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Stargazer43
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17 Aug 2019, 9:53 am

I've noticed a major flaw in the whole political process, and wanted to get everyone's thoughts on what could be done (if anything) to fix it. I see two major issues (although there are definitely more): the huge influence of money in politics, and the unwillingness of politicians to do anything that the public will disapprove of.

With respect to money, getting elected/re-elected requires extreme amounts of money for advertising, campaigning, etc. I doubt that even the wealthiest people have enough money to fund a campaign on their own, so they're required to get money from donors, their party, and anyone who will pay. To get that money, they have to do something in return though. For the party, they have to get in line with the party's doctrine. For donors, they have to vote for bills that benefit them. It basically turns into a vicious cycle where the interests of those who pay get prioritized far above and beyond anything else, purely because the politicians are required to do so for self-preservation.

The second is that politicians will rarely vote for anything that has widespread public dislike, even if it is a requirement. They also typically avoid putting funds into "mundane" things like infrastructure, simply because it isn't a "hot" topic. I think that the best example is taxes: I don't know a single person who wants to pay higher taxes, and the word itself has become almost a political death sentence. That said, it is basically the government's only income source, so if you are spending more than you're collecting, you have to either slash spending, or increase what you're collecting. I think that a big reason for our current budget deficit is related to this: they don't want to increase taxes because no-one wants to pay more money, and they don't want to slash spending because no-one wants their benefits reduced.



The_Walrus
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17 Aug 2019, 11:25 am

The issues are, of course, very different in different countries.

In general, I support the following:

- A proportionally-elected, unicameral Parliament. The leader of the party best able to command the support of a majority of the House becomes head of state and the leader of the executive, gaining responsibility for appointing ministers.
- Elections every four or five years, with absolutely all citizens (regardless of residence) and residents (regardless of citizenship) being entitled to an equal vote.
- A strong constitution which guarantees basic civil rights, and, where appropriate, minority protections, potentially including electoral seats. There should also be clear and reasonable guidelines on how an area can legal secede from the nation.
- A fully-independent judiciary capable of deeming laws or government actions unconstitutional.
- A strong electoral commission who are responsible for approving political adverts (which must be factually accurate) and enforcing campaign finance laws.
- A requirement that news organisations correct their mistakes in an equally-prominent way to the original mistakes.
- Devolution of decision making to the most local viable level - again, to proportionally-elected regional governments or local councils.
- International collaboration wherever mutually beneficial. Once again, this should be overseen both by proportionally-elected democratic representatives and by an independent judiciary.

I see the case for bicameral Parliaments but I am concerned that they lead to excessive gridlock and are less representative than unicameral Parliaments. They may be necessary in countries where minority representation is particularly important and where technocratic solutions (such as those in Northern Ireland) are not appropriate.

This system is inspired by what I see as the best elements of the British, American, French, German, and New Zealander political systems. I don't claim that it is one-size fits all, but generally it's the sort of system I would like countries to move towards.