A democracy is only as good as the elections!
But elections must themselves be democratic.
Elections must be truly inclusive, definitive, and competitive.
This community portal will ensure a level-playing field for all contestants.
Pertinently, in a democracy, the authority of the government derives solely from the consent of the governed. Free and fair elections is how the consent is granted.
Liberal democracy – the most successful version of democracy, considered the ultimate form in mid-20th century – is highly stressed, across the world.
Democracy has been reduced to fair elections, at best, to choose from a handful of elites; it’s now just a means to justify unquestioned lordship over the voters.
There is nothing democratic about democracy’s goals and processes.
Elections, in their present form, are highly outdated as a technology for transforming the wishes and opinions of the collective into policies and governance.
Elections don't become democratic by definition; no election is truly democratic. Every step, and participant, in elections, must reflect respect for its basic values.
For example, political rivals must acknowledge that all of them have a legitimate role in governance; society must cultivate tolerance and civility in public debate.
Democratic elections, after all, are not a fight for survival but a competition to serve.
Political parties – though critical in a democracy – are least trusted by citizens. Ironically, while faith in politics has reduced, interest in politics has increased.
Importantly, political parties are failing in synthesising socio-cultural diversity; e.g., interest groups are taking form of political organizations, leading to chaotic governance.
Democracies are struggling with lack of ‘loyal opposition’; opposing party's specific policies end up hurting fundamental legitimacy of the state and democratic processes
Worse, many political parties, and members, mostly serve only during elections, as voter mobilization machines.
Unfortunately, manifestoes are far less consequential in voters' choices compared to obscure factors such as a party’s core values, leader’s quality, specific events, etc.
Manifestoes are wasted documents, and barely vary across parties. Thus, the entire election process is ill-informed, less-rigorous and shorn of visionary directions.
A critically devastating role reversal follows - the population of citizens ends up playing a passive, quiescent part, responding only to the messages given by the parties.
There is a dearth of transparency in how a manifesto is designed and who takes part in it.
Short of the Recall Election process, enforcing political accountability is next to impossible. Yet, to be fair, countries with Recall Election haven’t experienced successful governments
Recall Election enforces supremacy of interests of their constituencies, minimising the influence of political parties on the representatives and their conscience.
Incidentally, enabling effective Recall Elections is a great test-bed for massively digitalising the entire election; we must also try non-elective process, such as a trial.
Recall Election will also make manifestos a planned and serious document, and involve citizens in the same.
An interesting example of technology’s role for better governance is the calculation of citizen’s tax liabilities, via data sources. Citizens can also propose changes with a click.
But this big leap is nothing. Technology must be used to empower individual citizens and communities. Abuse of data by governments must stop now!
Indeed, AI will have the most catalytic impact on humanity itself when intensively applied to governance, to dramatically improve democracy.
Mathematical modeling of polity in all its dimensions requires the greatest investment of attention and money.
Elections must be transformed. ‘Money-and-muscle’ must be dramatically cut off. An election portal will bring all contestants on the same pedestal. 'Equal election' is fair election.
Narratives must decide the win; manifestos, debates and conversations must lie at the heart of campaigns. Diffusion must displace polarisation and ideological commitments.
Vote out career politicians. Part-time politicians - 'professionals on sabbatical' - to be the norm. Limit political representation to two terms. Change the DNA of politics.
Election to be the biggest celebration - everyone must participate, volunteer, and enjoy political activism.