Why Executive Power Matters

It’s a bit surprising that this sortition blog hasn’t ventured much into executive power.  Most of the time it’s focused on either legislative power or some other non-executive power.

Not for nothing did one example from Paul Lucardie’s book on radical democratic theory (Democratic Extremism), the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets, decide a century ago to appoint a truly revolutionary provisional government to “get things done”: the Council of People’s Commissars (Sovnarkom).

That said, sortition today could be applied to traditional cabinets. It could be applied to multiple cabinets in some proposals (state, social, economic, industrial). It could even be applied to the topmost consultative bodies headed by individual ministers, collegia.

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28 Responses

  1. We are discussing this exact topic in the comments of the previous post. BTW I am making auto-promotion here I am also starting a blog (www.stochocratie.org) on this question with a bottom-up approach. I started with the discussion by alloting a moderator who decides who speaks. But on a larger scale. Could we start by building a coop (a party?) where the executive board is alloted.

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  2. In what sense would appointing government executives by sortition be democratic (radical, extreme or otherwise)? The justification in the ancient world was that all citizens could rule and be ruled in turn, but that clearly doesn’t pertain in large modern states.

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  3. I don’t think that it would be democratic but for sure it would be stochocratic :)

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  4. As usual, sortition is seen as a way of picking the people who decide. But that still leaves humans with all their biases, conscious or unconscious not to mention their false confidence in their powers of judgement. This may be a better democracy, but why should it be?

    If it is to be Real democracy, surely the decision itself should be a random one, for example in allocating college places to qualified candidates? Sanitize the decision by eliminating weak and biased human judgement!

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  5. Jacob

    People who have little hands-on experience of large organisations almost inevitably have an over-simple motion of what executors can do or be ordered to do. It all depends on the existence of a well-understood set of procedures that actually work and interconnect in real time at the required pace.

    It suits everybody in most organisations to concentrate both credit and blame the executive and reward them extravagantly, partly because their own rewards rise in proportion, but also because it is important that the very limited things that the CEO can do be done well. No executive can make up for a host of poorly trained members of the organisation, misleading information flows or slow responses. But she can make a mess of things simply by a few bad decisions or failure to make decisions. The CEO has to have a talent to keep up with a sound information flow, recognise where things are going wrong and so on.

    In politics people generally overestimate the powers of the ministers in relation to the organisation for which they take responsibility. The picture painted by the famous BBC series “Yess Minister” was, experienced politicians assure me, very realistic. Ministers come and go, have little understanding of how things work. In the good old days the competent bureaucrats ran the show.

    With the neoliberal revolution the heads were chopped off the bureaucracy and very expensive” professional managers” were put in their place to do the sort of things the new dogmas prescribed, with equally dubious results from a democratic point of view. It seems obvious to me that sortition for executive positions is only going to put incompetents in the box seat.

    The other nostrum of breaking down bureaucracy is a very complex and difficult matter. All our most serious problems are now global problems and specialised agencies to deal with them are inevitable.

    What I suggest is that we can make start by looking to the information inputs and processing. The big objection to that is the information is powerless without force behind it. But in fact much of the time the politicians don’t know what to do and the public is seduced by slogans. The key element, as I have argued in The Demarchy Manifesto id =s totally open and transparent set of forums, each focussed on a specific problem that can assure that every relevant consideration is identified and debated. Sortitionbodies may then put muscle behind the solutions that emerge from the specialised open forums.

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  6. Keith and John, to address your common concern: I did mention stratified sampling in previous comments and posts of mine. Competency-based criteria should be established for random selection.

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  7. Conall:> Sanitize the decision by eliminating weak and biased human judgement!

