THE GLOBAL SOCIAL NETWORK FOR VOTERS

To reverse the global decline of democracy, and widespread voter dissatisfaction, the Global Social Network for Voters and its website, VotersUnited.Global, are designed to empower voters worldwide to democratically control their governments, elections, legislation, and political parties.

The network is unique because it provides universally accessible, voter-driven, political consensus-building mechanisms that do not currently exist. These mechanisms enable voters to bridge the ideological and partisan divides that political parties and special interests use to fuel conflicts, polarize electorates, and cause legislative stalemates that are rarely resolved.

The network 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.

Overview

Voters intending to vote, even if not presently registered to vote, and regardless of national origin or current location, will be able to use the network to join with other voters to determine who runs for office, who gets elected, and what laws are passed. They can:

  • Set their own legislative agendas and connect with voters with similar agendas.
  • Join or create online voting blocs, political parties, and electoral coalitions hosted on the network.
  • Build consensus across ideological and partisan lines to set common legislative agendas and adopt common slates of candidates.
  • Forge winning electoral bases by reaching out to voters across the spectrum to acquire the voting strength needed to elect candidates of their choice to enact their agendas.
  • Oversee and pressure lawmakers to enact their agendas by conducting and publishing the results of online petitions, referenda, initiatives and recall votes.
  • Mobilize the members of their blocs, parties, and coalitions to hold elected officials accountable at the polls for their legislative actions.

Responding to Global Crises and Demands for Change

Strengthening voters' electoral and legislative capacity to gain control of unresponsive 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 natural ecosystems.

Voters at the grassroots where they are directly experiencing the consequences of such crises in their daily lives must be able to connect to voters everywhere to devise common legislative solutions to climate emergencies, which they can collectively implement within and across nation-state boundaries.

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 and often undemocratic electoral and legislative processes for voicing their demands. They especially include the undemocratic methods parties and politicians use to get into office and remain there for years, and even decades, despite widespread public disapproval of their actions and demands for change.

These escalating popular demands are causing millions of dissatisfied voters around the world to engage in countervailing, anti-establishment strategies, including street demonstrations, disruptive protests, and extra-legal actions aimed at goading unresponsive governments into taking action to resolve political stalemates and 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 exert their best efforts to enact voters' legislative priorities.

Primary Characteristics of Failed and Failing Democracies

  • The growing gap and disconnect 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 party and candidate priorities and legislative agendas.
  • Voters' passive electoral roles of choosing 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, hurdles erected by the two major parties to prevent the emergence of competitive third parties whose candidates compete on an even playing field to win elections.
  • Voters' feeble influence over the composition of legislative bodies due to residence in election districts whose boundaries have been changed (gerrymandered) by political parties to remove voters likely to vote against party candidates, which scatters and splinters opposing voters into electorally inconsequential districts.
  • Vote suppression the prevents eligible voters from actually casting votes and having their votes counted, due to election laws, regulations, hackable voting technology, as well as legal and illegal practices.
  • Electoral laws, procedures and practices that allow candidates to be elected and their parties to control legislatures even though they have received a minority of votes cast -- which represent an even smaller minority of the total of all eligible voters.
  • Subordination of voters' needs and priorities by elected representatives to those of special interests that finance their electoral campaigns in exchange for their votes on legislative issues.
  • Severe and increasing inequalities in wealth and income due to voters' electoral and legislative disempowerment by political parties and special interests, preventing large segments of the population from obtaining living wages and affording basic necessities, such as adequate and affordable healthcare, financial security, and educational opportunities.
  • Voters' inability to influence and control legislative bodies that are paralyzed by political conflicts and stalemates fueled by political parties, party candidates, party legislative representatives, and special interests
  • Contrived “culture wars” to pit groups of voters against other groups, and dissemination of disinformation via social media and mass media by politicians and political parties aimed at confusing and distorting voters' perceptions, and mobilizing impressionable individuals and voting blocs to create electoral bases large enough to win elections.
  • Emergence of increasingly authoritarian politicians, political parties, and governmental officials who disregard voters' needs, priorities, and demands.

Voter Disempowerment, Minority Rule, and Demands for Change

Even after the recent 2018 mid-term U.S. elections, the voter-lawmaker disconnect persists. Post-election polls show most U.S. voters did not think Congress represents them. Nor did they think Congress is doing a good job or headed in the right direction. 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].")

Voter disempowerment is accompanied by declining voter turnout. Only about half of all voting age adults turn out to vote in the U.S. While this phenomenon is undoubtedly multi-causal, the chronically low rate of voter turnout in U.S. elections puts the U.S. at the bottom of the ladder compared to its other 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 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], who conclude in prior research 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 failed and failing 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 typify many political parties' 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 foster intolerance, divisive conflicts and inequities in their quest for various forms of power, influence and status. Unfortunately, this evolution is encountering severely regressive challenges. Polarizing stances appear characteristic of increasing numbers of politicians and 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.)

Voters' difficulties in electing democratic and 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.

Re-Inventing Failed and Failing Democracies

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 on an incremental basis over many decades in the U.S. and countries around the world is overarching structural and systemic crippling of institutions and processes that are indispensable to democratic governance.

And even if significant reforms could be enacted, the lack of effective consensus-building mechanisms would still leave democratic forms of government vulnerable to chronic political and legislative conflicts and stalemates, leaving voters and lawmakers incapable of addressing global emergencies crises such as climate disruption and political violence.

Nor will reforms change the fact that 21st century democratic institutions and processes lack mechanisms that enable millions of voters to define their priorities and legislative agendas and ensure that the small numbers of lawmakers who make pass laws in the name of these constituents actually know what their priorities and agendas are. Only the Global Social Network for Voters can provide an immediate global technological remedy for these deficits.

In particular, 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 that 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 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, PhD [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 Network and Its Website, VotersUnited.Global

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.

Voters Join Forces to Act Locally and Globally Simultaneously

Life-threatening crises and emergencies, such as those caused by climate disruption and extreme weather, are rarely confined within single nation-state boundaries. They require legislative solutions that respond to common local needs across the boundaries of multiple countries, and contain adaptable, customizable components that make it possible for these solutions to be effectively implemented in multiple countries simultaneously.

To accomplish these goals, the Global Social Network for Voters provides voters worldwide a single platform for collectively and consensually devising domestic and cross-national legislative policies and agendas for surmounting such crises. It enables voters to join forces to legislatively enact and implement their plans across nation-state borders, by building and managing voter-controlled voting blocs, political parties and electoral coalitions hosted on the network. The network will enable them to:

  • Connect to each other online within and across national borders so they can simultaneously address global and local crises and conflicts.
  • Form voter-controlled voting blocs, political parties, and electoral coalitions that operate cross-nationally and domestically.
  • Build consensus across ideological and partisan lines to set common legislative agendas addressing and resolving cross-national and domestic issues and conflicts.
  • Implement their common agendas in specific countries by registering their members in electoral districts in countries in which they are eligible to vote; endorsing, nominating and electing candidates of their choice in their home countries to enact the common agendas of their transnational blocs, parties and coalitions.
  • Oversee, guide and direct the legislative actions of elected representatives in their home countries to exert their best efforts to enact their agendas.
  • Conduct and publicize the results of online petition drives, referendums, and initiativesusing network tools and services, and direct their elected representatives to pass this legislation.
  • Conduct recall votes to warn elected representatives when their legislative actions deviate from their constituent's agendas and priorities, and 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 defeat unresponsive lawmakers and elect candidates of their choice.

About

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.

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