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Random Congress, President

I'm not saying it's a good idea, but interesting
  (+4, -6)
(+4, -6)
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Sometimes I wonder if our political system would be any worse if our president and congress were selected randomly from the general population. I suppose there would have to be some minimal standards like they have now, be at least 30, not be a felon etc... but we couldn't make too many restrictions or people wouldn't find it fair. I know there are lots of idiots out there, but at least we would get rid of politicians being dependant on corporate influence for raising campaign money and get a truly representative government instead of mostly rich white males.
EdisonsTwin, Aug 16 2006

Draft First Term Representatives Draft_20First_20Term_20Representatives
[theircompetitor, Aug 16 2006]

congress_20as_20jury_20duty [jutta, Feb 09 2008]

[link]






       Would you really want Betty-Louise Plotnick from East Cupcake, Illinois as your president? If she's failed to get herself out of the trailer park, why should she manage the country any better?
angel, Aug 16 2006
  

       if even you're not sure if it's a good idea, why are you bothering to post it?
neilp, Aug 16 2006
  

       I think random selection can work as part of the system, but not as the whole of it; for example, a socialist politician once described the British House of Lords, with some accuracy, as '1000 men chosen at random from among the unemployed'.   

       You wouldn't want random Betty-Louise in an executive role, but having a random element in, say, the senate, might improve the process of sanity-checking the laws drafted by the bought-and-paid-for careerists in the House of Representatives (not saying that they're worse than politicians anywhere else, but that's what the system will tend to produce)
pertinax, Aug 16 2006
  

       It would be the best way to assure a representative sampling. Assuming we are talking USA, however, that is not what anyone wants.
GutPunchLullabies, Aug 16 2006
  

       I disagree that a representative sampling is undesirable. The problem of fairness in sampling can be traced back as far as the US election of 1800, where an "open revolt" against the two party system of the time (Federalist & Republican) was handed to the liberal republican element of the Republican party by act of Congress because the representative sample of electors at the time were trusted to act fairly but were in open conspiracy to bid their votes to secure their conservative candidate (Aaron Burr) the presidency. Had these electors voted their constituents' wishes and their conscience, rather than what happened, one can only speculate on who would have been our third president. Representative sample -- always a good idea.
reensure, Aug 16 2006
  

       While this is a terrible idea, it's not as bad as what we have now. +
ldischler, Aug 16 2006
  

       Not a representative sample of opinions, a representative sample of lawmakers. You would have, for example, a couple of prisoners, a couple homeless guys, a bunch of poor blue-collar workers. Throw in a few illegals to spice things up? That's what nobody wants.   

       How would we get protection for huge corporations and the ultra-rich?
GutPunchLullabies, Aug 16 2006
  

       As a more serious objection, what if our new president declared socks dangerous and immoral, and declared war on taiwan for sending hordes of socks to devour our citizens? At least now a universally undesirable politician will be voted AGAINST.
GutPunchLullabies, Aug 16 2006
  

       A good idea at first glance, this would result in the election of many people who have no education whatsoever in politics, laws, or diplomacy. Pick your average guy off the street and put him in a negotiating room with an experienced, cut-throat politician and watch how long it takes for him to give away the country. (-)
Voice, Aug 16 2006
  

       We trust the average man on juries, so why not in the legislature?
ldischler, Aug 16 2006
  

       I like my idea better for a couple of reasons:   

       1) It's mine. Go figure   

       2) It allows for a representative to stay in there if he/she serves well
theircompetitor, Aug 16 2006
  

       I agree with pertinax - you wouldn't want the *entire* government to be randomly selected, but one of the main problems with government now is that the only people that are in power are politicians, bought and paid for.   

       To make it really fun, make it part election, part lottery - your vote could win the office of lieutenant governor of South Dakota! And have nice prizes that you could take home from your stay in office.
+mw+, Aug 16 2006
  

       That's not a bad idea- Pick a politician randomly from the pool of votes? Statistically sound, but allows everyone's vote to maybe count!   

