Re-invent democracy with a 21st century web technology
for electing governments by and for the people.
Polls indicate a widespread loss of faith in government and democratic institutions around the world because they are failing to solve problems, crises and conflicts that are putting people's lives and livelihoods in danger.
All too often these institutions fail to pass laws that are needed. Or they pass laws that lack broad-based support and do not respond to people's real concerns.
One of the main reasons for these governmental failures are the obstacles that have been erected to prevent voters from setting priorities, electing candidates of their choice, and holding them accountable for implementing voters' priorities.
Another reason is the barriers that have been erected to prevent reform of the processes by which lawmakers are elected and decide which laws to pass or not pass.
These barriers, obstacles and loss of faith in democratic processes and the ballot box are sparking confrontations between frustrated, aggrieved groups and governmental authorities.
Unfortunately, many governments are using force rather than non-violent methods to respond to these confrontations, which tends to increase rather than decrease social, political and economic tensions.
A Technology-Based Solution
The Re-Invent Democracy technology is a 21st century web technology designed to close the gap between the will of the people and the actions of government.
The technology will merge social media and politics via a common web platform for bringing everyone together to find common ground, within countries and transnationally.
It will embed a unique consensus building mechanism into electoral and legislative processes. This mechanism will lead to the formation of voting blocs and electoral coalitions around common agendas. These blocs and coalitions will be able to adopt and elect common slates of candidates, and hold them accountable for enacting bloc and coalitions agendas.
The technology is the recently patented Interactive Voter Choice System and the System for Playing an Interactive Voter Choice Game.
This reinventdemocracy.net website being designed around the technology will enable people from all walks of life to join forces to solve problems, crises and conflicts that governments are failing to solve.
Democracy builders across the political and ideological spectrum will be able to access unique agenda-setting, political organizing, and consensus building tools that will be available free of charge on the website, and use them to:
The Re-Invent Democracy technology will enable democracy builders to acquire the political influence they need to re-invent failing democracies so that they are governed by and for the people.
They will be able to build winning voting blocs and coalitions around transpartisan agendas, and forge transpartisan electoral bases large enough to elect candidates without special interest financing.
If they decide that the lawmakers they have elected have failed to exert their best efforts to enact bloc and coalition agendas, the blocs and coalitions can hold them accountable by defeating them in forthcoming elections and replacing them with new slates of candidates.
Democracy builders around the world can use these tools to join forces to create transnational blocs and coalitions to solve transnational conflicts and stalemates.
These transnational blocs and coalitions can win elections in multiple countries by having their members create blocs, coalitions and electoral bases in their home country to elect lawmakers who pledge to enact the agendas of their transnational blocs and coalitions.
THE RE-INVENT DEMOCRACY TEAM
The international Re-Invent Democracy team is comprised of technologists, social scientists and entrepreneurs with public and private sector experience, and roots in Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the U.S. The team is led by web entrepreneur and political scientist Nancy Bordier, Ph.D., who holds dual Swiss and U.S. citizenship and is the inventor of the Interactive Voter Choice System.
This 21st century web technology is the result of 8 years of collective brainstorming, research and development. It includes in-depth observation and analysis of the potential of this technology to surmount the root causes of the accumulating failures of democratic forms of government around the world to meet the needs of their constituents.
The team's conclusion is that a global platform built around this technology, which combines the large scale collective action power of the Internet with the large scale consensus building capabilities of the Interactive Voter Choice System, can provide democracy builders the tools they need to overcome these failures.
This combination, by embedding a unique consensus building mechanism into electoral and legislative processes, enables democracy builders to forge such large transpartisan voting blocs, coalitions and electoral bases that their voting members can outnumber those of any single political party and elect their candidates without special interest financial support.
Most importantly, voting blocs and electoral coalitions can be formed that act nationally and transnationally simultaneously, which is essential if the interaction between national and transnational problems, crises and conflicts is to be attenuated.
Implementing the Technology
To ensure that the platform offers democracy builders worldwide the trustworthy tools they need to elect governments by and for the people, the team is assembling an international team of developers to build and operate the platform in Switzerland. It is a neutral country in the heart of Europe with strict privacy laws and advanced encryption technologies.
