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Internet Based Political "Meta-Party" For Massachusetts 227

Posted by timothy
from the thought-you-said-mega-party dept.
sophiachou writes "The Free Government Party, a non-profit, open source political 'meta-party' focused on providing citizens with more direct control of Congress through online polling and user-drafted bills, seems to be looking for a candidate to endorse for US Representative of Massachusetts' 8th Congressional District. If you're from the Boston area, you might have seen this already on Craigslist. The chosen candidate will be bound by contract to vote in Congress only as do his or her constituents online. However, they don't seem to be going for direct democracy. To make voting convenient, you can select advisers to cast your votes for you, unless you do so yourself. Supposedly, interviews for the candidate position are already underway. Anyone from MA's 8th Congressional District on Slashdot already apply?"
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Internet Based Political "Meta-Party" For Massachusetts

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  • Re:Direct democracy (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:48AM (#24148681) Journal
    The problem is, the people who were acting as leaders were leaders because they were appointed so by Microsoft. Also, in chess, everyone has the same goal: to win, and it is easy to prove that a bad move is really bad. In life you are going to have nutcases who keep promoting the same bad ideas over and over.

    Maybe it would work, but here in California where we have the ability to allow any proposition to appear on the ballot, we have had mixed success. Sometimes rather bad laws manage to pass (anti-gay marriage) whereas other times very reasonable and good laws are voted down (anti-gerrymandering). I'm not convinced that people voting on a law by law basis is a good idea.
  • by xk0der (1003200) on Friday July 11, 2008 @12:48AM (#24148685) Homepage
    I happen to stumble upon something similar here : http://podvoters.org/ [podvoters.org]

    PodVoters looks to me like a much better idea (IMO), because it's an online system for selecting candidates, according to a process that should yield much better candidates, than we get at present. It's not about users directly managing the entire legislative process which is too burdensome for most (any?) citizen.

    just my two cents :)
  • by Gibbs-Duhem (1058152) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:50AM (#24148999)

    I live in this district, and must say that as much as I love this idea, it would be tough to sway me (as a social libertarian and economic moderate) to vote out Capuano. His voting record is very consistently exactly in line with what I would want.

    To whit, the ACLU ranks him at 94% voting the way they advocate and 100% by LBGT advocates (I'm also gay). He's in favor of affirmative action, which I have some minor objections to, but generally think isn't particularly evil. He voted against expanding criminal prosecutions for minors and is rated "soft on crime" (which I approve of, having been harassed by the police and FBI several times despite having committed no crimes). He is generally not in favor of the war on drugs. I don't think he's as savvy on energy and the environment as I'd like, but he probably is better informed that an average group of citizens...

    I dunno, I'm not sure I'd trust my neighbors in general to be as sensible as Capuano has been. I've seen my neighbors believe some pretty stupid crap. I'd have to see a very sensible plan before I'd vote to change.

  • by stinerman (812158) <nathan...stine@@@gmail...com> on Friday July 11, 2008 @02:18AM (#24149149) Homepage

    You don't have to live in the district in order to run for Congress in that district, you only have to live in the state.

    The folks running the Free Government Party might require a candidate to live in the district, but it isn't a restriction required by the United States or Massachusetts.

  • Re:Direct democracy (Score:3, Informative)

    by gsasha (550394) on Friday July 11, 2008 @02:20AM (#24149163) Homepage
    I currently live in Switzerland, and they have this nice system that any issue important enough to collect a given number of signatures is put up to a referendum.
    Works like charm - while this option is used, as I see, relatively rarely, it does keep the politicians from thinking up very stupid things.
    And guess what? Swiss are not disbanding their police force, not invading Israel nor Iran and the corporations are oh so legal :)
  • by Leonard Fedorov (1139357) on Friday July 11, 2008 @03:19AM (#24149431)

    Actually he would be trying to imply it. You're the one infering it.

    [/pedantry]

  • Re:Direct democracy (Score:2, Informative)

    by arstchnca (887141) <arst3chnica@gmail.com> on Friday July 11, 2008 @04:15AM (#24149749)
    I'm not convinced that many people even necessarily know what they're voting for. For example, if Voter X didn't research the items on the ballot beforehand, and went with the "snippets" of information you get with your ballot, he or she may very well vote either way.

    Just recently, Prop 98 and 99 were voted on; thankfully 99 received more votes and won. The blurbs that appeared on the ballot are as follows:

    98 EMIMENT DOMAIN. LIMITS ON GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

    followed by about six sentences; the other read,

    99 EMINENT DOMAIN. LIMITS ON GOVERNMENT ACQUISITION OF OWNER-OCCUPIED RESIDENCE. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

    followed by three sentences. I researched the two beforehand, and in no way could the state-provided materials have adequately informed me such that I could make my decision.

    Frankly, the USA seems beyond simple political inefficacy. At this point, "politics" is what people think when they hear familiar names like "George Bush," just as they think "movies" upon hearing "Tom Cruise." Popular politics has always struck me as vastly commoditized, mostly by media forces such as television news.

    The sad part is that what many of my fellow Americans seem to know about the workings of our government is really limited to Sophomore-year government (or whatever your school called it) class. The bad part is that the older the American is, the more years since Sophomore year.

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