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Chapter 21
The Demos Electoral System—An Honest Way to Elect the President, Senators, and Representatives

As stated earlier, the single greatest scam and failure of our nation’s current political system is its electoral system. It lies at the root of most of our failures as a society including our inability to achieve honest representation of the entire populace in government. The need for and basic design of a new, honest electoral system located within the demos has already been discussed in the chapters entitled Reorganizing the Powers of the American Government and Consensus Democracy. In this chapter I will first briefly summarize what has been presented of the design so far and then discuss it in greater detail.


In the demos electoral system today’s Electoral College and all state electoral districts are entirely scrapped. The president and all senators are elected by direct popular vote from the nation at-large, and each state’s quota of representatives is elected from the state at-large. All periodic elections, including all primary elections, are scrapped and replaced by a simple, ongoing electoral system. In a manner similar to the nine demos economic issues in which each member of the electorate keeps a vote riding on each issue, each member keeps a vote riding on one candidate for president, one for a senator, and one for a representative. With one exception discussed later in the chapter, one may change one’s votes at any time.

The demos system has a single national Presidential Candidates list and a single national Senatorial Candidates list. Each state has its own single Representative Candidates list. Any member of the electorate that constitutionally qualifies, e.g., age and residency requirements, may run for office. And any number of people may run for office. The person currently receiving the most votes in the Presidential Candidates list, the top 100 people in the Senatorial Candidates list, and each state’s quota of representatives from its Representative Candidates list are currently seated in office. A person gains or loses office when he or she gains or loses a sufficient number of votes relative to other candidates in the office’s Candidates list.

Since the demos is a branch of the government, all of its functions including its nationwide electronic voting system and electoral process are government supported. Therefore, candidates that run for the presidency, the senate, or the house need not be wealthy or wealth supported. They may take any amount of time to run for office for free and build a following. Members of the electorate may take any amount of time to study and deliberate about candidates and to reach out to each other across states or the entire nation to directly elect their champions, truly representative officeholders that resemble them in body, mind, interests, and pocketbook.

It is the electing of senators from within the nation at-large and a state’s quota of representatives from within the state at-large that overcomes the wealth dominated, one elective office per district problem and empowers each member of the electorate to join with others to select their champions. While others vote for their good candidates (who I may consider to be bad) from within these large pools—from the entire nation or an entire state—I and others like me vote for our good candidates from within the same large pools (who others may consider to be bad).

With many voters selecting several people from the same large pool to populate a representative body in free, ongoing elections, no member of the electorate is stuck reluctantly picking a “lesser evil” from a small group preselected by the wealthy as is done today. All voters support their goods, their champions, those who resemble and truly represent them. The resulting senate and house automatically demographically resemble and serve the true and balanced interests of the entire electorate. No quota systems, political parties, or complex electoral schemes are required. People just get to directly vote for whom they really want. Unlike today’s wealth-serving senate and house, the members of these diverse bodies entering into democratic deliberations would create laws that serve the greater good of the entire populace and the nation. Eliminating state electoral district systems would also end the cynical, embarrassing spectacle of political gerrymandering.

Simply because it empowers all members of the electorate in the same way, the free, at-large, ongoing demos electoral process gives non-wealthy people (and minorities) the means and unlimited time to reach out to each other across their states or the entire nation in support of candidates that serve their needs and interests, even as they also go out into their neighborhoods and communities to organize and educate friends, neighbors, co-workers, and others as to their true interests. Unlike today, the economic bottom half of our populace will achieve full presence and honest representation within our government.

Voting for one’s choice for president, a senator, and a representative is an easy task. On the appropriate demos electoral issue pages, the voter simply selects a name from an already existing national Presidential Candidates list, a national Senatorial Candidates list, and a Representative Candidates list for his or her state or adds new names to the lists.

That summarizes most of what was presented in previous chapters about the basic demos electoral system. We now move on to further details and areas not yet discussed.


Ideally, to fully achieve its end, a representative body that demographically resembles and honestly serves the entire electorate, the at-large electoral process requires that the area encompassed by the body is not divided into electoral districts but is one electoral whole; all able, of-age members of the populace living in the area are members of the electorate; all members of the electorate may run for a seat in the body; all of the body’s several seats are filled by direct, popular vote, each member of the electorate having the civic duty to cast one vote; and those earning the most votes in what could be a long list of candidates win seats in the body.