    Peter Stone is very clear that the sanitizing power of the “lottery principle” is the last resort, once the rational selection filters have failed to choose the best candidate. Random selection should only be used when deciding between two (or more) equally competent job applicants. Jacob acknowledges this with his “competency-based criteria should be established for random selection”, but has still to explain why sortition is a democratic means of selection (Aristotle and Montesquieu’s rotation principle doesn’t apply to large modern states).

    rcase:> I don’t think that it would be democratic but for sure it would be stochocratic.

    That’s the most worrying comment of all. With friends like Conall, Yoram, Jacob and rcase, sortition certainly doesn’t need any enemies! I’m not sure if anyone on this forum realises (or cares) how ridiculous this makes us look in the real world.

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  8. It makes me think of a quote attributed to Max Planck, I guess it applies to political science too.

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  9. What is the quote?

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  10. “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light […]”

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  11. “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light.”

    But in this case the opponents are all those who have a commitment to democracy in the sense that the people have power. This is the vast majority of citizens and academics, the only obvious exceptions being Islamic fundamentalists and closet Platonists. Hence my question “Why is the selection of government executives by sortition democratic?”

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  12. I’ve argued that it would be better and far more democratic for, for example, the U.S. president and state governors to be chosen by jury assemblies rather than by popular election. I’ve also argued that it would be better and far more democratic for many decision-makers now chosen by the executive (by the US. president or Bristish PM for example) to be instead chosen by jury, such as the boards of public broadcasters and the members of regulatory commissions such as the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).

    If that is not accepted, then Plan B for me is that the rules under which the executive (and other politicians) are chosen by decided by jury assemblies, not by elected politicians (including all of the popular election rules such a s campaign finance and the voting method, if popular election is used).

    I think that the notion of choosing an office like president or governor or prime minister by sortition is a very bad idea, and more or less a parody of the sortition approach to democracy. I do not seem to be alone on this blog in thinking something like that.

    Yes Athens had a jury (prytaneis) as the executive, but it did not for example command the military, nor choose the military leaders. The strategoi were elected.

    Maybe a jury could play an executive role, but if we are to continue the tradition in existing societies of having a president or prime minister, or premier or governor or mayor, that official should be chosen by jury, not by random selection.

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  13. You may be right Keith “the vast majority of citizens and academics ” have a different opinion than mine on the use of sortition, and it is why I am so suspicious about democracy (but I don’t think the vast majority of people know what sortition is anyway). I need more than just the vast majority of people believing in something to think that something is true, I need hard evidences. I mean a vast majority of people believe in god and I am not a super religious person. It looks like it is an essential feature of democracy: the power of the majority. A French humorist called democracy the dictatorship of the highest number (nicely put).

    Thanks to this blog (and Internet in general) we can express diverging views and we can discuss and each express our disagreements :).

    About Simon first paragraph. It sounds like a judgment call and I cannot find in it any rational argument. Why using an alloted jury to designate the executive power would be a better thing than a direct election? And sorry, it is not because you “do no seem to be alone” that you are right, e.g. religion.

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  14. rcaze

    For why I think it would be much better and far more democratic for the executive, such as the U.S. president for example, to be chosen by jury rather than by popular election please see:

    Threlkeld, August 12, 2016: https://dissidentvoice.org/2016/08/should-citizen-juries-choose-americas-president-congress-governors-and-state-legislators/

    Threlkeld, September 19, 2017, sections 2, 3, 14, 15, and 16, (the argument here is largely about why it is preferable for legislators to be chosen by jury rather than popular election, but much of what is said applies also to selecting the executive). https://simonthrelkeldsite.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/threlkeld-lucardie-sept19-2017.pdf

    We of course agree that majority opinion, even the majority opinion of the comparatively enlightened portion of humanity posting on this blog, can well be wrong.

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  15. Simon:> I think that the notion of choosing an office like president or governor or prime minister by sortition is a very bad idea, and more or less a parody of the sortition approach to democracy.

