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What follows is by no means some progammatic prescription, but merely an exploration to engage debate and get beyond stale formulas. In our exercise of the political imagination, there would be two central pillars in a post-party democracy:. This body would actively solicit public feedback through deliberative polling and process that feedback to formulate policies for voter consent through the direct democracy of ballot initiatives. In order to garner attention and support in large electoral districts with millions of constituents -- or at a national scale with tens of millions -- candidates must raise huge sums of money to pay for media buys, pollsters and campaign strategists.

If electoral districts were downsized to a human scale of large neighborhoods, as Thomas Jefferson envisioned in his idea of "district republics," this imperative would be eliminated and candidates could go back to people-to-people campaigning. The district republics would deal with issues in their own realm of life and competence, choosing delegates to elect the succeeding level of representatives with broader responsibilities and a wider scope of competence. If we use California as an example, the present arrangement of 40 members of the Senate and the 80 members of the Assembly could be combined into one non-partisan chamber with representatives.

By removing representational duplication in two houses, the size of districts would be reduced to , from about 1 million each. Each district of , could be divided into six neighborhood districts of 50, each. Each of the six neighborhoods would elect a delegate; those delegates from the six neighborhoods would, in turn, elect one representative for the state level.

The state level representatives would then nominate two contending candidates for governor from the legislature to be voted on by the entire state electorate.


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By law, each candidate would be given equal media time as a public good for their state-level campaign, thus reducing the need to raise vast campaign sums to make themselves and their proposals known to a very large public. By reducing the number of electors at each level, the need for campaign financing to reach large constituencies would diminish almost completely.

Above all, this new civic software would close the distance between the representative and the represented while involving individual citizens and diverse constituencies more meaningfully in elections where their vote really matters. Continuing the California example, the eliminated Senate could be replaced by a non-partisan Council of qualified experts combined with citizen representatives that could serve as the "second chamber," or upper house of the legislature.

This Council of 15 or so members would actively solicit citizen concerns and feedback on all issues by employing the latest advances in social science sampling and deliberative polling techniques along with new crowdsourcing and social networking technology. Deliberative polling draws on a scientific sampling of citizens indicative of the public at large. It then brings in experts to provide information and advice on the issues under discussion so those being polled become fully knowledgable in their opinions.

On the basis of this scientifically solicited and processed public feedback, the Council would formulate policy proposals that would be put to a vote of the entire electorate through a ballot initiative. In this way, public concerns could be aired and addressed in a way insulated from the special interest pressures and campaign imperatives of electoral politics. Yet, voter consent would still be required for any policy proposal to be implemented into law.

To ensure its independence and integrity, the Council itself would not be elected.


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  4. One third of the members would be appointed for set terms by the governor and one third by the lower house of the legislature elected in the human-scale, stepped system we have described. The other third would be composed of a rotating membership of citizens chosen, as in the jury process, by scientific sampling techniques indicative of the race, gender and regional makeup of the state.

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    No doubt, there are many permutations and refinements on this set of suggestive ideas. But they will appear less radical and more sensible as the systemic failure of American democracy deepens. So far, there are few signs that the system of money-fueled party elections we now have is able to mend itself.

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    Newsletters Coupons. We use MMP to choose who represents us in Parliament. Parliament has seats for its members of Parliament MPs. During an election, political parties try to win as many seats in Parliament as they can. The party vote largely decides the total number of seats each political party gets. Parties with a bigger share of the party vote get more seats in Parliament.

    Recent developments: the party system

    Parties also try to win as many electorate seats as possible. When you vote for a candidate, you help to choose who represents the electorate you live in.

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    This is called your electorate vote. The candidate with the most votes wins, and becomes an MP. Because MMP is a proportional system, the share of seats a party wins in Parliament is about the same as its share of the party vote.

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    This applies to big parties and small parties. Every candidate who wins an electorate gets a seat in Parliament. They are called electorate MPs. The remaining seats are filled from party lists.