How well does the demos electoral process live up to this at-large electoral ideal in the election of a president, senators, and representatives? Given that the government design presented in this book was not created from scratch but is only a partial redesign of our current government, what concessions were made to existing political circumstances?

Currently two senators are elected within each state to serve in the senate. Some states are divided into two large electoral districts, one senator being elected from each district. In other states both senators are elected at-large within the state. In the two electoral district states, the seat for each district may be essentially dominated and bought while the poor and minorities go unrepresented. While the situation is a little better in at-large states, with only two senate seats to fill, it is only a little better. It is not difficult to dominate and buy both seats.

It is only when all of a representative body’s several seats are filled from the same large electoral pool that it becomes difficult to dominate and buy all seats in the body and the lower middle class, the working poor, and minorities are empowered to reach out to each other and elect their champions to office. That is why in the demos electoral system all 100 senators are elected from the nation at-large in free, ongoing elections. It was necessary to overcome the undue advantage that our two-senators-per-state system gives to the dominant and wealthy. The demos-style election of all 100 senators from the nation at-large fills perfectly all the criteria for the ideal at-large electoral process.

Currently each state’s quota of representatives is elected by dividing the state into electoral districts in which one representative is elected within each district. Using the ideal at-large electoral model, all 435 or so representatives to the House of Representatives could be elected from the nation at-large as was done with the election of senators.

But I did not do this. Why? In part because it wasn’t really necessary and in part because I thought it important to keep one of the branches of the legislature coupled to geographical area. If the members of both the senate and the house were elected from the nation at-large, then, really, aside from size what would be the difference between them? By leaving the election of representatives tied to states a significant difference is created between the senate and the house. While a few senators’ constituencies may be mostly limited to a large urban area, the constituencies of most senators would extend beyond state borders and even nationwide. Each representative’s constituency is restricted to a given state. Thus, as “horse trading” and “wheeling and dealing” take place within and between the senate and house during the legislative process, there is insured in the process a great mix of national and state interests.

I kept the election of representatives tied to states, but I eliminated all state electoral districts. All of a state’s representatives are elected at-large within the state. This mostly overcomes the wealth dominated, one elective office per district problem and empowers each member of the electorate to join with others to select their champions, but it does not do so perfectly. Some states only have two representatives. The at-large election within a state of only two representatives does not fare any better than does the at-large election of two senators. The election of both representatives may be dominated and bought.

But most states have three or more, often several, representatives, approaching and readily satisfying the at-large electoral ideal. Thus, while not perfect, the at-large election of representatives within states works well enough to empower the lower middle class, the working poor, and minorities to elect their champions to the house, all the while giving us the desired coupling to geographical area and the desired interplay of national and state interests during the legislative process.

Also, power is distributed in many different ways, preventing any particular group from gaining an undue measure.

With just one office to fill, electing the president by direct popular vote from the nation at-large falls well short of the at-large electoral ideal of electing several candidates to a body from the same large pool. But at least the candidates will not be only wealthy or wealth-serving.

To win office a candidate would likely have to appeal to a very broad spectrum of voters and have a long track record proving his or her service to the entire electorate and to the nation as a whole. And in the ongoing demos electoral system a candidate would likely remain within a small group in the upper regions of the Presidential Candidates list for a long while being well studied and deliberated by the electorate before gaining office.


In the ongoing demos electoral process, all three Candidates lists would function in the same way. The names on each list would slowly change over time as the names of new candidates were added by demos members and other names were removed for various reasons, e.g., candidates died, no longer qualified for office, or withdrew. The names of the candidates who possessed the most votes at any given moment would be at the tops of their appropriate lists and would be actually seated in office. They would be followed in descending order on the lists by the names of others that possessed fewer and fewer votes.