    Absolutely. Randomness has nothing to do with stochation. It may have worked in classical Athens but the tasks were simpler (and shared within collegial magistracies) and the rotation principle ensured its democratic credentials (rule and be ruled in turn).

    rcaze:> I am so suspicious about democracy (but I don’t think the vast majority of people know what sortition is anyway)

    Yes that’s why we don’t want you confusing them any more, and associating the sortition/stochation movement with anti-democratic thought. What you call stochocracy is in fact aleatocracy and is the subject of utopian works of science fiction (e.g. Barbara Goodwin’s Justice by Lottery). On this forum, however, we are interested in political thought that may have a serious application in the real world.

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  16. Simon Threikeld > Thank you for the different documents quite interesting and it begs for modesty to see that some people militate for sortition since the beginning of the 80s (I wasn’t even born then) and that the vast majority of people does not know what sortition is.

    About your mini-jury electing a president. How comz this would put the billlionaires out of the picture. I would say that it is even simpler for them, instead of buying an entire population they would just need then to buy a mini-jury. And sincerely curious to know why using sortition to designate an executive role (like mayor, or the president of a coop, or even smaller scale: the moderator of a discussion) would be a “very bad idea”.

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  17. *** In ancient Athens, the one ancient democracy we know well (if not perfectly), sortition was used in different perspectives.
    *** Large judicial and legislative juries, allotted without prior screening, were a way of popular sovereignty, as the assembly – Aristotle says (Politics, III, 1, 7 ; 1275a) that the assembly man and the jury man have the supreme power (« kyriotatos »).
    *** For other functions, every time a political role needed technical abilities, the job was filled by election, as the military and financial managers (Aristotle, Constitution of Athens, 43, 1). A less known interesting case : when a politician asked for modifying a law, in the Second Athenian democracy there was a kind of trial, before the legislative jury, between the old law and the new law, and the old law was defended by five citizens chosen by election, not allotted ones, who usually would have had lesser rhetorical skills than the politician. To get a reasonably balanced debate skill is needed, therefore election is needed, this is the logics.
    *** Ordinary administrative functions were very simple in an ancient society, and in Athens they were organized as being especially simple. No need of having specific skill, but need of being a decent citizen, and not an enemy of democracy. Here, logically, there was allotment, but after prior screening (« dokimasia »). And these administrative jobs were carried by small juries, often ten persons. A lunatic or dumb juror could not do much damage.
    *** The same for the Council : allotment, but after prior screening.
    *** A special case : there were individual magistrates, often said « archons » : the king, the polemarch, the archon; with old and prestigious names, but who in democratic Athens have kept only limited temporal powers, if important symbolic or ritual ones. Here, there was allotment, but after prior screening, and we may think that in these rare cases the screening was especially in-depth (but, always, not about any skill ; about moral and civic points). Well, the screening appears to have been sometimes inadequate, as we can see from the Neaira scandal – the queen, wife of the allotted king, who had as his husband ritual roles (each year she got wed to the god Dionysos), was found not to be Athenian, and to be a former whore ! A big scandal, but neither the king nor the queen had real political responsibilities.
    *** A modern dêmokratia could follow the same logics than the Athenian one, but with a difference. A complex modern society need « agencies », administrative networks filled by permanent civil servants. They cannot be substituted by juries, except in cases where it is actually more a judicial function – ex : giving a refugee status. The democratic way is, I think, to have a minipublic corresponding to a agency – let’s say « food and drugs regulation ». This minipublic would decide the policy and rules, elect a manager to implement them, following management rules of the ISO9000 kind, and establish small minipublics to carry monitoring and auditing.
    *** I did mention ISO9000 management rules, because they are conceived to allow the « proprietary » of an organism to control the behavior of the organism. It is not a specific democratic problem. It is the problem of any capitalist owning a business. It was a major problem of « absolute monarchies ». Totalitarian systems could try to control the « agencies » through a militant parallel network – the « political commissar » behind the military officer. For the polyarchies, it is not a problem : the bureaucratic elites are a part of the « parallelogram of forces » which generates the official or non-official political choices.