To achieve these goals and objectives, the Re-Invent Democracy team is taking a three-pronged approach. It is developing two democracy building websites and an online multi-party game of electoral strategy that helps players learn how to use democracy building tools effectively.
This democracy building website is being developed around the Interactive Voter Choice System. It will provide you free access to the system's unique agenda-setting, political organizing, and consensus building tools. When the platform and website are operational, you will be able to use these tools to:
- Set common legislative and policy agendas.
- Form winning voting blocs and electoral coalitions, within nations and transnationally.
- Elect lawmakers who will enact their agendas.
- Hold lawmakers accountable at the ballot box if they fail to exert their best efforts to enact bloc and coalition agendas.
There are four ways your blocs and coalitions will be able to use the platform and website to hold lawmakers accountable for implementing your agendas. You can:
- Set your own agenda of priorities you want lawmakers to enact.
- Connect with people who have similar priorities in locations you select.
- Join forces with like-minded democracy stakeholders to build voting blocs and electoral coalitions to pressure incumbent lawmakers to enact your agendas.
- Nominate and elect your own candidates to replace lawmakers whose performance you and your voting blocs and coalitions deem to be unsatisfactory.
The second website is being developed by the Re-Invent Democracy Foundation Intl to build a vibrant global democracy-building community, which you are cordially invited to join.
The reinventdemocracyfoundation.net website and community will provide you a variety of opportunities for communicating with the Re-Invent Democracy team and your fellow democracy-builders around the world. These opportunities will enable you to share with us your views about the tools and services you can access and use on the reinventdemocracy.net website, and ways and means to improve their effectiveness.
Interactive features such as The Democracy Exchange will facilitate dialogue, debate and exchange of information about challenges to the functioning of existing and emerging democracies in specific locations, and ways and means to use democracy building technologies like the Interactive Voter Choice System to address these challenges.
In addition, the Foundation's E-Democracy Technology Consortium will provide technology developers opportunities to work with each other, democracy builders around the world, and the Re-Invent Democracy team to analyze existing and emerging technologies, as the team continuously enhances and integrates state-of-the-art and emerging technologies into the reinventdemocracy.net platform -- especially advanced technologies that protect user privacy. The Foundation will strive to become a global leader in facilitating the utilization of the most advanced encryption technologies.
THE CITIZENS WINNING HANDS® GAME
This multiparty game of electoral strategy is being developed around the System for Playing an Interactive Voter Choice Game, which is a companion technology to the Interactive Voter Choice System. It is called the Citizens' Winning Hands® game because it is built around two decks of cards.
The game will enable democracy builders to join their friends and families in playing an intriguing online multi-party game of electoral strategy and chance that will show them how to take advantage of the agenda-setting, political organizing, and consensus building tools of the Interactive Voter Choice System to create winning voting blocs and coalitions around common agendas and slates of candidates.
THE RE-INVENT DEMOCRACY STORY
by Nancy Bordier
A Rude Awakening
The story of the Re-invent Democracy technology begins back in 2004 when I attended a campaign event for a U.S. presidential primary candidate. Six months earlier when the candidate first threw his hat into the ring, he advocated priorities similar to my own. But as soon as he started to raise campaign funds from special interests, he drifted farther and farther away from his original priorities towards those of the special interests. He moved many of the priorities of actual voters like myself down the list of his priorities in order to make room for those of his special interest contributors at the top.
Right there at the campaign event, I came to a sudden and unexpected realization. The U.S. democracy barely resembles the democracy I had been taught about in high school, college and graduate school when I studied political science at the University of Geneva in Switzerland and Columbia University in New York.
The event was a real eye-opener for me. It motivated me to start paying closer attention to what is happening in Washington, D.C. What I observed was a growing gap between the priorities of voters and the priorities of elected representatives. The more I saw members of Congress vote against the priorities of their constituents in favor of the priorities of their campaign contributors, the more I came to doubt the U.S. has a functioning democracy at all.
Ten years later, academicians, researchers and analysts confirmed my observations. Special interests such as organized economic and business groups that do not have a vote exercise a disproportionate influence over what laws are passed, in stark contrast to the influence of average citizens and groups representing large numbers of voters that have little impact or no impact at all. This disparity is causing all kinds of problems when it comes to passing legislation that is in the public interest and serves the needs of ordinary people.
