THE GLOBAL SOCIAL NETWORK FOR VOTERS

Empowering Voters to Control Elections and Legislation
and Re-Invent Failed and Failing Democracies

Surmounting Global Crises

The political organizing platform of the Global Social Network for Voters empowers voters worldwide to gain control of their governments and political parties to resolve domestic conflicts and global crises simultaneously -- for example, climate disruption and government failure to prevent it.

Voters can use the platform's privacy protection and political organizing tools to form online voting blocs, political parties, and electoral coalitions. They can act locally and internationally simultaneously, working within and across nation-state boundaries. They can reach out to voters across the ideological and partisan spectrum to build consensus, devise common legislative agendas, and elect lawmakers in multiple jurisdictions and countries at the same time to implement their agendas.

Blocs, parties, and coalitions can pressure lawmakers to enact their agendas by conducting and publishing the results of online petitions, referenda, initiatives and recall votes -- and by replacing unresponsive legislators they oppose in upcoming elections.

Strengthening voters' electoral and legislative capacity to control their governments is indispensable to resolving global crises at home and abroad. Foremost among these crises are the threats to the planet's capacity to sustain life caused by human activities that disrupt complex, interdependent, natural ecosystems. Voters at the grassroots where they are directly experiencing the consequences of such crises in their daily lives will be able to connect to voters everywhere to devise common legislative solutions to climate emergencies that work within and across nation-state boundaries.

Responding to Global Demands for Change

Public opinion polls indicate climate disruption is now a top concern among voters in growing numbers of countries because they realize it is a crisis threatening their lives and planetary sustainability. This concern is intertwined with an equally grave concern about voters' inability to control their governments and compel elected officials to take action to prevent dire emergencies. These include catastrophes caused by extreme weather worldwide and multiplying the numbers of "climate refugees" who are being displaced from their homes and communities.

The result is a global outpouring of demands for immediate and radical changes on multiple fronts. These demands are propelled by widespread public loss of trust in government, in specific elected officials and their political parties, as well as by voters' rejection of traditional electoral and legislative processes for voicing their demands. They especially include undemocratic ways and means politicians utilize to get into office and remain there for years, and even decades, despite public disapproval of their actions and demands for change.

These escalating popular demands are causing millions of people worldwide -- Europe in particular -- to adopt alternative, countervailing strategies, such as street demonstrations and disruptive protests, to goad unresponsive governments into taking action to prevent global emergencies such as climate disruption.

Unfortunately, these efforts have yet to succeed in stemming the tide of such lethal threats as melting ice sheets, rising sea levels, and catastrophic damages wreaked by more powerful and frequent floods, hurricanes, tsunamis and tornados that are displacing tens of millions of people.

A key reason for their lack of success thus far are the crippling impediments that have been inserted into electoral and legislative processes by political parties and special interests. These impediments undermine voters' ability to exercise their political sovereignty at the polls, by electing lawmakers of their choice and overseeing their legislative actions to ensure they enact voters' legislative priorities.

Strengthening Weakened Democracies

Voters' inability to elect responsive governments is reflected in research findings indicating that the number of people living in fully functioning democracies declined by half within 3 years, from 8.9% in 2015 to 4.5% in 2018, according to the Democracy Index of The Economist.

More than half of the world’s population lives in authoritarian regimes or hybrid regimes, with authoritarian trends increasing worldwide even in countries previously considered fully functioning democracies.

In 2016, the U.S. fell into the category of "flawed democracy" where it remains, and in 2018 fell into 25th place in the global rankings of 165 countries.

The Global Social Network for Voters empowers voters to strengthen weakened democracies by circumventing the multitude of intertwined laws, regulations, court decisions, and legal and illegal practices that prevent the population at large from controlling their governments, political parties, elections, and legislation.