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  18. The only thing we need to add to Andre’s comment is that Aristotle (and Montesquieu) viewed the allotment of (minor) magistracies as democratic because it enabled every citizen to rule and be ruled in turn. This would clearly not be the case in large modern states, so filling executive positions by allotment would be entirely undemocratic (although egalitarian in the trivial sense that everyone had an equally miniscule chance of being appointed).

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  19. rcase
    >About your mini-jury electing a president. How comz this would put the billlionaires out of the picture. I would say that it is even simpler for them, instead of buying an entire population they would just need then to buy a mini-jury.

    Billionaires don’t try to bribe entire populations today. One thing that makes it hard for them to do that is secret ballot, which means the billionaire cannot be sure their bribe actually changed how someone voted. Anyone dishonest enough to take a bribe, might well not be so honest as to vote the way the briber pays for.

    Selection juries (such as a jury selecting the president) would vote by secret ballot (at least that is what I propose), making it impossible for a briber to know they got the vote they paid for. There is also no reason to make the names of jurors public before they select the official, and without the names, bribers would have a hard time bribing. Trying to bribe jurors would also be illegal, similar to how it is illegal to try to bribe the members of a trial jury.

    Arrangements need to be in place to prevent and deter efforts to bribe selection juries.

    Popular elections require a lot of money, which is why they can result in politicians and the political system being captured by economic elites. It is far less costly for candidates to appear before a jury, which is why selecting the president and other public officials by jury ends the capture of the selection process and those who are selected, by economic elites.

    >And sincerely curious to know why using sortition to designate an executive role (like mayor, or the president of a coop, or even smaller scale: the moderator of a discussion) would be a “very bad idea”.

    With regard to selecting for example the president of the U.S., it is necessary and highly desirable to choose someone exceptionally capable, bright, knowledgeable and talented, with political experience. Random selection from the general public is not likely to do that, which is why it would be an extremely bad way to choose the president, or any other important public official.

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  20. Simon Thelkeld

    > Billionaires don’t try to bribe entire populations today. One thing that makes it hard for them to do that is secret ballot, which means the billionaire cannot be sure their bribe actually changed how someone voted. Anyone dishonest enough to take a bribe, might well not be so honest as to vote the way the briber pays for.

    A handful of billionaires possess the most famous French the media (https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/cartes/PPA), this is not
    direct bribery but they certainly use their money to seriously bend the opinion of people.

    Your belief in the power of secret ballots seems a bit naive. True it makes impossible to know exactly who votes what but the outcome is known by everybody.

    > Arrangements need to be in place to prevent and deter efforts to bribe selection juries.

    The devil’s in the details, what arrangements? You have an example of this use of juries and how we can “make the names of jurors (not) public”?

    > With regard to selecting for example the president of the U.S., it is necessary and highly desirable to choose someone exceptionally capable, bright, knowledgeable and talented, with political experience. Random selection from the general public is not likely to do that, which is why it would be an extremely bad way to choose the president, or any other important public official.

    Here also the details matter, I wouldn’t start by alloting the U.S. president even if I imagine that it would be difficult to pick someone more “exceptionally capable, bright, knowledgeable and talented, with political experience.” than Trump. It is true that you need spetial competences to be the U.S president, but to it can be learned superfast to be a union executive or a less important executive function, this is why also we could think of forming the person before taking office (inexistant idea in an elective system supposing that the candidate proved their competence in their campaign…). This is why also a sortition system would need a way to redesignate the executive power rapidly if a sufficient number of people are displeased with the result (again, almost absent in an elective system).

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  21. Sorry for the typos, a pain I do not know how to post-edit my comments :)

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  22. rcaze
    >A handful of billionaires possess the most famous French the media (https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/cartes/PPA), this is not
    direct bribery but they certainly use their money to seriously bend the opinion of people.

