The Ability to Formally Withhold Consent at Elections Leads to Real Democracy and Maximises the Common Good

How should society be organised, if at all?

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Post Reply
romanv
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:42 pm

The Ability to Formally Withhold Consent at Elections Leads to Real Democracy and Maximises the Common Good

Post by romanv » Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:36 am

Please critique.

Background: I advocate for a 'None of the Above' (NOTA) option to be on the ballot based on it being a prerequisite for democratic elections.

Definition of genuine representative democracy: The adherence to popular sovereignty, by which we mean, the authority of a state and its government are created and sustained by the consent of its people, through their elected representatives.

This is ‘real democracy’.

If that is the case then a democratic electoral model must allow people to withhold their consent, as otherwise obviously is not possible to give consent.

This is the function of NOTA. It allows people to withhold their consent for an election can declare a winner, and if over 50% choose this option in an electorate, e.g. MP constituency, that electorate can be said to have withheld their consent, so the election cannot declare a winner and must be re-run.

In the meantime, the seat remains empty and automatically registers as a ‘No’ vote for any proposed legislation as that is a true reflection of their will.

This is the conceptual framework that the reform is based upon.

Currently the electoral model can be summed up as ‘lead, follow, or get out of the way’. It is anti-democratic, and tends to authoritarianism with an out of touch political elite who have far too much room to pursue their own petty agendas, or sell the voting public out to wealthy donors.
This fault can only be remedied by a NOTA option.

What is the benefit of a ‘real democracy’?

If the NOTA option is implemented following the tenets of real democracy, it will lead to the maximization of the common good (policies, decisions, and actions by the state that are beneficial to most or all members of that nation).

How would one know if the common good has been maximized?

Voters have to live with the consequences of their decisions, therefore only they can be the final arbiters of the common good.

They will make choices that will be of benefit to them, and discard choices that make them worse off. Therefore, over time, they themselves will be able to steer society to a point where the common good has been maximized, if – and only if- they have the power.

NOTA provides that power.

How?

The NOTA option becomes a powerful voting bloc encompassing voters from all political stripes. It serves to unite all those who are dissatisfied, and ensures only a candidate with the consent of the majority can enter parliament.

This characteristic opens the path to the maximisation of the common good as candidates must constantly compete to keep people out of the NOTA bloc, and keep serving the voters who are not in the NOTA bloc, this pressure inevitably results in the maximisation of the common good in the long run.

NOTA is not just for people who don’t have anyone to vote for, its use extends much further.

It is also for voters who are voting for the least of several evils, voters who political party has no chance of winning, or is uncertain to win, people who have a preferred candidate or political party, but some aspect of either the candidate, or policy platform is unacceptable to them.
In fact, unless an election can guarantee a winner acceptable to the voter, then that voter can and arguably should choose NOTA until their conditions are met, as only then can the state be a reflection of their will, as it should in a real democracy.

Currently we have an elected oligarchy who bend the state to their will; we elect rulers, not representatives.

NOTA puts a stop to all that.

The inclusion of NOTA also prevents the use of negative campaigning as a tactic, as all negative campaigning will do is increase the share of the NOTA vote, so there no longer any tactical advantage in it.

It also removes money from politics, and the so the candidates who enter politics for financial gain, as once voters have veto power, money cannot buy results, and so will leave politics of its own accord and the voter will become truly sovereign.

The true power of NOTA is that it opens the political sphere to people who have talent and integrity who want to truly represent the voting public, but at the moment are not able to deal with the vicious and theatrical nature of the political environment. It takes the politics out of politics, and ensures it will only be focused on real issues that are of concern to the voting public.

Thanks for reading, please let me know what you think, especially is there anything unclear, or if you see a flaw in the reasoning, or anything at all really.

I have a co-authored a white paper on the topic and this is an extremely condensed version of it, much has been left out, but hopefully the salient points remain.

Impenitent
Posts: 2171
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: The Ability to Formally Withhold Consent at Elections Leads to Real Democracy and Maximises the Common Good

Post by Impenitent » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:40 am

3 people- 2 vote to make the 1 their slave... must obey the democratic process

utopia

-Imp

Walker
Posts: 6309
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:00 am

Re: The Ability to Formally Withhold Consent at Elections Leads to Real Democracy and Maximises the Common Good

Post by Walker » Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:23 pm

Impenitent wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:40 am
3 people- 2 vote to make the 1 their slave... must obey the democratic process

utopia

-Imp
Can't think of a better way to turn Wyoming into the nation's dump, err, landfill.

