THE GLOBAL SOCIAL NETWORK FOR VOTERS
Voting is a fundamental political right that preserves all rights.
U.S. Supreme Court, Yick Wo v. Hopkins (1886).
Global Democratic Decline, Popular Protests
Until the 21st century, democracy was proclaimed to be on the march around the world. But in the past two decades, growing global opposition to elected governments, legislation, and political parties have made it clear that democratic institutions and processes underlying representative forms of government have not withstood the test of time. (The Economist Intelligence Unit 2020).
Majorities of voters around the world are dissatisfied with how democracy is working in their countries, especially their systems of representation. (Pew Research 2019). They think elected representatives are corrupt and do not care what their constituents think. Their electoral experiences convince them most elections maintain the status quo no matter who wins and which party is in control of legislative bodies.
In the U.S., post-election polls following the 2018 mid-term elections indicate half of registered voters did not think Congress represents their political views, including Democrats, Independents and Republicans. (See: "Most Americans Don’t Feel Well-Represented By Congress (2018).")
Widespread voter disillusion is accompanied by declining voter turnout in the U.S. and worldwide. Only about half of all voting age adults turn out to vote in the U.S. While this phenomenon has many causes, the chronically low rate of voter turnout in U.S. elections puts the U.S. at the bottom of the ladder compared to other highly-developed democratic states. Pew Research (2018), "U.S. trails most developed countries in voter turnout").
In the U.S., the deeply entrenched underpinnings and consequences of voters' disempowerment and lack of electoral and legislative influence have led experts to conclude the U.S. government is characterized by minority rule rather than majority 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 Hacker and Pierson (2010) and Gilens and Page (2014), whose research indicates 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".
The global decline of support and voter turnout are accompanied by alternative forms of political engagement, including demonstrations, protests, boycotts, and even extra-legal actions.
The global proliferation of climate protest strikes led by school students attests to the difficulties of getting unresponsive and intransigeant lawmakers to take legislative action -- even in the face of widespread popular demonstrations and growing threats to the planet's capacity to sustain life.
One reason for their intransigeance appears to be ability of even unpopular lawmakers and candidates to gain and remain in elective office due to numerous obstructions that the two major U.S. political parties have inserted into electoral and legislative processes to prevent voters from controlling who runs for office, who gets elected, and what laws are passed. These obstructions include restrictive voting laws, including ID requirements and gerrymandered election districts to include voters likely to vote for party candidates, and exclude voters likely to vote against their candidates.
Another major cause of the "disconnect" between electorates and lawmakers is that the technological obsolescence of many representative forms of government, which contributes to legislative deadlocks and prevents political parties from solving conflicts and crises by building consensus across partisan lines.
Most U.S. electoral and legislative processes, for example, fail to use modern technologies to:
Obsolete and undemocratic institutions and processes engender violations of constitutionally and legislatively accorded voting rights, and erosion of U.S. voters’ power to exercise their political sovereignty. Political parties suppress votes and special interests make excessive and disproportionate campaign contributions.
Lacking modern consensus-building and social networking technology, electorates cannot define their legislative priorities or those of legislative bodies and elected representatives—in effect losing control of government.
Empowering Voters to Democratically Control Their Governments, Elections, Legislation, and Political Parties
The Global Social Network for Voters uses modern consensus-building and social networking technology to empower voters to resolve conflicts and crises such as climate disruption, legislative deadlocks, social media manipulation of public opinion, and cross-border conflicts. They can work cooperatively within and across election districts, as well as within and across nation-state borders.
For example, voters will be able to devise legislative solutions to two major global crises that are intertwined: climate disruption and legislative deadlocks fueled by political parties. Voters, particularly U.S. voters, tend to place higher priority than lawmakers on enacting legislation curbing human actions causing global catastrophes, and replacing fossil fuel-based economies with renewable energy-powered economies.
But most voters cannot compel lawmakers to stop climate disruption because they lack control over most lawmakers and, in the U.S., the two major U.S. parties they represent, which control electoral and legislative processes. They set their own legislative agendas, with scant voter input, and determine who runs for office on party ballots. With the help of special interest campaign contributions, the parties determine who wins elections.
Research shows U.S. voters tend to be largely in agreement about major issues, such as climate control, and willing to compromise to avoid legislative stalemates. (See Fiorina, PhD (2008); Stern (2017)). In contrast, the two major U.S. political parties, their candidates, and elected representatives hold highly divergent priorities that they are usually unwilling to compromise.
