seating of the representatives to randomly determine which one has precedence. This is done for all representatives with precedence ties so that there is a clear order of succession. A new permanent executive is to be chosen as soon as possible.

Vacancies of representatives are filled by taking the person who had the next highest vote total among those not chosen for the assembly originally.

There was a book on that premise, a graphic novel if memory serves, titled “President Bill.” As you might expect, it was a chaotic cluster-bump of a disaster…and hilarious.

How about the 27 million wildly diverse citizens of the brand new Republic of Texas? Anglos and Hispanics, ranchers and city liberals, steers and queers. Can we build a system that serves all those constituencies?

I can’t possibly ask all the questions I have while I’m working on a tablet but the ladder structure is very much food for thought and just a little bit Chinese to boot.

I think this may tend to mean every magistrate at the higher level is a career beaurocrat. I don’t think they will be in touch with the people.

Furthermore, suppose there is a big purge at the lowest levels. Some popular movement replaces everybody. Suddenly, the only people who can run the upper levels of government are totally uncooperative with all of the people on the lower levels, and it takes years for new beaurocrats to qualify for the upper levels.


The government would be perpetually headless…


I give “no action” a beneficial handicap as a matter of political ideology.


For the most part, these are planned features. You may disagree with them as features, but creating those dynamics is a large reason behind the structure.

I think the whole idea of not “being in touch with the people” is a bit overblown. Just because people are not in a position to directly vote against someone doesn’t mean that person won’t take into account their desires. Term-limited Presidents have no one to answer to, but they usually follow public opinion just as much as non-term-limited ones. Currently we generally have a whole lot of very long-serving representatives in Congress, many of whom got their start as state reps. I don’t think much would change other than formalizing it as a career path that would one follow. In order to make your way to the top, you would have to convince people at a wide variety of level of expertise that you were a good candidate, as opposed to just having to convince the unwashed masses.

I don’t know. Under your proposed system, you could get to the top just by convincing a small group of people that you are a good candidate, and using patronage to get them elected to the next rung so they can elect you to an even higher position.


You’ll have to explain this a bit further. Let’s say you were, using current political divisions, a county assemblyman. Let’s say your state is decent size (not Delaware) and have dozens of counties. How does convincing a group of people large enough to get you elected to the county level help to get you elected to the state level? There’s now 20-50 times as many voters.