Friday, September 19, 2014

Political Ignorance and a Partial Solution

Political ignorance is a real problem with democracy as it is currently practiced. Unfortunately, it is entirely rational for a voter to spend little effort educating himself on the issues, since his individual vote has only a tiny influence on the outcome.

I have a cunning plan.

Revert to indirect election of senators. They would not be elected by the state legislatures, the method used before the 17th Amendment, since this created problems of corruption and deadlock. Instead, they would be selected by a jury randomly selected from all the citizens of the state.

This would have two advantages. First, each juror would have a lot of influence on the choice, and would have much more incentive to understand the candidates and issues.

Second the candidates wouldn't have to spend so much time raising funds for expensive general election advertising, and the influence of concentrated interests would be reduced.

If the system worked reasonably well for the Senate it could then be extended to the House of Representatives.

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