    Agreed, and of course it is not just in France that the media and journalism are mostly organized on the basis of rule by big private corporations and the super rich.

    This is one more reason popular election is such a bad idea. Far better to select the President and other important officials by jury. As candidates appear directly before the jurors, and at some length, they are not dependent on the MSM (mainstream media) to cover them and cover them fairly, nor on the media choices of the public. This is far better and far more democratic than what happens in popular elections.

    >Your belief in the power of secret ballots seems a bit naive. True it makes impossible to know exactly who votes what but the outcome is known by everybody.

    Not sure why you say that. Secret ballot makes it very hard to bribe, reward and punish individual voters. I am not saying that secret ballot by itself is sufficient for democracy. It is not. It is specifically not enough to make popular election democratic (at least not in my view). But, if how people voted was publicly posted, I think it would make popular election even less democratic.

    rcaze
    >You have an example of this use of juries and how we can “make the names of jurors (not) public”?

    Simple, don’t disclose the names publicly until after the candidate is selected for office. There’s no reason for it to be known by people other than those administering the random selection process. Even in the discussions with other jurors, assuming there are such discussions, everyone can simply go by first names.

    There is no call from the public and lawyer to end trial by jury because of the possibility that trial jurors can be bribed. There is no reason for bribery of those serving on selection juries to be any easier than it is for trial juries.

    >it can be learned superfast to be a union executive or a less important executive function

    A good union executive official has a lot of skills, especially perhaps a good president of a large union. I don’t think every randomly sampled person has the ability to learn to do it well, and perhaps especially not in a short time frame.

    Also, if only one person is chosen for an executive position, they could well be very unrepresentative. Sortition in for example Athens was about choosing bodies of at least 10 citizens, so that they would be representative of the citizenry.

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  23. > There is no call from the public and lawyer to end trial by jury because of the possibility that trial jurors can be bribed. There is no reason for bribery of those serving on selection juries to be any easier than it is for trial juries.

    Agreed, but I don’t know if it would change the behavior of billionaires buying journals to influence the futur jury.

    > A good union executive official has a lot of skills, especially perhaps a good president of a large union. I don’t think every randomly sampled person has the ability to learn to do it well, and perhaps especially not in a short time frame.

    This skills often come with practise. Plus one can sort among a shortlist of skilled people. I know that they do that for a medical school in London instead of costly and biased interviews. Personnaly I sent an abstract for a scientific conference. Abstracts were reviewed for quality check and then twenty grants were alloted.

    > Also, if only one person is chosen for an executive position, they could well be very unrepresentative. Sortition in for example Athens was about choosing bodies of at least 10 citizens, so that they would be representative of the citizenry.

    The aim would not to be representative but to have someone taking decisions. The main issue would be to not designate a lunatic. Sorting two lunatices seems less likely, three almost improbable. If you add a control system where the executive functions could be replaced easily, I think it make it a less bad idea (even good :). Still a huge number of other details need to be thought of depending on the exact function.

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  24. rcaze
    >Agreed, but I don’t know if it would change the behavior of billionaires buying journals to influence the futur jury.

    Agreed. I am writing something on media democracy, in addition to what I have already written on it.

    rcaze
    >one can sort among a shortlist of skilled people

    May be a good idea in some cases, such as perhaps those you mention. May not be a good idea in all cases, such as choosing the U.S. President for example. If the President is to be chosen democratically that means selection by jury assembly (at least to me). I see no advantage in having the President chosen by lottery from a shortlist chosen by jury assembly, rather than chosen by jury assembly. Better that the jury assembly choose the President, as that is the most democratic option. Lottery of those on the shortlist is not a democratic choice in that case – it is not the will of the people as represented by a jury assembly, it is just a roll of dice.

    rcaze
    >This skills often come with practise.