Their intransigence stems from a primary goal the two parties share, which is to defeat the other party’s candidates in elections so they can control legislative bodies, such as the U.S. Congress, and the distribution of benefits conferred by the legislation they enact.
The consensus-building technology of the Global Social Network for Voters will enable any individuals intending to vote, even if not presently registered to vote, and regardless of national origin or current location, to use the network's tools and services to join with other voters to:
Halting Social Media Manipulation of Public Opinion
A third crisis the Global Social Network for Voters empowers voters to overcome is social media manipulation of public opinion, especially with respect to their judgments about politicians and political parties.
Unscrupulous interests exploit social media to collect personal information about social media users. They identify user’s psychological susceptibilities to believe disinformation and perception-distorting political propaganda. These manipulations have been found to induce large numbers of unsuspecting people to adopt viewpoints they might not otherwise hold, and support parties and candidates whose stances may be contrary to users well-being.
The network provides voters an alternative to manipulative social media because it can be accessed only by registered users who have obtained verified, encrypted identities from the network. Trolls, bots, and foreign agents will be barred from the network.
Registered users and their voting blocs, political parties, and electoral coalitions can use network tools and services for evaluating information and deleting disinformation.
Network communication services and information processing tools enable registered users to gather, store, and process information they deem relevant to their efforts to build voting blocs, political parties, and electoral coalitions that empower them to democratically control their governments, elections, legislation and political parties.
Ending Cr0ss-Bordier Conflicts: Voters Acting Locally and Globally Simultaneously
A fourth crisis the Global Social Network for Voters empowers voters to overcome are political obstacles to the resolution of cross-border conflicts involving nation-states. Electorates exert little influence, if any, over the policies advocated by their governments and chief executives regarding cross-border conflicts. Their influence is especially weak with respect to policies and conflicts that involve the use of force rather than relie on diplomacy and non-violent solutions, even though it is these conflicts that can bring injury and death to the citizens who fight in them.
Here again, as with the 21st century decline of democracy, many contemporary cross-border conflicts reflect steps backward rather than forward in resolving conflicts peaceably without the use of force. After the end of the Cold War thirty years ago, and passage of non-proliferation agreements to forgo nuclear weapons, it was generally assumed diplomacy would prevail over the use of force by nation-states. Instead, global geopolitical conflicts have resurged without effective countervailing forces. Authoritarian heads of state unabashedly threaten to use nuclear weapons and other instruments of mass destruction against each other, while financing costly military build-ups.
Conspicuously absent from these threats and conflicts — even by leaders of assumedly democratic nation-states — is the voice of their constituents. Rarely, if ever, do these leaders systematically consult and elicit the views of the people they represent before they announce militant foreign policies that could lead to war — even though their constituents usually express preference for peace.
To reverse this life-threatening pattern, the Global Social Network for Voters provides voters worldwide a single platform for collectively and consensually devising and implementing domestic and cross-national legislative agendas, policies, and peace plans for overcoming such conflicts and crises.
It empowers electorates to exercise their political sovereignty to control their elected officials, including heads of state, by using the network's consensus-building and social networking technology to set common agendas and devise and implement peace plans to prevent or end conflicts involving the use of force.
Individuals and voters worldwide from countries around the world (whether or not they are registered voters) can use the network's political organizing tools to join together to devise conflict-resolving peace plans. To implement them, their multinational members can register to vote in election districts in nation-states where they are eligible to vote. They can transmit their agendas to lawmakers and pressure them to enact their agendas. They can use forthcoming elections to elect representatives to enact their agendas and peace plans — and defeat those who refuse to do so.
The network will enable them to:
A 21st Century Technology for Re-Inventing Failed and Failing Democracies
It is literally a matter of life and death, and the planet’s sustainability, that voters be empowered technologically to democratically control their governments. They must be able to use modernized democratic institutions and processes to solve the life-threatening crises that most governments have proved incapable of resolving — climate disruption, chronic legislative deadlocks caused by dueling political parties, social media manipulation and distortion of public opinion, and cross-border conflicts -- especially those involving the use of force and threats to use force.
The root causes of voter disempowerment and crippled democratic institutions are so numerous and intertwined that efforts to pass reform measures to neutralize each of them on a piecemeal basis are unlikely to bring bring about significant change within the foreseeable future. What has occurred incrementally over many decades in the U.S. and countries around the world is deliberate structural and systemic crippling of institutions and processes indispensable to democratic governance "of, by and for the people".
