Yay! A party!

There are three equal and seemingly contraditory critiques I frequently make of our system:
1) The fact that the media and the mysterious “Party bosses” basically pick candidates (e.g., everyone knew in 2007 that 2008 would be Obama v. McCain).
2) The fact that we don’t use the party system and the electoral college the way they were intended.  Parties were originally literally “parties”: people would gather at salons to discuss politics.  Candidates would go to those meetings, and people would vote based upon character and knowing the candidates. Since it was impossible for everyone in the country, even then, to personally meet even the candidates for US Senate, much less President, Senators were elected by state legislatures and Presidents by the electoral college.  We’re also supposed to be “parties” in the sense of emphasizing common cause.
3) That Socrates said democracy can only work by conscription.
Let’s put all those together.

We live in an age when anyone can talk to anyone through email or social media.  Delegates should not be mysterious figures but people we know.  Voters should have to join the parties they want to support and meet the delegates who will represent them.

Imagine if candidates did old-fashioned door-to-door canvassing, or its online equivalent (not these annoying spam messages).

Most importantly, imagine if, instead of sniping at each other with negative campaining and “debates,” candidates had to focus on their credentials and their positions.  What if all voting was based upon ISidewith.com and a simple resume?  And then, what if the primary gave options for where you’d like a candidate to serve, so for example, Ben Carson as Surgeon General or Secretary of HHS; Carly Fiorina as Secretary of the Treasury; and so on. People would choose the candidates they felt were truly best qualified and best representing them, while also voting or the cabinet roles.  Then, when the general election comes along, it would be a unified alliance versus a bitter, divided group of factions reluctantly voting for the “lesser evil.”

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2 responses to “Yay! A party!

  1. While you make great, ideal points, they may be slightly impractical. Delegates do in fact represent smaller constituencies that allow people to know them on a personal level, unless you are referring to super delegates whose votes are worth thousands of average votes, but I still believe that information on super delegates is disclosed. Also, political parties have evolved. The current definition of a party is a group of people with similar ideologies that does attempt to get a candidate elected into office. Without the latter portion of that statement you would be more of an interest group. The constitution gives bureaucratic powers to the president for a reason, a unified executive branch is crucial to the US system of checks and balances as the president is chief executive and must oversee the implementation of laws. I also believe that the widespread media of today’s world is a beautiful thing. Yes it is almost always subject to bigotry, but it is up to the people to take advantage of the tools they have been given separate the truth from the crap. I like your points though. If you’re interested I’m going to be posting a fair amount of political dabbling and I love to get another viewpoint on things. Thanks!

  2. First, the delegates you are referring to represent smaller constituencies and are known on a local level. If you are referring to super delegates then I believe that information is disclosed. Parties are informal institutions and have no constitutional affiliation, giving them great control over their operations. I think the more contentious issue is the level of bigotry to which the public is subjected by the media. I agree that more focus should be placed on policy and qualifications, but a primary in which the people nominate cabinet members/ department heads is not a good idea by any means. The constitution gives the president control over the bureaucracy because it is essential for implementing policy efficiently. Your view is idealistic and very assuming of the political participation of the American people. Such a primary voting system would result in even less voter participation. Overall good ideas and good points though.

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