Sortition in Current Affairs

A June 26 Current Affairs article must be the most pro-sortition editorial to appear in mainstream media in recent history. More importantly, it oozes with wit that justifiably pillories America’s “intolerable” Congress. The arguments here are familiar but are combined in an unforgettably entertaining way.

It begins with the sad shape of Congress.

The data confirm that Congresspeople have a lower approval rating than marketing executives and bubonic plague.

Second, it points out that Congress is not “representative” in the demographic sense.

Take our current Congress, which is 80% male, 95% college-educated, and 50.8% millionaires. The population it “represents” is 50% male, 30% college-educated, and 5% millionaires. That’s not even close

It then moves on to the evidence that “representation of interests” is a fantasy, citing Gilens and Page.

If your Congressman (or Congresswoman, but probably Congressman) puts forward the kinds of policies that you yourself would wish to see advanced, why does it matter whether you and he happen to have wildly different backgrounds? That would be an excellent argument, if Congress usually put forward policies that Americans agree with. Alas, it does not. One Princeton study estimates that, statistically speaking, the preferences of 90% of the American electorate have a “near-zero” impact on policymaking. And a number of highly-publicized legal reforms with a broad popular mandate, such as closing the gun show loophole, have never made it anywhere near the President’s desk. How is that possible in a “representative” Congress?

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2016 review – statistics

Below are some statistics about the seventh year of Equality-by-Lot. Comparable numbers for last year can be found here.

2016 Page views Posts Comments
Jan 1,664 8 161
Feb 1,573 11 153
Mar 2,075 20 173
Apr 1,699 12 128
May 1,534 9 78
June 1,818 9 66
July 1,961 7 87
Aug 1,978 9 91
Sept 2,367 11 181
Oct 2,905 8 212
Nov 2,966 8 139
Dec (to 29th) 2,232 8 58
Total 24,772 120 1,527

Note that page views do not include visits by logged-in contributors – the wordpress system does not count those visits.

Posts were made by 17 authors during 2016. (There were, of course, many other authors quoted and linked to.)

There are currently 268 email and WordPress followers of this blog. In addition there are 203 Twitter followers (@Klerotarian) and 67 Facebook followers.

Searching for “distribution by lot” (with quotes) using Google returns Equality-by-Lot as the 2nd result (out of “about 18,900 results”). Searching for “sortition” returns Equality-by-Lot as the 2nd result (out of “about 62,600 results”) – right behind the sortition entry at Wikipedia.

Happy holidays and happy new year to Equality-by-Lot readers, commenters and posters. Keep up the good fight for democracy!

Call for 2016 review input

This is the yearly call for input for the year’s end review. As in previous years, I would like to have a post or two summarizing the ongoings here at Equality-by-Lot and notable sortition-related events over the passing year. Any input about what should be included is welcome – either through comments below or via email. You are invited to refresh your memory about the events of the passing year by browsing Equality-by-Lot’s archives.

For previous years’ summaries see: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.

Democracy Talk, Episode 1

Patrick Chalmers and I are aiming to turn this into an ongoing video series. Any comments are welcome.

2015 review – statistics

Below are some statistics about the sixth year of Equality-by-Lot. Comparable numbers for last year can be found here.

2015 Page views Posts Comments
Jan 2,648 15 256
Feb 3,453 10 284
Mar 3,168 8 169
Apr 2,497 7 137
May 2,947 13 124
June 2,593 5 137
July 1,933 5 72
Aug 1,966 5 94
Sept 2,592 11 136
Oct 2,455 10 189
Nov 2,109 12 185
Dec (to 28th) 1,671 6 109
Total 30,032 107 1,891

Note that page views do not include visits by logged-in contributors – the wordpress system does not count those visits.

Posts were made by 15 authors during 2015. (There were, of course, many other authors quoted and linked to.)

There are currently 223 email and WordPress followers of this blog. In addition there are 137 Twitter followers (@Klerotarian) and 67 Facebook followers.

Searching for “distribution by lot” (with quotes) using Google returns Equality-by-Lot as the 3rd result (out of “about 16,900 results”). Searching for “sortition” returns Equality-by-Lot as the 3rd result (out of “about 62,200 results”).

Happy holidays and happy new year to Equality-by-Lot readers, commenters and posters. Keep up the good fight for democracy!

Call for 2015 review input

This is the yearly call for input for the year’s end review. As in previous years, I would like to have a post or two summarizing the ongoings here at Equality-by-Lot and notable sortition-related events over the passing year. Any input about what should be included is welcome – either through comments below or via email.

Again, I suggest having some sort of an award for sortition-related activity, advocacy, or writing, where the awardee is selected by a vote among Equality-by-Lot readers. Nominations are hereby solicited as well.

For previous years’ summaries see: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.

Sortition on ideochina.com

The Chinese language blog ideochina.com – 思想中国 – has an article about the troubles of the elections-based system of government (what may be termed “eklogocracy”). Among other ideas for reform, the article mentions proposals involving sortition.

Abstract:

In the past quarter of the century,democracy has won the day,with most countries in the world claiming themselves to be democracies. However, the glory is fleeting. In exactly the same period of time, the advancing step of western democracy starts faltering, and its theory is being challenged in an unprecedented way. The idol of democracy is entering into twilight, surrounded by more and more pessimistic views. Theorists of democracy have now started to reflect on the inherent deficiencies of representational democracy, rethink electoral democracy, and seek to return to real democracy by exploring various institutions that can involve the participation of the populace.

The author appears to be an Equality-by-Lot reader.