The system-changing tools of the network were devised on the basis of evidence demonstrating the divisive role played by political parties that fuel conflicts even though most voters, on the whole, are largely in agreement regarding priorities. They are willing to compromise in order to prevent political parties from engaging in legislative stalemates. (See Fiorina, PhD [2008]; Stern [2017]).

Primary causes of weakened democracies include:

  • The growing gap between voters' needs and priorities and the legislative priorities and actions of elected lawmakers.
  • Voters lack of control over political parties' operations and actions that determine who gets on party ballots in primary and general elections.
  • Voters lack of systematic mechanisms for articulating their legislative priorities across the board and influencing the priorities included in party and candidate legislative agendas.
  • In general elections, voters are typically compelled to choose among unrepresentative party candidates who have won primary elections because of the financial support of special interests and the participation of a small minority of voters often mobilized by special interests.
  • In U.S. elections, dissatisfied voters have few genuine choices because of the hurdles erected by the two major parties to prevent the emergence of competitive parties whose candidates have the resources they need to win elections.
  • Voters' votes have scant overall impact on the composition of legislative bodies because they reside in election districts whose boundaries have been changed (gerrymandered) by political parties to remove voters likely to vote against their candidates, scattering and splintering their votes among losing districts.
  • Many eligible voters are prevented from actually casting votes, and many of the votes that are cast are not counted, due to election laws, regulations, hackable voting technology, as well as legal and illegal practices. These skew the results of elections so that candidates can be elected with a minority of votes cast -- which represent an even smaller minority of the total of all eligible voters.
  • Voters' needs and priorities are subordinated by elected party representatives to those of special interests that finance party and candidate electoral campaigns, in exchange for party representatives' votes on legislative issues.
  • Voters' electoral and legislative disempowerment by political parties leads to the passage of policies that exacerbate inequalities in the distribution of income and wealth -- which in turn prevents large segments of the population from obtaining basic necessities, such as adequate and affordable healthcare, financial security, and educational opportunities.
  • Voters are unable to control legislative bodies that are paralyzed by political conflicts and stalemates often contrived by political parties, party candidates, party legislative representatives, and special interest campaign contributors -- particularly those aimed at sparking “culture wars” to win elections.

Even after the recent 2018 mid-term U.S. elections, the voter-lawmaker disconnect persists. Post-election polls show most U.S. voters do not think Congress represents. Nor do they think Congress is doing a good job or headed in the right direction. Half of registered voters do not think Congress represents their political views, including Democrats, Independents and Republicans. (See: "Most Americans Don’t Feel Well-Represented By Congress [2018].")

It is noteworthy that one likely consequence of voter disempowerment is the fact that only about half of all voting age adults turn out to vote in the U.S. While this phenomenon is undoubtedly caused by many factors in addition to disempowerment, the chronically low rate of voter turnout in U.S. elections puts the U.S. at the bottom of the ladder compared to its peers among highly-developed, reputedly democratic states. (Pew Research [2018] "U.S. trails most developed countries in voter turnout").

In the U.S., the deeply entrenched underpinnings of voters' loss of control of government are embedded in a multitude of federal, state, and local laws, court decisions, regulations and practices -- legal and illegal. Recent research and analyses conclude the U.S. is governed not by majority rule but by minority rule that may continue for the foreseeable future. Yale University professors Markovits and Ayres summarize these findings in "The U.S. is in a state of perpetual minority rule", Washington Post [2018].

These findings are supported by prior research by Hacker and Pierson [2010], and Gilens and Page [2014], which concluded that "economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence".

What is occurring in the U.S. and many weakening democracies throughout the world runs counter to significant evolutionary transformations that have been steadily occurring throughout human history. These transformations include patterns of social progress towards greater egalitarianism, cooperation, consensus-building, and “bottom-up” power-sharing. (See Keltner, PhD, "Survival of the Kindest" [2015].)

