Starting over, the NEW new form of government thread

Something I posted in the other thread.

Parliamentary democracy works better than our system of divided government. Our divided government too easily gets into a deadlock, where opposing factions can stop things from happening but not get anything done themselves. Divided government also allows one faction to point the finger at another faction and blame all of the problems on their opponents.

In a parliamentary system, the legislature and the executive are combined into a single body and have clear authority over the other branches. They are held in check by the voters not by other branches of the government. This means the faction in power has the ability to carry out its agenda while at the same time being clearly responsible for that agenda and its consequences. If the agenda doesn’t work, the voters can replace the faction in power with a new one at any time.

The best thing about Trump dying is that it will marginalize goofballs like andy.

Haven’t you noticed that we are right now living under a president essentially picked out of a hat? Like the result?

Trump is way, way worse than that.

Okay, I misunderstood.

New, but related criticism: you only need to make a winning coalition once and just let them carry you all the way up to governorship, regardless of how people at the lowest levels vote after that coalition was forged, even years after. Say you’re mayor already, and you want to become President. You put together a coalition and form a party. The coalition has to pretty much cover your state, plus at least enough people nationwide to elect more than half the mayors in more than half the states. The next election, your party rides a populist wave to win all of those seats - this is the only winning coalition you have to forge. They elect your people to mayors, and the existing mayors in your county make you executive.

Next cycle, you only have to retain the mayors in the fold - not the citizenry. They elect from your party just over half the executives in over half of the states, and you are made governor of your state.

Next cycle, you only have to retain executives in the fold - not the citizenry, and not the mayors. They elect from your party just over half of the governors, and you are made President - despite not having or needing support from the citizens for two election cycles.


Again, I will direct you to the “feature” pile. I disagree with this being a problem, or at least more of a problem than what happens now. It’s not optimal, sure, but what is?

Very well.


If you haven’t yet read this book, I recommend Against Elections, which is a great pro-sortition polemic (and interesting historical reference)

However, the place where I would recommend sortition for is the Senate. This is not really very different from the way the House of Lords in the UK used to operate, based on when you used to get in if you sprung out of the correct womb. That was pretty much randomised in terms of skills and aptitudes (though pretty one-sided in terms of opinions and backgrounds) and as far as I know no major crises were ever caused by members being too dumb or weird to fulfil their duties (though I’m sure that plenty were in fact dumb or weird)

Of course you do. Your default position is that attempting to solve problems only makes them worse. In reality, this only gives a minority of voting citizens the power to allow existing problems to remain unresolved.

Not well.

Which was my point. Diddling with governmental systems design is a fools’ errand while the society is an ungovernable mess.

Thanks for the recommendation.

Sortition almost deserves its own thread but I can’t help but comment on certain facets of it here. One method of keeping the worst of the nutteriness out of real power is to use a voir dire system of some kind like California uses for its selection of its redistricting committee.

For example, in a two house system where one house is staffed via sortition, the elected house could function as lawyers in a voir dire system and, after an interview process, be allowed to eliminate a certain number of the candidates whose names have been drawn. Then a second lottery is held from those remaining for the final seating of new members. That might not catch all the crazies but it would at least cut the odds of them being selected in the final draw.

I would also recommend that candidates for a sortition house have to volunteer for selection, not be drawn from the general voter list like we do for jury duty. That wouldn’t eliminate the crazies or the inept but it would at least eliminate the apathetic.

This sort of waves the white flag of surrender towards ever developing a system for the US at large. How much cultural/political homogeneity is required before an improved system of government could ever be approved?

Would California have a better chance than Texas? Would Californians be more likely, in part because of how its citizens are the victims of under-representation now, to devise a system that improves on the nation’s current one?

The Texas secessionist movement, btw, has already seen the approaching storm and has already written an entire conservative, almost theocratic legal code and then offered a congressional structure designed to make sure it never changes. They’ve decided that the country’s existing poorly representative electoral system isn’t unrepresentative enough. God bless 'em.

That’s the most pessimistic interpretation of my point. And not an unreasonable one. I notice you’re the only person who picked up on my earlier comment. Which is not a criticism of you, but rather noting that everybody else is rushing ahead to the fun part of rearranging the deck chairs not having laid their foundation of stopping the ship from taking on water.

Here’s a (little) more optimistic take.

I think that the USA or Texas or CA could readily be governed successfully under the current system or the Canadian system or some other comparatively minor tweaks to what we already have. After all, we did it mostly successfully for 200-ish years and little about human nature has changed in that time.

Provided we can eliminate the baleful influence of active anti-social anti-government propaganda and enhance the overall educational level of the citizenry above “barely literate”.

I’m not so naive as to suggest that if everybody just had a bachelors in government or history or even a STEM topic we’d all agree and Kumbaya would become the new national anthem. But an ill-educated, unsophisticated, locally non-diverse mass of humanity being actively hijacked by both commercially-motived and politically-motivated propaganda (both foreign and domestic) doesn’t stand a chance against the combined onslaught.

That problem is at least addressable in part. Not quickly or easily, but it can be done. And IMO must be done.

Any attempt to actually tinker with our governing arrangements with the current populace, both the ordinary schmos like you and me and the current crop of so-called elites, is IMO doomed to make things worse not better. Proverbially: When you’re too drunk to drive, driving faster to get home sooner isn’t actually helpful. Tempting though it may be.

