Posts Tagged ‘voting’

The Public Has Spoken – Sort Of

Once you understand public choice theory, watching politics unfold becomes less of a frustration and more a source of amusement.

I just heard President Obama lay out his near term agenda. He was elected by a decent majority and will fight for the issues for which he campaigned. The people have spoken, and the people want a Democratic agenda implemented.

But the House of Representatives was also just elected. It is firmly Republican. The people have spoken, and the people want a Republican agenda implemented.

Same voters. Two conflicting agendas.

Some pundits say that voters want compromise. I don’t understand how you compromise between raising taxes and lowering taxes, for example.

I can only conclude that what voters actually favor is gridlock. This restrains both Democrats and Republicans and preserves the status quo. The last several presidents, when given a compliant Congress, have moved the country in unhappy directions. Gridlock forces politicians to take a “timeout” and allows only actions which are broadly acceptable to voters.

voting day in a small town

voting day in a small town (Photo credit: Muffet)

Don’t expect a lot to happen in a gridlocked political system – the public has spoken and inaction seems to be our preference as a nation.


Governance Ideas

Every now and then you find a new idea that is intriguing. Wiki-Government is one such idea. I think this shows promise, particularly for smaller units of government and quasi-governmental entities such as advisory councils, commissions, and task forces.

Another curious governance idea is professional voting, which has a lot less appeal. This form of election assumes that voters should vote on the basis of issues, but many people vote on a different basis, such as character, intelligence, or core beliefs. And, even for issue voters, most find that no candidate sides with them on all issues; these voters have to decide which issues are most important to them and would never cede that decision to a “professional voter”.