The person whose name was at the top of the Presidential Candidates list would actively sit as president of the United States. Once in office, the president would remain in office for a minimum of three years no matter what his or her ranking became in the Presidential Candidates list during those years. Demos members who had a vote riding on a candidate at the time the candidate gained office or who voted to further support an already seated president during his or her initial three years could not change their votes until the three year period has ended. (This is the exception I mentioned earlier in the book of a voter’s ability to change any of his or her demos votes at any time. The same rule holds for senators and representatives.) Beyond the initial three years the president would remain in office only so long as he or she retained enough votes to stay at the top of the Presidential Candidates list up to a maximum of eight years in office. However long his or her term lasted, the individual could never seek or hold the office again.

Candidates earning enough votes to hold one of the top 100 positions on the Senatorial list would actively sit as senators in the Senate. Once in office, a senator would remain in office for a minimum of three years no matter what his or her ranking became in the Senatorial Candidates list during those years. Demos members who had a vote riding on a candidate at the time the candidate gained office or who voted to further support an already seated senator during his or her initial three years could not change their votes until the three year period has ended. Beyond the initial three years a senator would remain in office only so long as he or she retained enough votes to stay somewhere within the top 100 positions on the Senatorial Candidates list up to a maximum of six years in office. Once bumped from office or having finished the maximum term, the now ex-senator could serve again if desired after a three year waiting period.

Each state’s allotment of representatives would be elected at-large by the members of the demos living within the state. In accordance with the number of representatives allotted for the state, the people with the most votes in the state’s Representative Candidates list would actively sit as representatives for the state in the House of Representatives. Once in office, a representative would remain in office for a minimum of two years no matter what his or her ranking became in his or her state’s Representative Candidates list during those years. Demos members who had a vote riding on a candidate at the time the candidate gained office or who voted to further support an already seated representative during his or her initial two years could not change their votes until the two years have ended. Beyond the initial two years a representative would remain in office so long as he or she retained enough votes to stay within the allotted number of top positions of his or her state’s Representative Candidates list up to a maximum of four years in office. Once bumped from office or having finished the maximum term, the now ex-representative could serve again if desired after a two year waiting period.

With waiting periods between terms of serving in the senate or the house, voters would be encouraged to explore other candidates for office. And yet good people, which, as we all know, can be hard to find, could be periodically reelected building experience and wisdom. Breaks between terms of service would periodically free those who serve from the narrow focus of Washington and keep them in touch with the larger reality of the lives and needs of everyday people. It would also give them time for personal affairs and family.


Along with its Candidates list, each of the three demos issue pages pertaining to the election of the president, senators, and representatives would contain the tools necessary for voting for a candidate, for adding and removing names from the Candidates list, for organizing the list as desired, for browsing through the list, and for searching for names. Who the member currently perusing a Candidates list is currently voting for would also be indicated. Each electoral issue’s voting page should also contain some basic electoral information such as a brief description of the constitutional qualifications, e.g., age and residency requirements, for the electoral seat or office. Each electoral issue’s page would also contain links that lead to a hierarchy of other pages containing more general electoral information and possibly to an area for general discussion about the issue’s electoral process and political office.

Along with each candidate’s name, his or her rank in the Candidates list would be displayed, the number of votes the candidate currently has, and if the candidate is currently seated in office. And the name would be accompanied by a link to a standard set of demos information about the candidate and a link to pro and con member discussion about the candidate. Centered on the candidate’s own views, a combination of member voting and a mathematical round robin (described in the chapter entitled Consensus Democracy) should be used to initially organize and present the pro and con member discussion, which a visiting member may then reorder as desired.

Selecting a name on the Candidates list would display the candidate’s campaign for office in his or her personal demos space. Each candidate’s campaign pages would follow a standard layout and format designed by demos officials. These pages would contain the candidate’s campaign speech, discussion of and positions taken on issues of the day, campaign information, and links to the candidate’s campaign efforts outside the demos, the same standard set of demos information about the candidate as can be directly linked to from his or her name in the Candidates list, and his or her actual voting record from current or previously held offices.


