The current gauntlet run by our candidates is meant to select the best man for the job. In a recent post, I discussed another (fictional) method used which had two features. First, the criteria was for the optimal candidate was structurally fixed, in that case it was the “best predictor” of future events. Secondly, given that criteria the government in question, again fictional, setup an effective means of selecting the best candidate for the job.

However, it seems that one criticism that might be leveled out our current system, especially given the current dismal crop of candidates over the last 5 or so elections, is that our method is perhaps maximally deficient.

It should be noted, that one good aspect our our system is that the criteria is left (in principle) to the voter. That is, each voter can decide on his own criteria for selection. Unlike the system noted above, what makes the optimal candidate is not is structural feature of the election process and the selection process (theoretically) is an averaging over each persons individual weighting of fitness of the candidate. And ideally speaking that is in fact what we are seeking. That the election/selection process find an optimal fit between every eligible voters criteria notions of fitness to the office matched against the pool of candidates willing to take office. If that is the ideal, it seems clear that the current system is far from that ideal. Aaron Burr we can recommend as one of the first to realize the implications of the Constitutional rules defining elections:

During John Adams’ term as President, national parties became clearly defined. Burr loosely associated himself with the Democratic-Republicans, though he had moderate Federalist allies, such as Sen. Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey. Burr quickly became a key player in New York politics, more powerful in time than Hamilton, largely because of the Tammany Society, later to become the infamous Tammany Hall, which Burr converted from a social club into a political machine to help Jefferson reach the Presidency. In 1799, Burr founded the Bank of the Manhattan Company, which in later years evolved into the Chase Manhattan Bank and later JPMorgan Chase.

From there, things one might argue have consistently gone downhill. The latest sallies in trying to right the ship, arguably have been the regrettable McCain/Feingold arguably un-Constitutional ideas regarding campaign finance (and perhaps the latest sally to not right the ship has been Mr Obama’s regrettable “swarm” tactics at getting illegal funding).

The Consitution was not written in the information age and it seems the ease and speed of information transfer might offer a solution to the problem, which was certainly impossible before this revolution. A possible solution to this might look something like the following:

  • An election is declared to be in process. This could be periodically as in four year terms or perhaps when a “vote of no-confidence” is established.
    The advantage of the latter is that the populus would not be stuck for years with a Congress with a 11% “approval” rating nor for that matter a President with an approval rating only twice as high.
  • The election process begins with anyone eligble for office submitting himself as a candidate. The weening process then begins. This is a two way process.
  • Each voter is responsible for setting up a criteria/question set that then operates on the list of candidates. The highest weighted candidate is his vote as well a sorting applied to the entire list. The criteria/question set or “mesh” is essential a citizen’s vote.
  • Candidates review lists of criteria and questions submitted by voters. Given those criteria they submit and refine their answers, which reflects and works back to alter the voter’s mesh population. We will term the candidate’s criteria/proposal set their platform.
  • In the “election” period working up to the final cutoff date (the election) voters modify and refine their meshes and candidates platforms until cutoff. A snapshot is taken … and likely mere seconds later a candidate will have emerged.

Election corruption and reform essential is limited to limiting the abillity of individuals or groups to “vote for” others, that is to set up their mesh for them as well as insuring that the algorithms and software used to match voter mesh sets and candidate platform sets are public, open, and reviewed.

Filed under: GovernmentMark O.

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