The Huffington Post has an article which mixes some standard issue techno-progressivist messages with a rejection of elections and a proposal of government by policy juries:
Jim Gilliam, CEO and co-founder of NationBuilder, […] and his co-founders Jesse Haff and Joe Green created the service to help people organize their own communities. As Gilliam said in the first part of our interview, he sees the primary political divide in our country not as one of “left vs. right. The divide is the people vs. the powerful.” This is something that Gilliam sees as not standing for long in an age of instantaneous, ubiquitous communication.
“The internet will reset all of that,” said Gilliam. “There’s no question it has to, because the internet has this really difficult relationship with power. I have deep emotional issues with power, and I believe that the way to deal with it is to give it to everybody. The biggest way to destroy it is that everybody has it. So build tools so that you can build your power base. and everybody wants that. That’s the currency of 21st century, it’s less all the money you have and it’s more how big your nation is.”
“My feeling is that the future of politics doesn’t have any elections in it. […]”
“No elections” runs against the grain of the way we currently think of democracy. Yet our own system already contains the framework of what Gilliam sees as a better, more participatory solution that addresses the issues of corruption and ignorance that he sees as plaguing our current democracy.
“Get rid of elections and model the legislative process more like the judicial process. Where issues are brought before a jury, but you have two opposing councils. We’ve got tons of lawyers in this country, so we’ve got plenty of people who can do this, and the jury might be twelve people or it might be a thousand people. Whatever number it is that kind of makes it work. And then you solve the corruption issue because you have no idea who these people are going to be. You get rid of the ignorance problem because you’re actually forced to hear all sides of an issue, and it is true representative democracy done in the internet age.”
The idea of a jury instead of an elected deliberative body struck me as strange initially. Who would make up the juries? Could random selection create a truly representative democracy? Would it be the best people? Whoever was available? Gilliam posits that there would be some form of jury selection process, as there is now, and that this kind of system would actually be more representative.
“Here’s the reality we’re in right now: it’s self-selective who [votes], right? It’s based upon who can get manipulated the most by one side or who has time or who is rich enough that they can take off work or all sorts of things are factoring in that aren’t representative of all of the actual people in that area. There’s no doubt that the system would not be perfect in the same way that the judicial system is not perfect; but considering how completely and utterly broken the current thing is, I’d argue that it’s dramatically better, and it’s fundamentally keeping with the concepts of the founders created this country.”