The free, ongoing, at-large demos method of electing the president, senators, and representatives would open doors for candidates and voters and introduces fairness into the electoral process in several ways. Since any constitutionally qualifying individual’s name could be placed into a Candidates list at no cost and reside within the list indefinitely, there would be no monetary or time constraints placed upon candidates who are trying to express their political messages and run for office. While money would still “talk” throughout our society and lend support to wealthier and wealth-serving candidates, a congress that resembles and represents the entire electorate would strike balanced laws and rules about the use of money and media in the electoral process. And within the demos all candidates would have opportunity to be heard and gain support. Even a poor candidate with excellent ideas could be heard and become elected. Poor members of the electorate could organize and work within and outside the demos in support of their champions. As a largely unknown candidate with a growing constituency moved significantly upward in a Candidates list, the always hungry media would likely pick up on “the news,” “the phenomenon” and give the candidate even more free visibility. Voters could take however much time they wanted to become familiar with various candidates and to express their views to other members of the demos including folks living in their own communities. Slow-building, grass-roots movements could elevate candidates in the Candidates lists over a long period of time. In fact, grass-roots movements started elsewhere could be moved into the demos within the candidate’s personal demos space.

The single most important result of all of this is that poor and minority voters would no longer be forced by the electoral system to be joined at the hip as they are today with wealthy and majority candidates who do not really champion their interests. The wealthy (and anyone else that could manage to scrape the money together) could still use the media for political ends, but now other powerful political forces are facilitated such as community and minority self-education and action, which are ineffectual in today’s periodic, fast paced, money-driven electoral system. Poor and minority voters would be empowered by the free, ongoing, at-large demos electoral system to support their own champions and to take as much time as needed to educate similar others as to which candidates truly serve their interests. And remember, voting on the demos’ nine economic and three electoral issues would be a civic obligation. Millions of poor and less educated people and disenchanted dropouts who currently do not vote would be politically educated and motivated by their more astute peers and vote in the demos.


Many kinds of alternate electoral schemes have been proposed or are in effect today around the world that attempt to create improved participation within and representation by government of the entire populace. Attempts are made to remedy or mitigate the ill effect that extreme amounts of money and other resources have on elections, the lesser of evil dilemma, the third candidate spoiler problem, and the lack of representation. Such schemes include electoral money management, term limits, ranked or ordered preference voting, proportional party representation, and others. Ranked or ordered preference voting takes into account each voter’s second, third, etc. choices of a candidate for an office. With proportional party representation, political parties run several candidates who win office in proportion to the number of votes the parties have won. There are many variations of each scheme.

And yet, in every country in the world powerful, wealthy elites continue to hold hegemonies of power during elections and in their governments. The reason is that the many electoral schemes proposed and tried so far are really superficial patches that fall well short of correcting the problems they attempt to address. Further, the very complexity of most would-be electoral remedies biases the electoral system in favor of those who are the most sophisticated and cunning and against the many voters they attempt to help.


Some people idealistically propose that those who populate the electoral seats of government should not be biased career politicians but ordinary citizens selected at random or objective scientists or supposed “experts” who work together to make high-minded laws and policies that benefit the entire populace and the nation as a whole. But in real life every person has particular world and political views, and there is no such thing as an unbiased or apolitical person.

Many people, if not most of us, lack sufficient wisdom, vision, and capability to occupy electoral office. Random selection of ordinary people is not a good idea. Many mediocre people would end up in office, and they would create many shortsighted and narrow-minded laws.

‘Experts’ and even scientists can often be as biased and subject to poor judgment and decisions as members of the general populace. Not to pick on scientists, but by way of example, anyone who has studied the historical and current feuds among scientists understands well the bias, prejudice, and political intrigue within the scientific community.

Try as we may to be objective, we are subjective, not objective, beings, particularly when it comes to economic fairness and moral and value judgments. The idealistic wish that governing entities be objective, apolitical, managerial bodies is a pipedream. The best that we can achieve are candidates that pass through a long process of scrutiny and democratic deliberation by members of the electorate and representative bodies that demographically resemble to the fullest extent possible the entire electorate in body, mind, interests, and pocketbook. The demos method of electing the president, senators, and representatives to office would achieve these goals as much as is humanly possible and give us our greatest possibility of finding and electing visionary, high-minded, just, capable people to office.