The centralized federal government could even turn a profit and bury China's garbage in Wyoming.

If North Korea had any garbage, the federalies could bury that too where no one goes, gratis, as a goodwill gesture.

User avatar
henry quirk
Posts: 4108
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 8:07 pm
Location: right here

Post by henry quirk » Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:34 pm

Roman,

I'm a big advocate for binding 'none of the above'.

It should be on every ballot of every election from the federal clear down to the municipal.

It'll never happen, though.

Why?

Cuz it makes too much damn sense, that's why.

Cuz the folks who are supposed to be our employees will never sanction it, that's why.

Why would they turn that kinda power over to 'us'?

No, they'll never repeal the ACA, never reduce the size and scope of bureaucracy, and never allow us to formally say 'I don't like any of you motherfuckers' by way of a binding 'none of the above'.

romanv
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:42 pm

Re: The Ability to Formally Withhold Consent at Elections Leads to Real Democracy and Maximises the Common Good

Post by romanv » Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:25 pm

Impenitent wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:40 am
3 people- 2 vote to make the 1 their slave... must obey the democratic process

utopia

-Imp
That cant happen in a real democracy.

If the state derives its power from its citizens, that means citizens must have power to give, to have power they must be free. If they are free they must have rights eg right to free expression, right to live without discrimination, innocent until proven guilty, right to a fair trial, right to free association etc. your rights can never be stripped in a real democracy. Your rights constrain the state. In a democracy there is an inherent limit to the power of the state. The power of the state rests on your rights, so it cannot strip those rights and still call itself a democracy, as it clearly becomes a tyranny in that case.

Popular sovereignty requires individual sovereignty.
Last edited by romanv on Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

romanv
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:42 pm

Re:

Post by romanv » Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:34 pm

henry quirk wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:34 pm
Roman,

I'm a big advocate for binding 'none of the above'.

It should be on every ballot of every election from the federal clear down to the municipal.

It'll never happen, though.

Why?

Cuz it makes too much damn sense, that's why.

Cuz the folks who are supposed to be our employees will never sanction it, that's why.

Why would they turn that kinda power over to 'us'?

No, they'll never repeal the ACA, never reduce the size and scope of bureaucracy, and never allow us to formally say 'I don't like any of you motherfuckers' by way of a binding 'none of the above'.
I am from the Uk, so I am not sure of the legal situation in the USA. In the white paper we demonstrate that the NOTA option is a requirement for democracy to exist, so it cannot be argued against, as that is arguing against democracy. We still have not entered the stage where the elites who rule us can come out openly against democracy.

We also posit that a NOTA option is a legal requirement, as the UK has signed the universal declaration of human rights and ratified the international covenant on civil and political rights, both of which state that for a government to have legitimacy it must be based on popular sovereignty. And popular sovereignty is not possible without NOTA.

Thats going to be the pitch anyway. Doesnt the declaration of independence state that the USA must be governed with the consent of the people? If so, a legal case can be developed for inclusion of NOTA on that basis.
Last edited by romanv on Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

romanv
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:42 pm

Re: The Ability to Formally Withhold Consent at Elections Leads to Real Democracy and Maximises the Common Good

Post by romanv » Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:46 pm

Walker wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:23 pm
Impenitent wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:40 am
3 people- 2 vote to make the 1 their slave... must obey the democratic process

utopia

-Imp
Can't think of a better way to turn Wyoming into the nation's dump, err, landfill.

The centralized federal government could even turn a profit and bury China's garbage in Wyoming.

If North Korea had any garbage, the federalies could bury that too where no one goes, gratis, as a goodwill gesture.
The English equivalent to Wyoming would be Watford. Imo anyway. :roll:

User avatar
henry quirk
Posts: 4108
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 8:07 pm
Location: right here

Post by henry quirk » Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:55 pm

"That cant happen in a real democracy."

In a real, or pure, democracy absolutely it can happen.

A democracy wherein protection and safeguards exist (in the form of an individual-preserving constitution or charter, for example) isn't really 'democratic' cuz the majority 'will' is blunted or denied when that 'will' goes against the provisions of the constitution or charter.

#

"NOTA option is a requirement for democracy to exist, so it cannot be argued against, as that is arguing against democracy"

You're right (in the sense NOTA preserves good governance), but it doesn't matter, not here in the U.S. and not there in the U.K.