    Often they do not. Would you suggest choosing the goalie of France’s national soccer team by lottery, and then training him? Why not? Would choosing an important public official (such as a president or mayor) by lottery, and then training them, be any better?

    rcaze
    >The aim would not to be representative but to have someone taking decisions.

    “someone taking decisions” is not a good aim for a country’s president or a city’s mayor. A Neo-Nazi might be very able to reach decisions, but that is not at all an adequate qualification for them to fill an important political office.

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  25. Simon
    > May not be a good idea in all cases, such as choosing the U.S. President for example. If the President is to be chosen democratically that means selection by jury assembly (at least to me). I see no advantage in having the President chosen by lottery from a shortlist chosen by jury assembly, rather than chosen by jury assembly. Better that the jury assembly choose the President, as that is the most democratic option. Lottery of those on the shortlist is not a democratic choice in that case – it is not the will of the people as represented by a jury assembly, it is just a roll of dice.

    I would say that “may not be a good idea in all cases” is a common point of all ideas. For instance the idea of using a jury to select a president. For me there is a legitimacy problem here especially if the jury’s member were unknown before they had reached a decision. Jury are publicly known before they reach their decision in a justice trial.

    Simon
    > Often they do not. Would you suggest choosing the goalie of France’s national soccer team by lottery, and then training him? Why not? Would choosing an important public official (such as a president or mayor) by lottery, and then training them, be any better?

    I think that it is a better idea to shortlist all the excellent goalies (there are many) and then pick one using sortition rather than selecting one with a choice made behind closed doors (sadly, the case now).

    Simon
    > “someone taking decisions” is not a good aim for a country’s president or a city’s mayor. A Neo-Nazi might be very able to reach decisions, but that is not at all an adequate qualification for them to fill an important political office.

    We already reached the Godwin point :) I am certainly going to be against the Neo-nazi’s decision but I am going to (try) to NOT be against the Neo-nazi as a human being, e.g. I find that Trump is taking many stupid decisions but I (try) NOT to critic the man himself.

    This is why we would need to sort more than one person, to avoid the lunatic case. Sorting two lunatics is less probable. Sorting three improbable.

    This is also why we need to think of easy and rapid revocation mechanisms beforehand and on a case by case basis.

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  26. Romain

    Yes, I agree there is a “legitimacy problem” with the U.S. President (or a state governor or a city’s mayor) being chosen by jury assembly rather than by popular vote. The jury assembly approach is better and more democratic in important ways, but the idea is an idea almost no one has heard of (unless they’ve read my articles or heard from those who have), and people might well feel that it “takes away their right to vote.” That is why I put forward a Plan B, which is to have jury assemblies make popular election more democratic than it is, including by transferring the power to decide the election rules from politicians to jury assemblies. (Plan A, selection by jury assembly, is better and more democratic, but said Plan B would still be far better than what we have now.)

    Romain
    >I think that it is a better idea to shortlist all the excellent goalies (there are many) and then pick one using sortition rather than selecting one with a choice made behind closed doors (sadly, the case now).

    If the final decision from the shortlist is arbitrary (no way of telling if any of those on the shortlist will be better than the rest), I don’t think it matters if the choice is made as it is now or by rolling dice. But if those making the choice don’t agree it is arbitrary, then it is best that they make it, as presumably that is best chance of getting the best goalie.

    It might be more fun and more engaging for the public, for the final choice from the shortlist to be made by the rest of the soccer team by secret ballot (ideally after they play an exhibition game with each of the goalies, or something like that). Or by a jury randomly selected from fans of the team, by secret ballot, after they watch all the goalies on the shortlist in practice and in exhibition games. Possibly such ideas are too unwieldy to be used.

    Re Trump, he would never have been chosen if the President was selected in a democratic manner. (That is, by a jury assembly by some good method of majority vote. Nor I think would he have won if the rules for the primaries and the general election had been decided by jury assemblies rather than by the politicians in power, and and party establishments of the Duopoly.) Nor would Hillary have won if the President was chosen in a democratic manner, it seems to me.