Although objectivity and impartiality are elusive qualities that in reality do not exist when it comes to moral and value judgments, those who are not convinced of this and who want to elect to office someone they deem to be objective and impartial would, in the form of the demos electoral process, have in hand the tool to do this. Unlike the current electoral system, which for the most part insures the election of wealthy and wealth-serving people, the demos electoral system would empower the members of the electorate to elect to office any people they want who constitutionally qualify.

The offices of the president, senators, and representatives are surrounded by expert career people whose function, among others, is to guide and aid new officeholders, including officeholders who are not career politicians. This support staff is what makes the election of new people possible. One job of the elected officeholder is, of course, to never fail to remember who is the help and who is the boss.

The demos electoral system does not unrealistically depend upon supposed idealism, high-mindedness, objectivity, or impartiality of candidates or voters. It is a robust system based upon each of us seeking our self-interests. But, unlike our current electoral system, which overwhelmingly favors the interests of the wealthy, the demos system achieves a just balance of all of our interests. The surprisingly simple, free, ongoing, at-large demos electoral system achieves fair participation and demographically proportional representation within our government’s representative bodies without resorting to quota systems or to complex electoral schemes such as ranked list voting and proportional party representation.


Along with the distribution of power, our economic relationship with each other and our nation’s overall distribution of wealth are profound moral issues. In fact, they are the most important of all moral issues. Our nation’s extreme economic imbalance more deeply and adversely affects our lives than any other of our many problems. And, whatever other problems one must bear, one’s personal exclusion from effective participation in the political-economic system seriously worsens one’s situation and life. The just inclusion and effective participation of each of us in the political-economic system would make possible our repair of most of our nation’s currently intractable political, economic, and social problems.

One must first obtain political power before one can pursue any of one’s interests and achieve any of one’s goals in the political arena. The demos with its nine economic and three electoral issues and the attainment of honest representation in the other branches of government achieve a fair measure of power for all members of the electorate.

Holding real political power at long last, what should be a voter’s most vital interest in the political arena?

While participating in the political process, each member of the electorate should hold uppermost in mind and action his or her economic interests. All of one’s other interests should be held secondary. Within the political arena, one should join together with like-minded others to first secure the means to feed, clothe, shelter, and achieve economic security for one’s self and family before pursuing any other political or social dreams or goals.

The wealthy already know the truth of this. Cunning wealthy politicos and those they serve steadfastly pursue the gold while using secondary “hot-button” social issues to politically distract others and manipulate them into forking over their gold. Empowered by the demos to act in their own interests, all members of the electorate would need to learn what policies, rules, laws, and institutions are in their best economic interests and how to effectively pursue them in the political arena without being distracted by the secondary, hot-button social issues. The free, ongoing demos deliberative and connective processes and related national and community organization and action provide a place, a way, and unlimited time for this never ending educational process to take place.

Whatever other qualities one desired in a candidate, first and foremost one should be sure that a candidate truly represents one’s economic interests. If one’s candidate gets elected to office, one should make sure the officeholder does not stray from representing one’s economic interests. If the officeholder does stray, then one should vote for some other candidate instead.

While one’s economic interests have several facets, let’s simplify the discussion by saying that they are most simply determined by the amount of one’s annual income and total accumulated wealth. One should vote for candidates who look after the interests of people with one’s level of income and wealth. If each voter did, indeed, understand his or her true economic interests and voted accordingly, the house and senate would end up populated by people that represent economic interests in demographic proportion to the actual income and wealth levels of the general populace.

Now, a wise voter would unfailingly keep the matter of economic self-interest above all other considerations. But there would be many candidates running for office and a voter would have other interests that he or she could and should consider. To a woman, it may and should be important that the number of women seated in office be in proportion to the number of women in the electorate, about 50%. Therefore, from among the candidates that she believes would look after her economic interests a woman may and should select a woman. One could further refine or fine-tune one’s selection considering race, moral views, etc. Electing senators from the nation at-large and representatives from states at-large would create large enough pools of candidates to strongly enable voters to reach out to each other in support of candidates who truly resemble and represent them. Each voter could at any time evaluate his or her votes to see if they are being used most wisely for self-interest and freely change them as desired.