       And even the ability to write one's own name on a ballot is a better selection method than none at all.
GutPunchLullabies, Aug 21 2006
  

       Why not run it more like say the miss america pagent, Starting at a local level(say neighborhoods or districts) there would be a nomination process and amongst the nominee that accept you would then choose the top representitive, they would then move to a second round city or town election, followed to the county and then to the state, after that I think a regional election to narrow to 4 candidate then finaly a national election for president, the second place are your senators, Third place (county level) become your House of reps. Allow campain activity only in the area effected by each vote and have a cap on funds that would be useable at each level(preferably the funding would be provided by the public entity at each level each town rep gets $500 say and each State rep get $50000 national levels get $500000) then there is no corporate interface.   

       The entire process could be scheduled to take place over the course of several weeks with limited and defined periods in which to campaign at each step.   

       Finally, Each person would be limited to the total times they can run for office so that dynastys do not emerge.   

       I think Random is dangerous but a representitive election could be very good.
jhomrighaus, Aug 21 2006
  

       //You wouldn't want random Betty-Louise in an executive role//

I disagree. The average person is perfectly capable of making sensible decisions. The difference between most people and politicians is political connections. The way to ensure that ludicrous ideas aren't passed into law (well as far as it's possible to ensure anything in politics) is to require a large majority in the house in order to pass an act through congress/parliament.

Unless you have 'ordinary' people in positions of power/influence then how on earth can politicians have any real common ground with the people that they supposedly represent?
DrBob, Aug 21 2006
  

       //The average person is perfectly capable of making sensible decisions.//   

       You're right there, [DrBob]; the trouble is, random selection will get you someone below average as often as not.
pertinax, Aug 22 2006
  

       You're a real cup half-empty kinda person aren't you! ;o)
DrBob, Aug 22 2006
  

       I'm still failing to see why a random person would be any less prone to corruption than a standard politician. The opposite in fact, as a politician is in the job as a career, and has a lot more to lose by being shown to be corrupt.
hidden truths, Aug 23 2006
  

       I think corruption is a lesser problem hear than basic competence. Politicians are not just decision makers they are also leaders. In general the percentage of people who can make effective decisions while providing leadership is relatively low. These traits are not super common in the populace. The issue comes when these leaders begin to lose their convictions and start to follow the money.   

       The problem with Random people is that there is a great chance that the person may not have the knowledge skill or ability to perform the job(heck with such system you could end up with an illiterate, phychotic 19 year old that thinks flying monkeys are after him, or a Hitler wannabe, etc.) These people would clearly not represent the mainstream population and would not follow the will of the country.   

       Clearly some sort of popular vote must be included to ensure that the chosen individuals have both minimum qualifications(the populace will not pick one of those people) and that their views are at least accepted by a majority of the population. This exponentialy lowers the odds of a complete fruit loop becoming president(imagine if Ted Kazinski, David Koresh, Tonya Harding, or worst of all Paris Hilton were president) In a random system the odds are equal that one of them would get chosen as they would be for the next JFK, FDR, Lincoln, etc.. This is not a happy thing at all.
jhomrighaus, Aug 23 2006
  

       //I'm still failing to see why a random person would be any less prone to corruption than a standard politician.//   

       I think there are two reasons, both connected with the process of fighting elections.   

       First, in any democracy, a person standing for office immediately comes under great pressure to be less than entirely frank about their real opinions, and over time this can easily develop into an ingrained habit of weaseliness.   

       Second, in the United States particularly, you cannot begin to fight an election without an enormous amount of money so, unless you're already a billionaire, you have to accept what amount to bribes even to reach the starting gate. (This problem also exists in other democracies, but to a lesser extent, for reasons to do with broadcasting laws and the U.S. First Amendment, I think)
pertinax, Aug 23 2006
  
      
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