Polycentric Wanderings

Keith's random and sundry thoughts on the challenges of working together.

Month: May, 2013

The problem of “politicial intel”

Thank God this isn’t a post about political intelligence, but intel.

It turns out that the game of micro-targeting voters has become quite a lucrative business.  And it makes sense for political candidates seeking to maximize their time and voter turnout.

The problem is that market and bureaucratic logic penetrate the game (the game being elections).  This  ends up in a game of lazy democracy wherein citizens are reduced to quantifiable units (voters) mobilized to vote every other November, with no real engagement of the public will.

Personally, I would love to see the system reformed in some manner that limits the amount of micro-targeting allowed by political candidates.  I think it would push candidates to reach out to a broader swath of the citizenry.

The reality is that electoral reform is nice in theory, but when we count on those subject to the rules (candidates) to make the rules (also lawmakers), we shouldn’t be surprised that electoral reform has by and large been a miserable failure.

Why aren’t we talking about expanding democracy?

Recently, Colorado passed a bill allowing for vote-by-mail.  As one could predict, the state GOP is apoplectic over voter fraud.  A number of studies have rejected the concern of voter fraud, yet the narrative persists.

I think this is a great step forward for democracy, but it ain’t much.  As best as possible, we need to move beyond mere voting, and into public participation for the provision of public goods.  But the discourse needs to radically shift.  In order to maintain and advance our democracy, we need a public dialogue on the subject.

It is not something I expect to see for quite a while.  Or at the very least stemming from government politicians.