With one’s principal focus on one’s economic interests, one may not always be able to as fully pursue one’s secondary interests as one would like when selecting a candidate. No candidate would match one’s views and interests entirely or vote exactly as one would like. Therefore, it would always be a matter of judgment as to how well a candidate satisfies one overall and as to whether some other candidate would be more satisfactory. While a voter could not perfectly juggle many criteria, one should usually be able to judge fairly well whether or not one’s economic interests are represented adequately by a candidate or officeholder. Voters would have access to a wealth of demos supplied and other information and many different resources. There would almost certainly be many different organizations rating and judging candidates in many different ways using all kinds of criteria. 

While some voters might feel most comfortable voting for candidates that resemble them in economic class, gender, race, ethnicity, etc., it would certainly not be necessary that one do so. It would be most crucial that one votes for people that truly serve one’s interests as demonstrated by actions and voting records. A wise voter would understand that a candidate who demographically resembles one does not necessarily support one’s interests and a candidate who demographically differs may well best champion one’s interests. One does not need to resemble you to serve you well. There is no shortage of altruistic people among us who rise above their personal demographic characteristics in the service of others and the greater good.

If and when a demos and consensus democracy were added to our government and people were able to vote for anyone they wanted to represent them, it might take a great deal of reeducation before America’s then current crop of politically clueless people stopped voting for multimillionaire rock stars or television evangelists. It might take an agonizingly long while before they became politically streetwise and voted intelligently in their self-interest. Long held clueless and ineffectual by the plutocracy, the then current generation may have to die and be replaced before the economic bottom half learns enough to participate intelligently in the political arena.

By being taught at the high school level—something which will be discussed later—and by long participation in the demos, each voter and each generation of voters would become increasingly politically street wise. Take heart, O you cynic! It may not matter much how the excluded vote in a plutocracy, but, facilitated by the true democracy that is proposed here, voters will in time learn their interests and how to effectively pursue them. And, to politically survive, officeholders will learn to serve honestly and effectively.

Whatever other attributes, characteristics, and political positions one sought in a candidate, the candidate should be able to participate effectively in the legislative and governing “wheeling and dealing” and “horse trading” processes. If a group of, say, religious fundamentalist voters or voters with a rigid, uncompromising ideology elected to the senate or house someone who simply harangued and blew hot air day after day in congress on a limited set of issues, neither giving nor taking, never willing to compromise or trade on anything, than the congressperson could not gain anything for his or her constituency other than, perhaps, the satisfaction of hearing the person rant. These voters will have thrown away their economic and other interests on a dysfunctional candidate. The demos would only make it possible for each member of the electorate to seek his or her interests. It would not guarantee that voters understood their self-interests, chose wisely, and actually achieved their self-interests. All voters would need to understand that their own needs and views exist in a sea of other needs and views and that only those who give a little manage to receive anything from the political process. A voter must ask: While my candidate and I are of like mind, is the candidate that currently carries my vote actually achieving anything and serving my interests?

As discussed earlier, one’s vote must remain with a selected candidate during the initial portion of his or her term in office. But at all other times one could change one’s vote as often as one wished. If one saw that a candidate who does act in one’s economic interest has many more votes including one’s own than is really needed to win or stay in office, then one could switch one’s vote to some other candidate who looks after one’s interest and who needs more support.

Keeping in mind that the demos electoral process is not periodic but ongoing, the overall result of our freely changing our votes over time as wisdom and self-interest dictate would be that votes would flow like water, so to speak. There would be a ripple effect of some ever shifting portion of voters seeking and finding the right candidates and a senate and house with a slowly shifting membership that resembles in several general ways the demographic distribution of the entire electorate in body, mind, interests, and pocketbook and that truly represents the broad interests of the entire electorate. Most of the vote shifting would occur among candidates already seated in office during the second portion of their terms and among several candidates not currently in office but sporting a goodly number of votes, thus having the greatest potential to win office. As the distribution of wealth, the physical features of individuals, and the interests and moral and other values of the electorate shifted over the decades and centuries, the demographics of the house and the senate would automatically and peacefully follow those of the nation as a whole.


