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Tim Heile

E-learning Evangelist,

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How can we use crowdsourcing/crowdfunding to reinvent our political process and rescue our democracy?

Most people agree the United States is a plutocracy, not a democracy. Our politicians are beholden to the moneyed interests that helped them get elected, not the American people. We are all aware of the problem but have felt powerless to change it. But we are living in a unique time in human history - a very empowering time.

What if a social contract existed that all elected officials had to sign in order to get elected and were held accountable to adhering to while in office (or we voted them out)? Couldn't we empower millions of currently disenfrachised Americans to actually vote if they had a vested interest in defining the solution....if they helped write this social contract? What would you include in this social contract? What would you like to see changed about our political system? Term limits? Campaign finance regulations? We all know that politicians will never limit their own power and that they are all stuck in a broken system. The question is how to we marshall the power of the crowd to solve this problem. How do we use technology and the power of the crowd to rewrite the rules for our political system and save our troubled democracy?

For a more detailed description please read the following - http://contractforcongress.wordpress.com. All ideas welcome.

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  • May 28 2013: The document that exists is the Constitution, and the body of laws that go along with it. The laws are the application of the Constitution, and there are plenty of laws regarding campaign financing and etc. The problem is that the laws about politicians are made by politicians. The word itself, "politician" suggests a career, which I think is wrong. Career politicians vote and campaign to keep themselves in power. Everything else is secondary, or at least that's what it looks like from down here. We're never going to make real changes until the politicians change to people who actually work for the good of the country. For some reason they're getting stifled by a party system and a political culture that requires them to take sides and toe the party line to get anywhere. Independents try, but just don't have the money backing them to create a successful media campaign. I don't really have any solutions here.
    • May 28 2013: Absolutely agree with you Scot. As far as I know the founding fathers never intended politics to be a career. I should have elaborated on my description. Please read the following if you get a chance - http://contractforcongress.wordpress.com.

      We need to circimvent the current system. I don't mean a legal contract - I'm talking about a document that the American People create and everyone running for Congress is pressured to agree to if they want to get elected. It's a social contract. Politicians will never limit themselves, so the only solution I can think of is to have the American public crowdsource new rules and organize everyone to vote around adherence to these new rules. The power that the founding fathers gave us is the vote. That's all we have, but couldn't technology be used to organize and mobilize people around this? I could envision an app that helps me vote - and completely new rules that the American people create to redefine politics. It's such a difficult problem, but at the end of the day WE put these people in office, not big companies. We have the ultimate power, we just haven't used it because the system is so broken. But we could exert massive pressure on Congress to do what we want, or we vote them out. We are collectively more powerful than all the special interest money - if we are organized and inspired to harness that power to affect change. Even Lessig doesn't have much faith that the solutions he presents in his book are possible, but we all agree that something must be done. Thanks for the reply.

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