Oz Blog News Commentary

Let's Make a Political Party out of Software

August 3, 2016 - 06:48 -- Admin

Our political system is broken.

How do we fix it? We don't.

We hack it.

We build a political party that works like a network.

How? We turn the party into an app.  Into software.

My collaborator, the successful tech entrepreneur Jordan Greenhall, has a proposal for this.

His proposal? Build an app that allows members of the party to directly control the actions of the representatives they send to Washington. In his proposal, everything that the representative does in Washington, from votes to vetoes should be debated and voted on by the party members within the party app.

However, instead of directly voting on every issue, party members can choose to give their votes to proxies who have the time, the character, and the expertise to make informed decisions on the issue. Once the vote is decided, the elected representative of the party in Washington would then cast that vote.

Would it work? It might.  

It turns political decisions from something done by remote representatives over dinner with lobbyists into a highly participatory activity.  However, due to use of proxies, it can be done without much of the cacophony seen in direct democracy efforts (or the collaborative sausage making we get with apps like piratepad).    

Contrast what would happen with a party like this in this year's election.  

Instead of relentless name calling by a petty press and even pettier candidates, people inside the party network would be engaged in party debates over the issues to be decided before they vote for their candidates in the usual way (in the voting booth).  

As bad as it could be, the party network app would be better than it is today.  From the process of sending people to Washington to what they do after they get there.  

Further, a software based system would undergo an iterative process of improvement, getting better with each failure, rather than the endless groundhog day of failure we currently see. 

I say, let's try it.  What do we have to lose that we aren't losing already?


John Robb

PS: If built correctly, this party as app could run circles around traditional parties. It could even field candidates inside their primaries like the Tea Party and Sanders did, hacking them from inside.

PPS: Summer is coming to a close and I'm looking for something interesting to work on over the next year.  Specifically, I'm looking for a project management or strategy gig in a tech company in either Boston, NYC, or Washington.   If there is a nat defense gig available, I'm up for that too.  Let me know if you have something where I can help you succeed >