Monday, June 21, 2010

Word of the Day - Demarchy

When I'm researching - which is more than just a hobby - I discovered the word "Demarchy." The word intrigued me simply because it was the result of searching why third party candidates are not a good idea.

"History has proven that Third Party Candidates do not win, and we are in this to win. Not a single founding father wanted political parties, yet we saw 4 of the founders: John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, lead the development of 2 parties into existence before Washington even completed his first term. TWO parties... but not 3 or more parties. Why? Whenever "50% of the vote plus 1 more" wins EVERYTHING, people will eventually coalesce around 2 parties even when they DON'T want to do so... it's "Duvergers Law" and it's almost as unchangeable as gravity." (1)

"Duvergers Law" resulted in the definition: In political science, Duverger's law is a principle which asserts that a plurality rule election system tends to favor a two-party system. This is one of two hypotheses proposed by Duverger, the second stating that “The double ballot majority system and proportional representation tend to multipartism.”

The discovery of this tendency is attributed to Maurice Duverger, a French sociologist who observed the effect and recorded it in several papers published in the 1950s and 1960s. In the course of further research, other political scientists began calling the effect a “law” or principle. Duverger's law suggests a nexus or synthesis between a party system and an electoral system: a proportional representation (PR) system creates the electoral conditions necessary to foster party development while a plurality system marginalizes many smaller political parties, resulting in what is known as a two-party system.(2)

So what would happen if we decided to go the third party route?

The result of this is that people vote according to their impressions of the politician and party based upon political advertising, plus any other form of media that has influenced them. The problem with this is that people may not necessarily vote for the best candidate since they have not taken the time to examine whom to vote for.

A seductive feature of demarchy is that if political leaders were replaced on a regular basis with randomly selected citizens, it would reduce institutionalised corruption, party apathy and complacency as well as a history of party led entitlement, lack of choice and variety in political ideas in platforms. It could be argued that replacing politicians in this way would solve such problems.

As people would be randomly selected to act as representatives it would be less likely that the person involved would be part of a "party political machine."

The theory would state that a randomly selected person as a representative would not have to compromise their own beliefs in order to make political alliances and gain support, nor fear political reprisals in implementing tough or controversial legislation. However, as theory goes, there is no inherent guarantee, nor anything a priori in demarchy which guarantees this.

There is no proven link that long term political representation equals a larger amount of monetary loss through political corruption nor could it be proven that random citizens in office would end or limit corruption nor that corruption would increase.

An example of demarchy is the use of a jury of peers in criminal cases. The jury is normally a body of randomly selected citizens who decide the guilty or not guilty verdict, which is a prime example of demarchy. This is an example of sortition being used in one of the three branches of government, with citizens making moral decision and not policy nor its implementation. (3)

Are you sure you want to go the third party route TODAY?

I'm just sayin'.


1 comment:

  1. I would like to add a corollary to Duvergers Law. Let’s call it the "half of a vote corollary".
    The half vote corollary states that in US "plurality rule" elections, a vote for a third party candidate is half of a vote FOR the candidate that you would have voted AGAINST if there were only the two major party candidates in the race.

    Remember, we make changes by WINNING ELECTIONS.

    To paraphrase an old saw: Voting for a third party candidate is like wetting your pants while wearing a dark suit. It gives you a warm feeling, but nobody else notices and you end up with a big mess in the end.