The powers that be. here and there, will damn-well twist and ignore 'law' to suit themselves. They'll do so through the process and procedures internal to the legislative bodies, and they'll do so by flat-out breaking the 'law' the rest of us are held to. They'll never apply NOTA simply cuz it ain't conducive to preserving their power.

Again: I think binding none of the above is needed, is necessary, simply cuz I, Citizen Henry, should be able to formally tell the lot to go fuck themselves.

That option will never, in any large way, be offered by any government.

Walker
Posts: 6309
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:00 am

Re: The Ability to Formally Withhold Consent at Elections Leads to Real Democracy and Maximises the Common Good

Post by Walker » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:17 pm

romanv wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:46 pm

The English equivalent to Wyoming would be Watford. Imo anyway. :roll:
What's up with Watford?

If the US was a pure democracy, Wyomingians would be outvoted for the use of their land.
For city slickers, out of sight, out of mind, and NIMBY (not in my backyard).

Locals do lose autonomy another way.
Example: The federal government owns most of Nevada.
As with the hypothetical pure democracy that would outvote Wyomingians, the centralized US government does overrule the Nevada locals in land use decisions.

Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca_Mou ... repository

TimeSeeker
Posts: 2866
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:42 am

Re: The Ability to Formally Withhold Consent at Elections Leads to Real Democracy and Maximises the Common Good

Post by TimeSeeker » Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:34 pm

romanv wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:25 pm
That cant happen in a real democracy.

If the state derives its power from its citizens, that means citizens must have power to give, to have power they must be free. If they are free they must have rights eg right to free expression, right to live without discrimination, innocent until proven guilty, right to a fair trial, right to free association etc. your rights can never be stripped in a real democracy. Your rights constrain the state. In a democracy there is an inherent limit to the power of the state. The power of the state rests on your rights, so it cannot strip those rights and still call itself a democracy, as it clearly becomes a tyranny in that case.

Popular sovereignty requires individual sovereignty.
Is "real democracy" like "real socialism"?

Your rights are outlined in a constitution and constitutions can be amended with majority vote.
Therefore rights can be stripped.

Impenitent
Posts: 2171
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: The Ability to Formally Withhold Consent at Elections Leads to Real Democracy and Maximises the Common Good

Post by Impenitent » Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:43 pm

rights? the only thing that guarantees rights is superior firepower.

-Imp

commonsense
Posts: 948
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:38 pm

Re: The Ability to Formally Withhold Consent at Elections Leads to Real Democracy and Maximises the Common Good

Post by commonsense » Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:51 pm

Disclaimer: I am neither for nor against NOTA.
romanv wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:36 am
Definition of genuine representative democracy: The adherence to popular sovereignty, by which we mean, the authority of a state and its government are created and sustained by the consent of its people, through their elected representatives.

This is ‘real democracy’.
Well put. The problem remains, however, that, once elected, the representatives will operate autonomously, unless constituents are polled on every piece of legislation that requires the representatives to vote.
romanv wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:36 am
This is the function of NOTA. It allows people to withhold their consent for an election can declare a winner, and if over 50% choose this option in an electorate, e.g. MP constituency, that electorate can be said to have withheld their consent, so the election cannot declare a winner and must be re-run.
Currently, in the States anyway, those who withhold their vote are counted as the non-consenters. The problem is that some are merely demonstrating their apathy, while others are truly voting for no one to be elected. NOTA may identify these 2 groups as distinct, however the same problem, of apathy v votes in favor of no one, persists.
romanv wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:36 am
In the meantime, the seat remains empty and automatically registers as a ‘No’ vote for any proposed legislation as that is a true reflection of their will.
I hope you’ve already resolved this problem—laws are often expressed as prohibitions, again in the US anyway, e.g. “It is illegal for guns to be sold to someone with a mental health history.” Automatically registering a No vote could have dire consequences. On the other hand, an automatic abstention might be safer, although such a maneuver would seem to fly in the face of the NOTA concept.
romanv wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:36 am
The inclusion of NOTA also prevents the use of negative campaigning as a tactic, as all negative campaigning will do is increase the share of the NOTA vote, so there no longer any tactical advantage in it.
Not necessarily so. Negative campaigns are employed to strike fear in the hearts of voters, so much so that they will be motivated to vote against the target of the advertising. Voting for NOTA in this situation is a gamble. If NOTA gets too few votes, the feared target may win, or there may be a re-running of the election, in which case the feared candidate may win anyway. The most effective way to vote against the targeted candidate would be to vote for the negative campaigner, not for NOTA. Tactical advantage continues, to the dismay of all well-educated voters, who want to know what the candidates think about the issues and not what the candidates claim that their opponents think about the issues.
romanv wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:36 am
It also removes money from politics, and the so the candidates who enter politics for financial gain, as once voters have veto power, money cannot buy results, and so will leave politics of its own accord and the voter will become truly sovereign.
Money can still buy campaign ad’s, however I’ll concede that influence money once officials have been elected will dry up.
romanv wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:36 am
The true power of NOTA is that it opens the political sphere to people who have talent and integrity who want to truly represent the voting public, but at the moment are not able to deal with the vicious and theatrical nature of the political environment. It takes the politics out of politics, and ensures it will only be focused on real issues that are of concern to the voting public.
DIrty politics will continue, no matter what options the voters have.
romanv wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:36 am
I have a co-authored a white paper on the topic and this is an extremely condensed version of it, much has been left out, but hopefully the salient points remain.
I am hopeful that the white paper has already addressed the problems above. Would it be possible to post a link to the paper?

