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Dale Retter


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Present democracy is like a verdict by a mob that does not attend a trial. Tribunocracy is a better way.

The single thing the world most needs now is better government. Our present system of mass public elections selecting government leaders and voting on referendum is equivalent to verdicts rendered by jurors that do not attend a trial. Better government requires a better system.

There is growing dissatisfaction with our election process, the role of money, and the ineffective government it produces Nevertheless reverence for the present form of democracy has largely precluded consideration of modifications substantial enough to significantly improve its substance. Tribunocracy is such a modification.

Tribunocracy utilizes Tribunes randomly selected from all the willing eligible potential voters. Like jurors in a court trial the selected Tribunes attend a public trial-like Tribunal Convention before voting. The majority vote of the Tribunes is a proxy for the majority vote of the entire pool of eligible voters. Tribunes serve only briefly, are dismissed after voting and retain no special power.

Tribunocracy reduces the role of money and shallow campaigning.

All Tribunes attend a public trial-like Tribunal Convention, before they vote. Like jurors in a trial, Tribunes are exposed directly to the candidates and testifying parties for hours, over a period of days. Thus it greatly reduces the need and value of paid advertising, and shallow slogan based campaign rhetoric. Dishonest claims, incorrect facts, and shallow arguments will be much less common; because the opposition will have adequate time and opportunity to dispute them by presenting better more persuasive evidence and arguments during the Tribunal Convention.

A quick dramatic change to Tribunocracy is not possible. However its gradual adoption is. Tribunocracy should and will first be introduced and tested in small special limited non-threatening non critical situations. For example, Tribunal Conventions might initially select officials not now elected such as city managers, or judges


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  • Dec 12 2012: This might be a small improvement to the process, but it would require a lot of work to assure that the tribunes actually reflected the demographics of the electorate. Most of your volunteers would be retirees with good incomes. You would have to ensure proportional representation of all groups, at all income levels, especially minorities. The minority of one would get no vote (or possibly get a much bigger influence, if she is a tribune). This system would negate a person's right to not vote. Since a tribune would be representing a large number of people, and the tribune is a volunteer, we can presume that all tribunes would vote on every issue.

    The biggest problem with any system of self rule is education. Would there be an educational requirement to become a tribune? If so, that would be disenfranchising the less educated. If not, then the tribunes would have to reflect all education levels, as well as other demographics.

    With all its problems, I think this would still be an improvement. This is the type of change that should be tried on a small scale. If people like it, it will grow and spread. Of course, even that would require an amendment to the Constitution.
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      Dec 13 2012: Was switching from a verdict by a mob to a trial by a jury a small improvement? Does anything in the present system insure that those choosing to vote are proportional to the demographics of all eligible voters? Like serving on a jury, Tribunes would receive compensation for their time, their employers would be required by law to not obstruct or penalize the Tribunes serving. Most Tribunal Conventions would be short perhaps a single day, and even the longest not more than a week…less than some legal trials.

      Just as for mass voters and jurors there are no special requirements for Tribunes. The extra education of jurors comes solely from their attending a trial. Likewise the educational gain of the Tribunes is that they attend the Tribunal Convention before they vote.

      I believe technically and functionally it complies with both the letter and spirit of the constitution. Where individual votes do not now directly determine election outcome this will not even be an issue. For example, selecting officers not now elected by public voting such as some judges and city managers.

      Under the Constitution most decisions are delegated to elected representatives. For example representatives vote as a proxy for every citizen on war, taxes and most laws. An indirect process that employs delegation is not undemocratic or unconstitutional. Our Constitution provides Representative Democracy not Direct Democracy.

      An important part of our democracy is that citizens directly determine the quilt or innocence in criminal trials. However, they don't exercise this power as part of a massive mob, but rater individual citizens are selected as proxies for the rest of the citizens. Tribunocracy operates in essentially the same way.
      Because Tribunes are selected at random from all the eligible potential voters who are willing to serve, equal protection requirements are fulfilled.

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