    Romain
    >This is also why we need to think of easy and rapid revocation mechanisms beforehand and on a case by case basis.

    In a parliamentary system the parliamentary majority can in theory always dismiss the PM. In practice the PM tends to control his or her own party and it is hard for them to do that.

    In the U.S. the President can be removed from office by Congress, for I believe “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

    As I do not consider popular election especially democratic, nor do I consider removal mechanisms based on popularly elected politicians to be especially democratic.

    “Rapid revocation mechanisms” are I think a tricky topic, as they can for example lead to instability problems, and in some cases voter fatigue problems. In theory we could have a new popular election (or a new election by a new jury) for each office every week to rapidly remove candidates from office when the public wants, but this would be pretty disastrous and undesirable I think.

    “Easy and rapid revocation mechanisms” can be highly undesirable, it seems to me. What is needed is more of a balance between stable office holding for the executive branch, and the ability to remove the executive in cases where that is necessary or highly desirable.

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  27. Simon

    > That is why I put forward a Plan B, which is to have jury assemblies make popular election more democratic than it is, including by transferring the power to decide the election rules from politicians to jury assemblies. (Plan A, selection by jury assembly, is better and more democratic, but said Plan B would still be far better than what we have now.)

    This plan B sounds a lot like the plan C of Etienne Chouard with its “ateliers constituants”.

    Simon
    > It might be more fun and more engaging for the public, for the final choice from the shortlist to be made by the rest of the soccer team by secret ballot (ideally after they play an exhibition game with each of the goalies, or something like that). Or by a jury randomly selected from fans of the team, by secret ballot, after they watch all the goalies on the shortlist in practice and in exhibition games. Possibly such ideas are too unwieldy to be used.

    I like this idea of jury in this context (even if I am not a football fan). And it foster my point that we should look at a case by case situations.

    Simon
    > Re Trump, he would never have been chosen if the President was selected in a democratic manner. (That is, by a jury assembly by some good method of majority vote. Nor I think would he have won if the rules for the primaries and the general election had been decided by jury assemblies rather than by the politicians in power, and and party establishments of the Duopoly.) Nor would Hillary have won if the President was chosen in a democratic manner, it seems to me.

    Agreed. I used the Trump instead of a Neo-Nazi being sorted but simply to take an example.

    Simon
    > In a parliamentary system the parliamentary majority can in theory always dismiss the PM. In practice the PM tends to control his or her own party and it is hard for them to do that. In the U.S. the President can be removed from office by Congress, for I believe “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

    True that revocation mechanisms also exist in elective systems but they are seldom used.

    Simon
    > “Rapid revocation mechanisms” are I think a tricky topic, as they can for example lead to instability problems, and in some cases voter fatigue problems. In theory we could have a new popular election (or a new election by a new jury) for each office every week to rapidly remove candidates from office when the public wants, but this would be pretty disastrous and undesirable I think.

    Agree it is a sensitive topic here also we need to look at each situations.

    > “Easy and rapid revocation mechanisms” can be highly undesirable, it seems to me. What is needed is more of a balance between stable office holding for the executive branch, and the ability to remove the executive in cases where that is necessary or highly desirable.

    The first times we sorted a moderator we set a minimal time before people can raise their thumb. I abandoned this because people in this case are not stupid and they do not restart a designation. This equilibrium between stability and change is difficult to find and requires trial and error. In the end I settle on that but sorting a higher executive power would need further experiments and trial/errors.

    Let’s take the example of a moderator to illustrate this equilibrium point. To sort a moderator we flip a coin: heads the first person on the left of the thrower becomes moderator; tails it is the second. When a third or more of the present people raise their thumb we relaunch a sortition. The former moderator flips the coin, so the power turns.

    I used a fraction instead of a number to allow for scalability. Bigger fractions are already making the sortition too stable.

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