National Juries

The reason so many bad policies are good politics is that so many people vote. … Ignorant voters … are biased towards particular errors. …

The best way to improve modern politics? … The number of voters should be drastically reduced so that each voter realizes that his vote will matter. Something like 12 voters per district … selected at random from the electorate. With 535 districts in Congress … there would be 6,420 voters nationally. A random selection would deliver a proportional representation of sexes, ages, races and income groups. This would improve on the current system, in which the voting population is skewed … the old vote more than the young, the rich vote more than the poor, and so on.

To safeguard against the possibility of abuse, these 6,420 voters would not know that they had been selected at random until the moment when the polling officers arrived at their house. They would then be spirited away to a place where they will spend a week locked away with the candidates, attending a series of speeches, debates and question-and-answer sessions before voting on the final day.  All of these events should be filmed and broadcast, so that everyone could make sure that nothing dodgy was going on.

More here.  This logic is simple and strong enough for most folks to both understand and accept.  Yet most would still prefer our current system – why?

My guess: aside from status quo bias, it just doesn’t feel like the political ideal in the back of our minds – how our nomadic forager ancestors long ago would meet every few months to make major band decisions.  All 5-15 men could talk, they wouldn’t break until they’d all had their say, decisions were by informal consensus of all, and dissenters could leave the band.

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