How would the demos electoral system deal with the “lesser of evils” and the “third candidate spoiler” problems that plague our current system?

The lesser of evils problem only exists in America’s current, two-party electoral system, which is essentially left to the marketplace. Virtually all candidates are wealthy or they are financed and, therefore, preselected by the wealthy and are wealth-serving. The non-wealthy usually find themselves reluctantly picking from among them what they guess may be lesser evils that don’t really serve their interests.

In the demos electoral system, one would not be picking a stranger from a short list pre-selected by the wealthy. One would pick directly from or add to a long list of candidates the name of someone that one has long studied, knows well, and trusts to be a champion of one’s interests. Thus, the lesser of evils problem simply wouldn’t exist in the demos electoral system.

In today’s third candidate spoiler problem, one dares not take one’s vote away from one’s lesser of evils between the Republican and Democratic candidates in favor of one’s favorite third party or independent candidate (who likely will not win anyway) because that helps the greater of one’s two major evils to win.

However, in the demos electoral system, particularly with one’s choice for a senator and a representative, one’s focus would not be toward “the evils” but toward one’s favorite candidates. With senators elected from the nation at-large and representatives from states at-large and one only being able to vote for one candidate for senator with a hundred positions to be filled and one for representative with several positions to be filled, one couldn’t prevent by voting what one perceives to be “the evils” from being elected. Of necessity, one must focus on voting wisely for one’s own interests by voting for one’s champions.

Although each demos member could only vote for one candidate for each office, during demos deliberations one could still participate in arguments for and against any number of other candidates, thus attempting to influence other people’s votes. And one could “enlighten” one’s family members, friends, co-workers, and others in the community as to which candidates best serve their interests.

What would happen to our current two principal political parties in the demos electoral system? The two major parties would almost certainly die the inglorious political death that they so richly deserve. Their wealth-serving hegemony of power would become fragmented and would be replaced by slowly shifting constellations of several parties, interest groups, and independent others that are vastly more representative of the entire electorate than the current parties ever have been.

Realistically, perfect representation of the entire populace is an ideal that can be approached but not fully achieved. Under the demos electoral system, the house and senate would evolve toward a more just representation of the entire populous and yet likely not achieve it completely. Even so, like our use of BC and AD in our calculation of dates, the difference between our current plutocracy and beyond plutocracy under the true democracy of the consensus government described here would be transcendental, a continental divide in our nation’s history and in human affairs. We would move to a whole new level of relationship with each other and a whole new way of being.


In Joseph J. Ellis’s marvelous book “Founding Brothers,” Ellis discusses George Washington’s Farewell Address, printed in a Philadelphia newspaper near the end of his second term as president. Ellis writes of Washington’s “plea for a politics of consensus serving as a warning against single-issue political movements, or against the separation of America into racial, ethnic, or gender-based constituencies.” Others since the time of the founders have reiterated this plea.

And yet, there is a difficulty with this argument. During the time of our new, fragile national government, the argument may have had some merit. But our government is much stronger now and can readily tolerate such constituencies. Moreover, the centuries have demonstrated that such constituencies are a natural and necessary part of the political process.

The founders’ creation of a government populated by a single constituency, the wealthy, to the exclusion of all others has proven disastrous for all other Americans. And it has not eliminated constituencies either, for, divided by interests and regions, the wealthy themselves fall into constituencies. There is no getting away from constituencies or interest groups. It is by the wheeling and dealing and horse trading among constituencies that laws are created and the business of government (and, indeed, the whole world) is conducted. By eliminating all other constituencies from government and allowing only the constituency of the wealthy to do the horse trading within itself, all that has been accomplished is to cut everyone else out of the deal, much to their detriment.

The partial redesign of the American government as proposed here would put all major constituencies into the political arena inside government where they may effectively wheel and deal and horse trade with the wealthy constituency that is currently there. A demos would create a single body constituted of the entire electorate. Therefore, it would include every constituency, and, moreover, guarantee by the very nature of its structure and function their achieving consensus on the demos issues. This in itself is a politics of consensus. But it goes further in its building of consensus. Electing senators from the nation at-large and representatives from within states at-large would allow various groups of people to come together to elect, as it were, one of their own. To the constituency of the wealthy currently populating the senate and the house many more would be added, giving all of the major constituencies in America real horse trading power on a level playing field where they could achieve a much broader consensus then that achieved today.