And even if significant reforms of many of these crippling mechanisms could be enacted, a major hurdle would still remain in effect preventing democratic self-governance by tens of millions of citizens and voters. The lack of effective consensus-building mechanisms would still leave democratic forms of government vulnerable to chronic electoral and legislative conflicts and deadlocks deliberately fomented by highly partisan political parties and special interests, preventing voters and lawmakers from reconciling their differences in order to devise solutions to surmount global emergencies and crises, such as climate disruption and political violence.
Nor will reforms change the fundamental disempowerment of voters by political parties that prevent their supporters and voters from defining and regularly updating their priorities and legislative agendas in writing, across the board, to ensure that lawmakers actually know what their constituents' priorities and agendas are. Only the Global Social Network for Voters can provide a global technological remedy for these crippling deficits.
Specifically, the network is an autonomous online political organizing, consensus-building, and agenda-setting platform empowering voters to restore failed and failing democracies not by passing reforms but by circumventing the multitude of intertwined laws, regulations, court decisions, and legal and illegal practices enacted at the behest of political parties and special interests to prevent populations at large from controlling their governments, elections, legislation, and political parties. These include gerrymandering, vote suppression, e-voting technologies that generate inaccurate results, and laws that enable special interests to provide the lion's share of campaign financing.
The network makes empowerment technologically feasible by using state-of-the-art technologies to empower voter-controlled online voting blocs, political parties, and electoral coalitions to perform all the classic functions that traditional parties perform. It enables voters worldwide to assume these functions without the interference of parties that undermine voters’ exercise of their political sovereignty. It combines the unprecedented agenda-setting, political organizing, and consensus-building tools of the Interactive Voter Choice System and the Interactive Voter Choice Global Networking System with the capabilities of group decision-assisting tools, social networking and crowdsourcing.
This combination will provide voters universally accessible, consensus-building mechanisms that do not currently exist. They enable electorates to unlock deadlocked democracies paralyzed by conflict-producing political parties and their elected representatives. These mechanisms empower voters to bridge ideological and partisan divides contrived by political parties and special interests to polarize electorates, increase their electoral strength, and expand their legislative influence.
As described above, the technology enables voters to collaborate cross-nationally to act locally and globally simultaneously, working within and across nation-state boundaries. They can reach out to voters across the spectrum to build consensus, devise common legislative agendas, and adopt common slates of candidates. Bloc, party, and coalition members can register in election districts in countries in which they are entitled to vote. These voters can join existing political parties or create their own, and endorse or nominate their own electoral candidates. By so doing, the over-arching cross-national blocs, parties, and coalitions can grow electoral bases large enough to elect lawmakers in multiple domestic jurisdictions and countries at the same time to implement common agendas.
Social networking and online crowdsourcing. It is well known that groups of self-organizing individuals working together can devise more effective solutions to problems than any of the individuals working alone, or than hierarchically, downwardly controlled groups devise, including corporations, political parties, and legislative bodies.
Research demonstrating this phenomenon is especially relevant to constituents of elected representatives in legislative bodies, e.g. the U.S. Congress, whose priorities tend to diverge from those of their constituents due to their dependence on special interest campaign contributions. Voters, in order to protect their lives from global crises such as climate disruption, must be able to act collectively and autonomously in self-organizing, online groups.
The Company’s network empowers voters to “crowdsource” their own self-organizing groups into online voting blocs, parties, or electoral coalitions to set legislative agendas that meet voters’ needs as they define them — in contrast to agendas devised by hierarchically organized parties and small groups of lawmakers without systematic voter input.
The agenda-setting, consensus-building, and political organizing tools and services provided by the network were devised to counteract the divisive role played by political parties and special interests that contrive polarizing conflicts even though most voters, on the whole, have been shown to be largely in agreement regarding priorities. As noted, they are willing to compromise in order to prevent political parties from engaging in legislative stalemates. (See Fiorina (2008); Stern (2017).
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 typically contrive 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 many political parties around the world. 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.
The Global Social Network for Voters is a modern, 21st Century consensus-building and social networking technology designed to empower voters to re-invent failed and failing democracies to ensure that voters, not political parties and special interests, determine who runs for office, who gets elected, and what laws are passed.
Voters worldwide will be able to access the Global Social Network for Voters via VotersUnited.Global to use its political organizing, consensus-building, and agenda setting tools. They will be able to familiarize themselves with these tools by playing a multiparty online game of electoral strategy, the Citizens Winning Hands Game, which will also be accessible on the website.
Re-Invent Democracy, Inc. and the Global Social Network for Voters do not espouse ideological or partisan views. The Company does not align with governments, political parties, candidates, or special interests, or accept funding from governments or agencies funded by governments.