Jan 9, 2014

Democracy: From competing parties to competing issues

Current democracy of competing parties
Each voter has a choice of candidates from competing political parties. Do you vote Liberal or Labour or UKIP or whatever? And you think, for example,
- Liberal, 40% good
- Labour, 15% good
- UKIP, 41% good.
So you vote for UKIP

New democracy of competing issues
Each current political office holder faces a choice of competing issues. Which issues does a politician support so that he/she can stay in office? The menu, for example,
a) Support unconditional basic income, 30% votes
b) Support gun control, 10% vote
c) Support anti-war, 20% vote
d) Support war, 10% vote
e) Support country X, 15% vote
f) Support free healthcare, 30% vote
g) Support more parks, 20% vote

What does this mean? Currently, politicians organize themselves into parties, and each individual voter decides. Voters, being unorganized, have very little influence on politicians.

For a democracy based on competing issues, voters organize themselves into issue-voters and the politicians decide. This has a very strong advantage. Voter preferences on issues are clearly stated, and politicians can clearly do their job to support voters.

So what is stopping this from developing? Nothing. It does need passionate activists. Look at the Swiss basic income initiative or the EU basic income initiative. They gather signatures to force a referendum in Switzerland or to plead with the EU Parliament to consider the issue. They could just as easily gather signatures to form a basic-income voting block. If they can claim a 10% or even 5% voter block in any country, they will be a force that cannot be ignored.

In a competing parties democracy, politicians actively court voters, "Vote for us, and we will do this and this."

In a competing issues democracy, issue voters actively court politicians, "Do this, and we, 10 million of us, will vote for you."

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