Bad Ideas About Democracy

Filtering a bit of pre-election stress by writing down some bad ideas about political systems. Examples are Canadian, but the ideas are as transferrable as they are generally bad.

– Draw deeply arbitrary (as in, random shapes greater than 10 km^2 and less than 1,000 km^2) districts every year, elect representatives accordingly.
– Every watershed is a district, every Köppen climate classification is a district.
– Allow each party to define their own districts, and let folks also vote for their specificity of representation – maybe those districts can overlap!
– Have districts of large or varying sizes that elect multiple or varying representatives.

Neighbours Matter:
– Ask other countries (or provinces?) to draw the boundaries for your districts – in return you get to draw their districts.
– All heads of state must come from outside the country – the Bernadotte method.
– A district votes to elect the representative for a neighbouring district – in either pairs, or in a wheel within a province, or at random.

Contrarian Libertarianism, via The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress:
– Form “districts” by age, or occupation, or at random. At-random within a larger boundary (say, a province of Canada) is an interesting idea – especially if those people could talk to each other and lasted for several years. The happy path here is that I, a coastal elite, might learn some compromise with a conservative voter from the Peace River.
– Elect a third house with the explicit job of repealing laws.
– Re-ratify each law every N years, or else it expires.
– The candidate with the least votes wins. Almost certainly not feasible, but you could have some fun whereby 1% of your house is picked from a random selection of last-place candidates (maybe over some threshold – 5%?).

Voting on Bills:
– Representatives get a certain number of votes per year, and can use more than one vote on an issue that they care about – like “dots” in Agile-speak.
– Representatives get a single “double vote” (or triple, etc) once a year.
– Representatives can exchange speaking time, or some other valuable commodity, for votes.

– Pick N representatives by lot. (open to abuse by lobbyists, alas).
– Everyone can be a representative if they want to be; the winner of the popular vote selects a cabinet of some size, or the popular vote picks an upper house, etc.
– There are no representatives – everyone can / must vote on every issue.
– Individuals can self-organize into groups (of some minimum size, probably) and ask for / require a representative.
– Every district has multiple representatives, but they only get a single vote, together. If they can’t agree on a position for a vote, they don’t get one. This one could be enough of the top candidates to get 50% or 75% of the popular vote, or every candidate except the winner, etc.
– Any candidate who scores more than 10% of the vote “wins” – with a number of votes in proportion. 50% = 5 votes, 10% = 1 vote, and so forth.

Term Limits:
Allow up to N terms for presidents, senators, etc – but raise the margin of victory required for each subsequent term. Second term requires +2%, third term +4%, fourth term 8%, and so on.
– There are no term limits, but everyone is limited to no more than N days (5,000?) in political office, at any level. This could also be split across local / provincial and federal offices.
– Every position has overlapping terms, e.g. President-Elect, President, Past President.

“No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time” – Churchill, 1947