Vanessa Bilodeau

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What to consider in choosing which politician to vote for?

When you vote at an election, be it at the city, state or country level, what motivates your choice for any given candidate? Do you vote for the candidate as an individual or for the party he/she represents? Do you strictly judge on the candidate's political and governing abilities or do you also take into consideration his/her sex, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, look, personal interests, etc?

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    Feb 20 2012: I've considered a career in politics as well, and the 12 limitations have done much to keep me from that goal. I still have the desire to participate in politics - I just wonder if participation within our system of politics is the best way to contribute positively? I'm going to try and find some other way to affect positive change with my life.

    What was it in the TDG book you didn't agree with? Merely for debates sake. This community is one where we improve upon and contribute to ideas, which is what makes it so valuable!
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      Feb 20 2012: I like the TDG as a general idea. It is mainly little details that I disagree with. For example, I don't like the fact that a person cannot refuse an elected position or that someone who is corrupting the system cannot be thrown out before the next election period.
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        Feb 21 2012: I think the TDG system is 'built to be flexible'. I suspect if a really corrupt official were throwing his or her weight around, people within a TDG may bend or break policy for the practical affect.

        But I've thought of similar issues to your other point about the refusal to of position within a TDG. A guy in my conversation asked "what happens if no body wants to be neighborhood rep?"

        It could be set up that the position goes to the most willing person with the highest voter count, but in a situation where -no one- wants to be in charge, votes are strictly counted. But this still creates problems.

        I wonder how many times we'll find neighborhoods of 250 people hitting such a hard situation? 250 people who cannot be convinced to accept a low-effort position of governance for the sake of them and their own. And I can't think of a way to morally enforce a position of governance upon a person who doesn't want to govern, which would be necessary if it were law to govern when you're called upon by your peers. That would gives your peers some awkward power.

        How could you see the voting situation being more respectful of the morality of choice?

        It's also worth noting that the neighborhood rep probably doesn't have very many responsibilities, but the responsibility of governance is one which involves everybody at some point. And sometimes we've got to do things we don't like to do. We leave our issues of governance to the people who want to govern and find ourselves ruled by levels of corruption. Maybe this is a situation where one cannot have their cake and eat it too... Either we risk corruption by offering power to those who want it, or prevent corruption by giving power to those who don't want it.
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    Feb 20 2012: none of these maybe? maybe the political, ethical, economical views or program that count?
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    Feb 16 2012: It is not unreasonable to suggest that perhaps we cannot accurately tell whether a politician is worth voting for or not. We attempt to determine such a thing through the processes you've listed, but at the end of the day it's impossible to tell if a politician is trust-worthy or competent, and our intuition regularly fails us.

    This is one of many big problems with our current democratic system. In a world as vast and confusing as ours, we need a better system. Check out my conversation for an interesting alternative system called "Tiered Democratic Governance" which directly tackles the issue of how we consider who to vote for, among a number of other issues:

    http://www.ted.com/conversations/9374/an_alternative_to_the_current.html
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      Feb 20 2012: Spencer, thank you for mentioning TDG. I read the whole book over the weekend and though I do not agree with everything presented, I must admit it was a good place to start. I am still studying, but I contemplate a career in politics in the not-so-distant future. The 12 limitations are what make me hesitate the most. Knowing other people out there are also worried and trying to find solutions gives me hope that something can still the done. Cheers! :)
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    Feb 16 2012: Is it possible to ignore the party platform, the ads, and the media? The problem is that the candidate is being "sold" to you. If he/she is an incumbant then what is the record. What are the accomplishments? If not what is the past record. What is your concerns. What is said during the campaign. Read the Constitution is any of the things promised achievable? Morales ... ethics ... etc ..... In the US we have a candidate that has accomplished all of the core issues we are in need of, but they are holding back on his religion. We have a president that is a great talker but has no accomplishments even when he had both houses dominated by his own party. If you divorce yourself from the hype, the decisions are not so hard. In short ... stop listening to the "stuff" and do your own research and arrive at your own decisions.