After I received advanced degrees in political science, what really alarmed me as I scrutinized the functioning of the U.S. government and Congress is how vulnerable democracies are to the erection of hurdles to prevent voters from exercising their sovereignty. In the U.S., many of these hurdles are aimed at preventing voters from electing representatives of their choice, and holding incumbents accountable when they fail to put their constituents' priorities ahead of the priorities of the special interests that finance their campaigns.
To take one example, for many decades the two major U.S. political parties have been busy changing the boundaries of election districts to include voters likely to vote for their candidates and exclude voters likely to vote against them. The advantages they have gained by changing boundaries are compounded by unfair election laws that prevent third parties from having a fair chance to run and elect candidates against the candidates of the two major parties.
And, to make matters worse, many states have adopted undemocratic laws, rules, regulations and technologies that actually prevent people from voting and having their votes counted. Candidates and parties that can rig the outcome of elections in their favor by preventing candidates from competing against them tend to adopt extreme positions, which is one of the reasons for the chronic stalemates that plague the U.S. Congress.
The representatives of the two major parties adopt extreme stances that make it difficult and often impossible for them to agree on the compromises needed to pass legislation. When these politicians are not spending their time soliciting campaign contributions for their next electoral campaign (which studies show is what they spend most of their time doing), and get around to looking at legislative proposals, their tendency is to deliberately provoke dissension in order to inflame the passions of voters in the hope of winning the next election.
The result is increasingly severe conflicts and uncompromising stalemates that all too often bring decision-making to a standstill. This is true even in the face of real crises, such as the life-threatening crises caused by climate change/disruption, and the need to legislate policies and programs for preventing and coping with disasters caused by extreme weather.
One of the most counter-productive things these politicians do in their conflict-producing mode is to instigate inter-group conflicts among people from different regions of the country and different socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicity, race, color, religion, etc.
The tensions and antagonisms they fabricate are really disappointing to me because of my European background as a citizen of Switzerland as well as the U.S., with parental roots in Denmark, Germany and Ireland. While not always successful, I have observed that people and lawmakers of good will in these countries can and do find ways to live together and govern their countries without the kind of vitriol that plagues U.S. politics.
These disheartening discoveries about democracy in the U.S. are what motivated me to create a new technology to re-invent failing democracies, the Interactive Voter Choice System. Before I describe my goals for my invention, though, I want to explain to you why I turned to technology instead of traditional reform channels.
The main reason is that my observations as a political scientist, political activist and former electoral candidate convinced me long ago that it is unlikely enough lawmakers will vote for legislation to overturn the unfair laws, decisions, rules and regulations that so many of them exploit in order to get nominated, elected and re-elected even when they lack broad-based support.
An even more important reason for my reliance on technology is the fact that modern web technologies like the Interactive Voter Choice System that rely on the Internet, and especially global social networks of the scale we envisage for our consensus building platform and reinventdemocracy.net website, make it possible to vastly expand the number of people and the collective intelligence applied to the formulation of governing decisions.
As a member of the team that launched one of the first large scale social networks, the $1 billion consumer network, Prodigy, I experienced first hand the unique power of social networking technologies to connect vast numbers of like-minded people who would otherwise never find each other.
In contrast to the obvious failure of lawmakers in the U.S. and so many countries abroad to solve the mounting life-threatening local, national and transnational crises and conflicts, technologies like my invention can enable virtually unlimited numbers of democracy stakeholders around the world to combine the power of their numbers, their collective intelligence and the collective action potential of the Internet to the resolution of the crises and conflicts that now threaten our lives and our livelihoods.
My invention provides democracy stakeholders across the political and ideological spectrum a common platform where they can come together to find common ground. It is designed to enable any number of people to form voting blocs and coalitions that can shift power to the grassroots and overcome the obstacles that have been erected to prevent them from deciding who runs for office, who gets elected, and what laws are passed.
The paradigm-shifting technology in the Interactive Voter Choice System will create the world's first large scale, global consensus building and conflict resolution platform. It will empower stakeholders to forge such large scale transpartisan voting blocs, coalitions and electoral bases around common agendas that they can outnumber the electoral base of any single political party and run common slates of candidates who can win elections without special interest campaign contributions.
For the first time in history, my invention gives stakeholders a mechanism for:
- Conduct large scale petitioning campaigns, use the voting utility to tally the number of signatories, transmit the petition to lawmakers electronically, and publicize the results in the media you prefer.
