This year’s presidential elections have done a fantastic job of demonstrating all the problems with our current electoral system: Republicans have acted in lockstep defiance of anything coming out of Democrats’ mouths for so long that they absolutely refuse to agree in public with anything Democrats propose. If, at this point, the Democrats proclaimed that the sky was blue, the Republicans would talk themselves into a stroke arguing that it was, in fact, periwinkle or ultramarine.
As a result of this “anti-Democrat” stance, they’ve allowed the nomination of Donald Trump, a racist, misogynist, selfish, failing businessman who stands for none of the values of the party beyond “all the money for me” (and let’s be honest: It’s only because that stance is so entrenched into Republican dogma that it’s taken them so long to finally denounce him). Yet, even though they now denounce their own candidate, they can’t replace him… and they won’t actually go so far as to tell the American people to vote for the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton. “He’s a moron… but he’s ours, and he’s still (somehow) better than her” seems to be their current attitude..
And as undesirable as the two choices may be to many voters, there are no other real choices, as the system effectively blocks candidates of other parties from having a real shot at the presidency by limiting their possibilities of exposure with the American public, as well as organizing an electoral college system that is unfriendly to third parties.
However this election comes about, I hope that it will serve as a clarion call for the people and our government to accept that our present government system, based on the ideals of men 200 years our seniors, is long overdue to be brought into the 21st century where it belongs.
I’ve spoken on this subject before: My primary argument is that the overall format of our government, including our election process, is based on the world of 1776, when we traveled about on horseback, it took weeks to travel between Boston and Washington, and many American citizens heard about the latest news perhaps months after it happened. Our communications technology has improved enough in that time that the weeks and months of time we’ve baked into many of our processes can effectively be limited to days. We should restructure that system to take into account these advances.
We’ve also barely progressed beyond paper ballots and simple identification systems. ID technology, especially biometrics, and computer-based, redundantly-verified tabulation systems must be brought fully to bear on the voting system itself, allowing the system to tabulate results in realtime, and allowing voters to vote in a localized polling place, in their homes, or even via cellphone from anywhere in the world. As with communications technology, we have the digital and ID technology to put a new system in action today.
Also, we’ve allowed our electoral system to form into two overriding parties that are now powerful enough to control the electoral process itself… including making it nearly impossible for other parties to have the same opportunities that the two major parties have. This was never intended by our founding fathers, as it puts too much power in the hands of the majority players and literally shuts out minority parties from equal participation. As many of us now see that neither of the two parties represents us well, it’s time to rewrite electoral process to make sure multiple parties have equal opportunity to represent themselves to the people, giving them a fair shot at being elected.
Conjoined to this is the role the news media plays in the electoral process: Essentially influenced or outright controlled by the major parties, or driven by sponsor-based sensationalism, the news media plays a ratings-popular but ultimately inane “us-against-them” program, even avoiding informed review of the process in favor of headline-grabbing sound bytes and titillation-factor comments by celebrities and people on-the-street who know nothing about politics and less about political figures. The media has turned the news into a ratings-driven three ring circus; it’s time to close that circus and divorce news from sensationalist media, so we can again depend on our news reporters to do the job of accurately reporting the news to the public.
But perhaps most importantly, I believe it’s time for us to move to a new overall system of government that utilizes computers to collect and tabulate data from every state, and writing laws based on that data. My earlier post details the structure of a Logocracy, wherein the computer system would essentially replace the human representatives in Congress and the Senate, repurposing the congressional staff to ordering and collecting the data for the logocratic computer system. Updating our present government system into a 21st century structure, one that can keep track of the ever-complex and ever-changing needs of our country much better than politicians more interested in lobbyists’ “donations” than in the good of their country, is long overdue, and—with the existence of modern computers—now possible and desirable.
Maybe my outline wouldn’t be the best next step in American government… maybe you think some other system would be better. But what’s important is that now is clearly the time to open discussions on the issue, while the wrecked heap of twisted metal that is our present government system is still smoldering before us. Because I don’t know about you, but if I knew our next presidential elections were going to look as bad as this year’s elections, I’d be making sincere plans to move to Aruba.