romanv
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:42 pm

Re:

Post by romanv » Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:58 am

henry quirk wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:55 pm
"That cant happen in a real democracy."

In a real, or pure, democracy absolutely it can happen.

A democracy wherein protection and safeguards exist (in the form of an individual-preserving constitution or charter, for example) isn't really 'democratic' cuz the majority 'will' is blunted or denied when that 'will' goes against the provisions of the constitution or charter.

#

"NOTA option is a requirement for democracy to exist, so it cannot be argued against, as that is arguing against democracy"

You're right (in the sense NOTA preserves good governance), but it doesn't matter, not here in the U.S. and not there in the U.K.

The powers that be. here and there, will damn-well twist and ignore 'law' to suit themselves. They'll do so through the process and procedures internal to the legislative bodies, and they'll do so by flat-out breaking the 'law' the rest of us are held to. They'll never apply NOTA simply cuz it ain't conducive to preserving their power.

Again: I think binding none of the above is needed, is necessary, simply cuz I, Citizen Henry, should be able to formally tell the lot to go fuck themselves.

That option will never, in any large way, be offered by any government.
Rights cannot be stripped in a real democracy. The conceptual framework of democracy clearly demarcates the limits of the power of the state. For a state to have democratic power, its citizens must have rights, and since the power of the state rests on those rights, it cannot strip them and still call itself a democracy.

I think this is important to understand. This definition of democracy is not something I came up with, but one that has been ratified by most countries in the world, our campaign is simply to get what we have all signed up for.

While I totally agree with your sentiment, if we want this reform to be implemented it requires an intellectual framework to legitimize it, so it can be advocated without being dismissed as being 'negative'.
Last edited by romanv on Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

romanv
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:42 pm

Re: The Ability to Formally Withhold Consent at Elections Leads to Real Democracy and Maximises the Common Good

Post by romanv » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:03 am

Walker wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:17 pm
romanv wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:46 pm

The English equivalent to Wyoming would be Watford. Imo anyway. :roll:
What's up with Watford?

If the US was a pure democracy, Wyomingians would be outvoted for the use of their land.
For city slickers, out of sight, out of mind, and NIMBY (not in my backyard).

Locals do lose autonomy another way.
Example: The federal government owns most of Nevada.
As with the hypothetical pure democracy that would outvote Wyomingians, the centralized US government does overrule the Nevada locals in land use decisions.

Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca_Mou ... repository
If you had ever lived near watford as I did you would understand. But the less said about watford the better. :)

I understand you better now, your issue is one of primacy between the state and federal level government. You can still have primacy of state government under popular sovereignty. Its a separate issue. This more about demonstrating that the conceptual framework of democracy means that the citizen must have more power than he does now.

Currently under the 'lead, follow or get out of the way model we elect our rulers, get the NOTA option in and we can elect our representatives. It is a sea change in the relationship between the state (government) and the citizen, in which the citizen finally has the upper hand.