- Conduct online referendums indicating the legislative and policy-related actions that your blocs and coalitions want elected representatives and policy-makers to take; tally and publicize the number the votes cast in order to show how many people support these actions.
- Conduct online straw recall votes to inform your representatives and policy-makers who fail to adhere to bloc and coalition agendas and mandates how many people would like to oust them from office immediately if they could.
- Defeat in actual elections lawmakers that you and your blocs and coalitions deem to have failed to exert their best efforts to enact your agendas and mandates.
I want to emphasize that elected representatives, policy-makers and candidates who genuinely wish to serve the public interest can also take advantage of the platform to determine the preferences of their constituents. They can "poll" their constituents and supporters on a continuous basis by engaging them in using the platform to set their legislative and policy agendas individually. They can then collaborate with them to set common agendas that representatives, policy-makers and candidates pledge to exert their best efforts to enact.
Lawmakers and candidates who succeed in generating widespread support for common legislative and policy agendas, which they collaboratively set with their constituents and supporters, will be able to forge electoral bases large enough to elect them without the financial support of special interests. As a result, these lawmakers will be able to cast their votes in legislative and policy-making bodies on behalf of their constituents unequivocally, without conflicts of interest.
Transnational Voting Blocs and Electoral Coalitions
The consensus building platform and reinventdemocracy.net website that are being built around my invention will overcome the anomaly of billions of people having to live under laws formulated by comparatively small numbers of lawmakers who do not provide them any systematic mechanism for setting their agendas in writing and conveying their priorities to lawmakers who are supposed to represent them.
Since lawmakers deny their constituents the possibility of providing them written legislative mandates, and so many hurdles have been erected to prevent voters from running and electing representatives of their choice, voters have long been unable to hold their representatives accountable if they fail to enact voters' priorities.
Another benefit of the platform and website being developed around my invention is that democracy stakeholders will be able to build winning voting blocs and coalitions not only within a country but across countries. The transnational members of these autonomous, self-organizing blocs and coalitions will be able to work together to resolve conflicts and build consensus on common solutions to transnational issues.
After these transnational blocs and coalitions set common agendas using the agenda setting, political organizing and consensus building tools of the platform and website, they can build voting blocs and electoral coalitions in their home countries dedicated to enacting the agendas of their transnational blocs and coalitions. These domestic blocs and coalitions can pressure incumbents to enact their agendas, as well as nominate and elect lawmakers to replace them if necessary in order to enact the agendas originally set by the transnational blocs and coalitions.
Given the intricate links that often exist between national and transnational problems, crises and conflicts, I want to share with you below two examples of how you will be able to use the Re-Invent Democracy technology to take action transnationally. The first relates to addressing environmental crises and the second relates to political hotspots.
Increasing numbers of people around the world are losing their lives, homes, livelihoods and communities because of climate change/disruption and extreme weather.
Yet even when overwhelming numbers of scientists provide solid evidence that irreversibly melting polar ice is raising sea levels to such heights that entire coastlines of cities and villages will have to be abandoned, lawmakers at national and international levels have yet to adopt the large scale policies and programs that are needed to prevent and cope with these continuously escalating environmental crises.
What the Re-Invent Democracy technology and platform enable you to do is to dramatically increase the number, resources and collective intelligence of the people on the planet who are working together to devise solutions to these crises. They can not only supplement but even supplant, if necessary, the small numbers of lawmakers who have the authority to deal with these crises but are failing to do so.
If you want to play a key role in solving environmental crises, you can use the agenda setting, political organizing and consensus building tools of the platform and website to:
- Setting their agendas across the board, individually and collectively, in writing.
- Sharing their agendas with anyone they wish.
- Obtaining the political leverage they need to get their agendas enacted.
Severe conflicts and violent confrontations are occurring in many parts of the world. They are causing significant numbers of injuries and deaths, and displacing large numbers of people from their homes and communities.
My training as political scientist has led me to observe that when aggrieved groups resort to the use of force it is often because they lack opportunities to fully and effectively participate in electoral and legislative processes and obtain outcomes from these processes that serve their needs.