Late add:

My brother was a poli sci major 40 years ago. One of his proverbs both then and now: “What America needs most is better Americans”.

History has shown us a fundamental law of politics; government officials serve the interests of the people who control them. That’s why democracies tend to work better than non-democracies; if the individuals in the government are answerable to the people, they can’t afford to screw over at least fifty-one percent the people.

Your system seems to be isolating the people who have power from democratic control. And by doing so, you’ve removed the incentive for serving the best interests of the population. People in your system don’t rise in power by serving the interests of the general population; they rise in power by serving the interests of other government officials.

One classic example is California’s two thirds super-majority requirement to pass new local taxes, such as school bonds. Many have been stymied over the years by votes that were over 60% in favor, but just failed to breach that super-majority threshold.

Whether that is a bug or a feature depends entirely on how you view local taxation. To me it’s a bug :slight_smile:. The combo of Prop 13 and the super-majority rule make it more difficult for local communities to properly fund services and local infrastructure. I might be fine with a lower super-majority level like 55% or something, but I feel 66% is too high a bar.

Little_Nemo posted earlier an observation about the wide range for taking action given to parties in power in parliamentary governments, which I think is one of its best features. The party taking the action has to take responsibility for it, there’s no way to blame it on the other guys. If it was the wrong decision, the people will hold you to account in the next election.

I elect governments to govern. If they do it in ways that increases the common good, I’ll keep voting for them. If they can’t, I’ll give the other parties a look instead. And that means that sometimes I’ll be in the minority and won’t get my preferences. I won’t like it but that’s democracy.

I think you’ve made good points with this quote and your larger post before this one. One only has to peruse the “How much is American culture to blame” thread to understand that we seem to have more than our share of knuckleheads.

I wonder if there’s no form of government that will work FOREVER. Rather, there are forms that will work in a given time and place, but after a period of time might work less well.

The US government now tilts MASSIVELY towards rural and white people having outsize influence over elections. That could be fixed (changing the structure of the Senate, getting rid of the EC, etc.), but fixing that might only “work” for a period of a few decades before some other imbalance pops up.

I do like the sortition method, for certain offices. Randomly pick a dozen or two for an office, then let them make their case to the voters.

Term limits also seem fairly necessary, career politicians don’t seem to serve any interests but their own.

As we have seen over the last 4 years, we do have a deep state. An army of bureaucrats that actually keeps the engine of the government going, with the elected officials simply calling out the direction to go, rather than how to get there. The people in office do not need experience, they do not need networking and connections, and in fact, those seem to detract from their ability to meet the needs of the people that they represent.

My ideal government would have substantial redundancy. Rather than a bicameral legislative branch, a pentacameral, with each house being nearly equal in power, but having its own way of selecting those who are in it. One house to represent states, like the senate, except with 3 from each state, one every 2 years, they can be appointed by the state government, or elected by the people, up to the state to determine; one similar to the house of representatives except the representatives elected at large and a much larger body, one for every 50,000 residents; also, add in a house of meritocracy, where you do have to pass a test in order to vote for the members(the test to be written by the members of the house itself); a house of proxy votes for a direct democracy; and a house of plutocrats, where the wealthy bid against eachother for seats(with the proceeds going into the general fund.) Any 3 houses can pass legislation with majority votes of their own, subject to veto, which requires 4 houses to override.

The presidency should have much less powers than it does. It is there to enforce the laws of the legislature, it is there to follow, not to lead. That said, how laws are enforced can be a matter of interpretation, so should also be subject to selection from the people. I recommend a triumvirate presidency, where the top 3 vote getters having nearly equal power, mostly in the power of veto, any one can veto a bill and send it back, with the top vote getter only a nominal position over the other two. They’d be the one that lives in the white house and makes the speeches, but the other two would be able to override or take power if they agreed with eachother. They would also serve as back-ups, in case the top is incapacitated for some reason.

Scotus Judges should be appointed by either the top executive, or the two lower executives, and confirmed by either the senate and one house or three houses not including the senate. No lifetime terms, a long term, well over a decade of 15-20, maybe even 25 years, but not lifetime. At least one’s term should be ending every 2 years. They should be in charge of the lower courts, nominating people to fill those positions, requiring only 2 houses and one of the executive triumvirate to confirm. The lower courts too, should have long but not lifetime terms.

All voting for candidates should be ranked choice voting, with the plurality being the winner. I would use sortition to select the candidates to run for the positions of the house of representatives and the executive triumvirate.

Money is not speech. People may not spend money, or donate money for political advocacy. You may spend up to a month’s median average wage on material or your time and skills to advocate for a candiate you prefer.

Well, either all that or just make me dictator for life, I promise to be benevolent. :slight_smile:

All that said, as has been pointed out, we get the government that we deserve, that we vote for. I think that my system helps to remove some of the dangers of underinformed or even malicious voters, but ultimately, if you want a democracy, you need an educated and informed populace.

Education does need to include far more critical thinking and political science than it currently does. News needs to include far more boring policy wonk material, and far less sensationalism. How to accomplish those is a harder task, probably, than reforming the entirety of the government.