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ragingloli's avatar

What do you think about an electoral system where representatives were selected by lottery?

Asked by ragingloli (48549points) February 24th, 2012

Every citizen would participate in the lottery and if selected, required to take the position.

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11 Answers

HungryGuy's avatar

I don’t know. I’m kind’a opposed to forced labor, even if it’s for a noble cause (like jury duty). At least jury duty is only for a few weeks, and your employer is forbidden by law to fire you and must let you return to your job.

But as for a representative for a year (two years, four years, etc.)? Would you be forced to leave your current job to become a full-time representative? If so, would you have some guarantees of income upon the end of your term in office? If you’re forced to leave a good job (especially in this economy), I think you’re owed a tad more than 6 months unemployment benefits at a fraction of your prior salary. Would your employer be required to give you your old job back?

On the other hand, I think it would solve a whole lot of problems with corrupt politicos in the pockets of corporate executives. Or maybe your average Joe (or Jane) would be even more susceptible to bribery from the corporatocracy.

CWOTUS's avatar

@HungryGuy makes good points.

In addition, as bad as current democratic systems are, and they are pretty bad, no doubt, having “random” people selected (and how would they all be vetted as to Constitutional qualifications for serving? not to mention that the US Constitution, for one, would need major revision). Another argument is “residency”. In the US, people frequently enough have multiple domiciles – or none at all – so what would determine which district a person could be selected from? Aside from these administrative problems, the government now is simply too complex for most average (and let’s face it, “below-average”, citizens and intellects to comprehend). We’d have something far worse than we now have.

No, I think there are too many problems with that suggestion.

However, in talking to people around the US (and I expect the same holds true of other countries as well), people have a generally favorable opinion of “their guy” (even when they voted against him; at least now he’s “their guy”) just like they have great opinions of “their local school” even though “schools in general” are awful. Congress is awful in the same way.

What I’d like to see is a way for people around the country to vote “against” a single politician whom they consider to be the most antithetical to their interests. So voters from all over the USA could vote “against” a write-in candidate from another district, anywhere in the country, whom they would most like to see “gone”.

The one candidate who gets the most votes-against would not be seated in either the House of Representatives or the Senate, no matter how big he won in his home district. That district (the only one in the nation) would require a special election for another candidate, since it would be equally unfair to seat “whoever came in second” in the first election. I guess it would be fair for the federal government to share in the cost of that special election, too.

ETpro's avatar

I think that we need to get the massive money out of the system. That’;s what is corrupting it. I think that is we just become dispondent about it and give up, the forces that corrupt the system will have won. Their intent is to eliminate everything the government does that doesn’t enrich them; and to use the power of the state to rig the game so it’s “Heads they win, tails you lose.” I think we should resist pessimism, and instead get involved in the growing grassroots action to take back deomcract and end government of the people by the corporations and for the corporations.
http://blog.timesunion.com/opinion/too-much-money-in-politics-change-the-constitution/14359/
http://www.prwatch.org/news/2011/10/11096/ows-cenk-uygur-announces-effort-amend-constitution-get-money-out-politics

likipie's avatar

(U.S.) We’d be no worse off than we are now. What with all the corruption in our politicians nowadays, adding random folk in there really can’t do much more damage than has already been done. But I do agree with @HungryGuy, I don’t much care for the “have to” part of it. I for certain would not want to take on that position.

flutherother's avatar

The important thing is to ensure the government has no guarantee that it will remain in power as power is so corrupting. A lottery is an interesting idea but a government chosen by lottery would never be representative and there is a chance that people with extreme views could take over.

As @ETpro says people are disillusioned with a political system that is corrupted by big money and the influence of special interest groups. The trouble with our democracy is that it is not democratic and a minority want to keep it that way.

mattbrowne's avatar

Being a good politician is a skill that requires years and decades of training. So, no lottery please. We want the people who are best qualified. I wouldn’t want a surgeon operate on my heart who got his degree issued by a Las Vegas casino.

HungryGuy's avatar

Also, let’s not be so US-centric. There’s lots of democratic countries in the world that might benefit from pondering how their parliamentary/congressional systems could be changed. Just sayin’.

ragingloli's avatar

@mattbrowne
Just look at the candidates that are lining up. The incompetent scum that call themselves republican candidates. The corrupt arsehole Wulff. The Scam Artist Guttenberg. Qualified? You jest.

mattbrowne's avatar

@ragingloli – There are hundreds of good politicians in the Bundestag and all the Landtage and all the numerous Ministerien. Who ends up making headlines? Greedy people like Wulff and narcissists like Guttenberg.

But concluding from several bad examples that all politicians are not qualified is irrational thinking. It’s cheap polemics.

ragingloli's avatar

@mattbrowne
They are the ones that get the most power in the end. Whether in religion, industry, or politics, it is the borderline criminal that climb the highest.

mattbrowne's avatar

@ragingloli – That’s an unfounded claim. A few examples don’t make such a generalization true.

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