Running Government

How would switching from a Representative Democracy to a Direct Democracy work?  We might keep Representatives, Senators,  and other elected officials  in office, but grant them almost no power, insofar as they would only play the roles of bill sponsors, debaters, advisors, administrators and diplomats.  Each representative would be bound to votes on each bill according to the will of his/her constituents. Such a system would be a hybrid between a Direct Democracy and a Republic.

Simplifying legislation In order for Direct Democracy to work, the process of voting on bills must be simple enough to be inclusive.  But not so simple that people vote on bills the way they like Facebook posts, without investigating alternatives. The length of bills might be restricted to a few pages;  each issue should be voted on independently, so that citizens are not forced to vote for what they do not want in order to get what they do want. How might a Direct Democracy limit the number (and types) of bills put forward?

Online voting vs. paper ballots  Since online voting is possible now, it makes Direct Democracy more feasible today than it was when our country was founded. Anti-fraud measures, such as the verification chain procedures used for Bitcoin, might be implemented. Alternatively, voters using traditional polling locations might assign a multi-digit alphanumeric secure password to their vote and check it later against an online record of all votes. The problems posed by the logistics of full voter participation are not as insurmountable as the corruption that exists in the current system.

Campaign financing  If the people had the vote instead of the politicians, there would be no real power for powerful lobbyists to try to buy from elected politicians.  But powerful groups might still try to buy decisions on bills by advertising for or against a bill that is up for the popular vote. Should the U.S. follow the example of a few other countries and make spending money on bill campaigns, referendums, and lobbyists illegal? How would democracy fare if there were no campaign donations, no paid advertising, no paid campaign staff or paid petition gatherers? How would this be enforced?  What are the ways in which a money-free campaign system might still be corrupted? How might these concerns be addressed?

Free Speech  Democracy requires free speech, and when the majority of  media outlets are owned by the same few corporations, free speech is compromised.  Should the government intervene to protect the flow of free speech by breaking up media companies? Or are there some things that the government does now which tend to promote mergers and monopolies among media companies?

Correlating Services with Taxation Many people approve of collecting taxes in order to pay for the services that they think are necessary.  But what do we do when the taxes do not go toward the programs we support?  With a Direct Democracy, the source of funding for every government service that is approved would have to be decided upon with its approval.  Citizens would not be able vote for more services and lower taxes.

Protecting minorities  In a Direct Democracy the majority vote might be opposed to the minority vote, and the majority is not always right.  The majority might vote for racist policies or wars of aggression or legislation that goes against the moral view of a minority.  How does a Direct Democracy protect the minority?

Privatization of government services Should the government contract out its services?  Should the government only contact to non-profit companies? or to employee-owned and run companies?  If private corporations can provide services with higher quality at a lower price, how would a Direct Democracy monitor that spending?

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