If government by the wheeling and dealing and the horse trading among constituencies is seen as an evil, then it is a far greater evil that government includes only one constituency, the wealthy. If it is not the notion of constituencies per se but single-issue constituencies that disturbs one, then one should consider that the most persistent and powerful single-issue constituency of all, the wealthy, has reigned supreme and alone throughout our nation’s history, which only makes it more of the same in our long, sorry human history.

And yet, when the constituency of the wealthy is examined closely, one finds many shades of gray, though narrowly focused around a common interest. This would be the case as well for most of the other constituencies that earned a place within government. Each constituency would present something of a unified agenda even as it warred within itself. The argument against single-issue, racial, ethnic, gender-based, etc. constituencies simply doesn’t hold water. They are and always have been an ever present political reality. But heretofore all have been barred from effective participation in the political-economic process by the dominant constituency of a powerful, wealthy minority.


Unlike the nine demos economic issues, which do not involve officeholders, the three electoral issues would face the problem of officeholders or candidates for office dying or become unable to serve for one reason or another. Candidates lists would require continuous attention to keep them accurate and up to date. With the cooperation of demos members, it would be up to the officials and technicians who maintain the demos to verify three things for each name in the Candidates lists: 1) The name is that of a real, living person. 2) The person wants to be a candidate. 3) The person constitutionally qualifies for the office being sought. While the demos could, when necessary, engage in a simple, standard search procedure when contact with a candidate has been lost, the responsibility for maintaining some means of communication with the demos should be borne by the candidate.

When a current officeholder or any other person in a Candidates list died, was removed from a list for lack of qualification, simply could not be located after standard search means had been used and a standard length of time had passed, or the candidate removed his or her own name from a list, then every demos member currently voting for the person would be notified as follows: A trigger would be placed into the demos voting system. Whenever any demos member voting for the person used any voting terminal to connect to the demos system, which, recall, would be required at least once a year, the system would automatically notify the voter of his or her need to cast a new vote for president, senator, or representative. Also, a demos member could opt to receive email notification when one of his or her votes required updating. For the more prominent persons on Candidates lists, demos voters may well learn about their need to update a vote via other sources, e.g., the evening news, and know to recast a vote at that time.


The consensus of the demos on its issues would serve as our “social contract” and set some values that government, businesses, and individuals must use as they conduct their business and live their lives. But what if elective office or seat holders of the representative branches of government attempted by their action or inaction to ignore or subvert the consensus of the demos, which, after all, represents the will of the people? Along with its empowering all members of the electorate to elect their champions to office in the first place, the demos electoral system would empower them to remove their support from officeholders during the second portion of their terms and support other candidates instead.

Given our current manner of conducting elections, the wrong people easily gain office and evade and contradict the will of the electorate. Given 1) the free, ongoing, at-large demos electoral system described here with candidates slowly gaining votes and marching up the Candidates lists over time; 2) the demos member’s increased interest, knowledge, and ability to select not just someone put on a short list by the elite but anyone he or she thought truly worthy and capable; 3) all of the ready information, candidates’ expressed views, actual voting records, and pro and con debate; and 4) the voter’s ability to change a vote at any time; candidates and officeholders would as a matter of survival be less responsive to the money of the elite and more responsive to the will of “we the people,” all of the people.


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1  While we discussed the propositions to elect senators from the nation at-large and representatives from states at-large verses electing a single candidate from each district as is currently done, a friend, Dean Crist, (whose sage thinking and debate has had its effect on my thinking and this work) expressed the fear that with the demos electoral system officeholders would end up being elected mostly from densely populated states and cities leaving the less populated states and cities under represented. I believe less populated areas are already under represented in our current system, a problem that would be lessened by an at-large voting system. With at-large voting, people from the entire nation or an entire state coming together around a candidate would be motivated by common interests, including the fact that they live in less densely populated areas. Rural people from all across the country or a state could join together in common cause. They could even join together in common cause with, say, urban poor people.  1