I think what you have in your mind is what is called the 'popular vote' in the US, that is not democracy, without NOTA, that is mob rule, as that is just lead, follow, or get out of the way.
Last edited by romanv on Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:37 am, edited 3 times in total.

romanv
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:42 pm

Re: The Ability to Formally Withhold Consent at Elections Leads to Real Democracy and Maximises the Common Good

Post by romanv » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:40 am

Well put. The problem remains, however, that, once elected, the representatives will operate autonomously, unless constituents are polled on every piece of legislation that requires the representatives to vote.
Well that is an inherent characteristic of an electoral democracy. I personally would like to see more referendums, but yes, in the end you put your trust in an elected representative. Without NOTA these guys have too much leeway, with NOTA their room to maneuver is severely limited, they do what they were elected to do or will be forced out. NOTA is a stake through the heart of party politics killing it dead.
Currently, in the States anyway, those who withhold their vote are counted as the non-consenters. The problem is that some are merely demonstrating their apathy, while others are truly voting for no one to be elected. NOTA may identify these 2 groups as distinct, however the same problem, of apathy v votes in favor of no one, persists.
Can you tell me more? If they don't affect the outcome of an election, then they are not voting, but abstaining. These 2 groups are very distinct. There is nothing wrong with abstaining. I don't have an opinion on everything, as I don't have the knowledge, or stake in every issue. It's ok to abstain, but as for those who are forced to 'get out of the way', well, that is tyranny. No-one should every have to get out of the way of the state with no say. Their voice must be heard, and counted under a democratic mandate.
I hope you’ve already resolved this problem—laws are often expressed as prohibitions, again in the US anyway, e.g. “It is illegal for guns to be sold to someone with a mental health history.” Automatically registering a No vote could have dire consequences. On the other hand, an automatic abstention might be safer, although such a maneuver would seem to fly in the face of the NOTA concept.
Badly worded on my part, thanks for showing me that. What I mean is that the empty seat registers as a vote against every new piece of legislation put forward in the legislature, until a representative with the consent of the majority is elected, and has the democratic mandate to make a decision on behalf of his electorate. Without the consent of the majority he does not have a mandate and does not belong in the legislature.
Not necessarily so. Negative campaigns are employed to strike fear in the hearts of voters, so much so that they will be motivated to vote against the target of the advertising. Voting for NOTA in this situation is a gamble. If NOTA gets too few votes, the feared target may win, or there may be a re-running of the election, in which case the feared candidate may win anyway. The most effective way to vote against the targeted candidate would be to vote for the negative campaigner, not for NOTA. Tactical advantage continues, to the dismay of all well-educated voters, who want to know what the candidates think about the issues and not what the candidates claim that their opponents think about the issues.
I think we must disagree. You are right in that wily campaigners may find a way to inveigle a win through negative campaigning, even with NOTA present, but NOTA makes such a tactic much less viable. To counter, the other side will also fear monger. So it will be something like vote for me or stalin will get elected, against vote for me or hitler will get elected. Voters will just reach for the eject button of NOTA, and at the very least the tactic will become a very expensive gamble. it would be way better just to conduct a campaign based on policy in these circumstances.
Money can still buy campaign ad’s, however I’ll concede that influence money once officials have been elected will dry up.
Thank you, I think this effect is very important. Public life in all spheres will change for the better, once corrupt individuals can no longer make their fortune through politics. I don't think there is anything wrong with grass-roots money; its the big money that gets funneled in that is the problem.
DIrty politics will continue, no matter what options the voters have.
But dirty politicians can no longer win, or keep honest people out by turning politics into a sewer where only the biggest rats can win. We rightly despise politicians, but that bc they rule us through dirty tactics. Once we are able to elect people to can truly represent the electorate they will and should be the most respected members of our society. In a democracy it cannot be any other way. I cannot emphasise enough how undemocratic the current system is, what we have is not democracy. It is an elected oligarchy.

I would love to double or triple the salaries of people who get elected, so we get the most talented people working on challenges of representing us, but until NOTA is present there will be just too many sub-par individuals messing it up for everyone.
I am hopeful that the white paper has already addressed the problems above. Would it be possible to post a link to the paper?
It is being tweaked, and will be up in couple of weeks. I will post a link once it is ready. Over the course of the next year I want to do a 'lite' paper of 2 pages max, and put together a powerpoint presentation. Plenty of other plans, eg merchandise and branding. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Last edited by romanv on Fri Nov 16, 2018 5:25 am, edited 7 times in total.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Dachshund and 2 guests