From infancy through adulthood, it has been found that self-determining individuals in egalitarian groups tend to cooperate, build consensus, share power and reduce inequities — rather than compete, spawn divisive factions, concentrate power and exacerbate inequities, which appears to be political parties' typical modus operandi. (See Keltner, PhD, "The Power Paradox: The Promise and Peril of 21st Century Power" [2017].

In the realm of politics, these egalitarian norms will have the tendency to foster compromise and tolerance unless they are counteracted by political parties and special interests that tend to foster intolerance, divisive conflicts and inequities in their quest for various forms of power, influence and status. Polarizing stances appear characteristic of many parties worldwide as well as in the U.S., similar to many types of groups and organizations that exhibit the tendency to "go to extremes" in the stances their members adopt -- especially in their opposition to outside groups (See Sunstein [2008], Going to Extremes: How Like Minds Unite and Divide.)

To counteract these tendencies, voter-created and democratically controlled and managed political parties hosted on the Global Social Network for Voters can use the network's agenda-setting, consensus-building and political organizing tools to engage in continuous “bottom-up” consensus building and compromise with voters across the ideological and political spectrum. By so doing, they can act as countervailing political organizations that neutralize and work around undemocratic political parties and special interests that all too often deliberately spark conflicts in order to gain electoral advantages and increase their influence over legislation.

The two major U.S political parties are not alone in exhibiting these tendencies, which characterize political parties in many countries. One of the primary reasons for this pattern, according to the work of the noted European sociologist Robert Michels at the opening of the 20th century, is that traditional political party structures, as originally conceived and operationalized, are inherently undemocratic.

While parties’ original function was claimed to be that of empowering voters to convey through their votes the “will of the people”, Michels’s in-depth research showed that most parties tend to evolve into organizations controlled from the “top down’ by party, economic and financial elites, and special interests who use parties to advance their interests rather than voters’ interests. In the process, they usurp voters’ power and influence within the party and thereafter in party-controlled elections and governing institutions, using party rules and activities to increase their own power, influence and wealth.

Creating a Global Network Interface for Voters

Voters worldwide will be able to access the Global Social Network for Voters via its website, VotersUnited.Global. The site will enable voters to quickly learn how to use its political organizing, consensus-building, and agenda setting tools by playing a multiparty online game of electoral strategy, the Citizens Winning Hands Game.

Reaching Out Around the World

Life-threatening crises and emergencies, such as those caused by climate disruption and extreme weather, require legislative solutions that can be implemented simultaneously in multiple contries. The Global Social Network for Voters provides voters worldwide a single platform for consensually devising domestic and international legislative policies and solutions for surmounting such crises. Voters will be able to enact and implement their legislative plans within and across nation-state borders by building and managing voter-controlled voting blocs, political parties and electoral coalitions. The network will enable them to:

  • Connect to each other within and across national borders so they can simultaneously resolve international and domestic issues and conflicts.
  • Form voter-controlled voting blocs, political parties, and electoral coalitions that operate internationally and domestically.
  • Build consensus across ideological and partisan lines to set common transpartisan legislative agendas resolving international and domestic issues and conflicts.
  • Implement voters' international agendas domestically by nominating and electing candidates of their choice in their home countries to enact the agendas.
  • Oversee, guide and direct the legislative actions of elected representatives in their home countries to enact international as well as domestic agendas.
  • Propose specific legislation for enacting international as well as domestic agendas by conducting online petition drives, referendums, and initiatives, and directing their elected representatives to pass this legislation.
  • Conduct recall votes to warn elected representatives when their legislative actions risk their defeat in upcoming elections.
  • Hold elected representatives accountable at the ballot box for their legislative actions by mobilizing their voting blocs, political parties, and electoral coalitions to conduct winning get-out-the-vote campaigns to elect candidates of their choice.

About

Re-Invent Democracy, Inc. and its Global Social Network for Voters do not espouse ideological or partisan views. The Company does not align with governments, political parties, or candidates, or accept funding from governments or agencies funded by governments.

Copyright © 2019 Re-Invent Democracy, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.