There tends to be a lack of direct inter-communication among all concerned parties, especially in transnational conflicts, and a common platform where all stakeholders can meet to search for common ground; articulate their goals, needs and wants; and negotiate compromises that make the use of force, intimidation, and prior restraint unnecessary.
When aggrieved groups lack influence and do not believe they can get their grievances resolved peacefully, they may well conclude that resorting to violence is their only option. And the more they resort to violence and governmental authorities respond in kind, the more likely it is that escalating spirals of violence will emerge that can last years and decades.
Another major cause of these conflicts, confrontations, injuries and deaths, in my opinion, is that they are often fueled by political opportunists, instigators, and demagogues who try to increase their influence by fanning the flames of the conflicts, while the people at the grassroots who are suffering the most exert the least amount of influence.
A primary cause of their lack of influence, I believe, is that politically-motivated groups, parties and special interests often exert more influence than ordinary people do because they know how to obtain positions of power in decision-making bodies. The only "voice" ordinary people have is to vote for politicians and parties vying for these positions running on agendas over which people at the grassroots have little control and often no control.
To overcome these obstacles to non-violent conflict resolution, the technology we are asking you to help us make available around the world enables any individual or group to build broad-based transpartisan voting blocs and coalitions from the "bottom up" that can become just as powerful as the politicians, parties and special interests that control the government. This empowerment is due to the fact that they are able to use the Re-Invent Democracy consensus building technology to gain such widespread support through collectively set transpartisan agendas and electoral bases that they can decide who runs for office, who gets elected, and what laws are passed.
So if you are in one of these hotspots, or want to help resolve conflicts in a hotspot, you can use the Re-Invent Democracy team's platform and website to start your own autonomous, self-organizing voting blocs and electoral coalitions in which you can include any one, any groups and any parties you wish. Under your auspices as peacemaker, consensus-builder and conflict-resolver, you can make sure that every one gets the opportunity to express their views and explain in compelling terms what they need and want. You can make sure that everyone is able to participate in collectively discussing, debating and using the platform's voting utility to vote on your own agendas and your own slates of candidates.
What is the key here to increasing your influence is that you can keep expanding the participants in your dialogues, debates and votes by reaching out to ever larger numbers of stakeholders, including not only voters, but also incumbent lawmakers, electoral candidates, issue groups, political parties, etc. You can even merge your voting blocs and coalitions with other voting blocs and coalitions, independently or in alliance with political parties and issue groups of your choice, until you obtain the numbers of voters that your blocs and coalitions need to become key players in electing the lawmakers who will decide what is going to be done about the conflicts and confrontations that concern you.
If your consensus building and outreach efforts are successful, you can outnumber and outflank any contending or opposing group or political party by building such a large transpartisan electoral base that you can run and elect your own candidates for public office who pledge to exert their best efforts to enact your agendas.
What is so significant about the platform is that you can use it to set transpartisan agendas and build transpartisan voting blocs and electoral coalitions that do not have to adhere to the partisan agendas created by existing groups, parties and candidates that often are designed to appeal to, and polarize, different blocs of voters on the basis of their ethnicity, race, religion, language, or socio-economic status.
The legitimate aspirations and goals of these groups can be integrated into transpartisan agendas by forthright discussion, debate and consensus building in ways that increase the overall voting strength of the bloc and coalition. You will be able to avoid splintering voters into small, opposing groups whose electoral candidates have no chance of winning elections because their electoral base is too small, uncompromising and isolated.
The more consensus you build among an ever expanding number of voters, blocs and coalitions, the more likely it is that you will prevail in electing your candidates and effectively pressuring incumbents to enact your agendas. If they fail to do so, your blocs and coalitions can flex their political muscles and use their electoral bases to oust them from office in the next election.
- Join forces with people who share your desire to do something about environmental crises of concern to you.
- Collectively explore and evaluate existing and proposed legislation and policies.
- Formulate your own agendas of legislation and policies you want to see enacted, and even emergency disaster relief plans and programs to assist victims of extreme weather events should they occur where you live or in parts of the world you care about.
- Build voting blocs and electoral coalitions around your agendas that provide written legislative mandates to lawmakers who will be seeking your vote in the next election.
- Replace ineffectual or recalcitrant lawmakers by having your blocs and coalitions run and elect your own slates of candidates who pledge to exert their best efforts to enact your agendas.
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