This post is part of a series.
Module One - Community: an introduction of a web based community of politically active individuals; gamified and geared toward active political engagement and development.
Module Two - Legislature: an introduction of a virtual legislative body, with parliamentary procedure, to conceive, construct, and develop public policy proposals.
Module Three: this page.
Module Four - Training: an introduction of a web based training platform to educate humans on the various needs of a political campaign, such as fundraising, outreach, canvassing, as well as courses on common policy matters, such as economics, healthcare, philosophy, and so on.
American politics is infamous for its money, and the near-universal condemnation of political leaders and legislatures. The political debates often revolve around the politics of personality and misinformation. One consistent complaint in American politics is the domination of representation at the local, state, and federal levels by partisan insiders, academic elite, and economic elite. The actual demographics of the nation is one sorely lacking in political representation. None of this, certainly, is new.
There are many reasons that, in spite of huge majorities consistently desiring political leaders to be more like the masses, a rather small cadre achieves election each cycle. There are, of course, exceptions, but they are that - exceptions from the norm. One reason is that few Americans ever consider seeking public office. It often takes a great deal of money to seek and win a public office, depending on which office they seek and where, geographically, it is. Furthermore, there is a great deal of regulation governing the process - things to file, dates to file these things, what constitutes valid signatures, tax filings, reporting contributions, and so on. Additionally, there are the costs of getting on the ballot, marketing your campaign, hiring staff, and numerous other expenses. It can be prohibitively expensive, daunting, and could result in major troubles with the taxman if you screw up.
Ways around it include being the preferred choice of a party and their leadership. The party will cover some core expenses, possibly even marketing, while providing the expertise to navigate the regulatory hurdles. You see this often during primary season - one candidate is the obvious insider choice of the party, and is getting all the endorsements, while others within the primary remain mostly unknown, many being seen for the first time on the ballot itself on election day. However, getting to a point that you are the one party leadership chooses to back, assuming you even align with a party, already demands that you are at least locally known, or perhaps independently wealthy, or already holding elected office, and so on. In other words, anything but the typical American voter.
Related to this is why so many political leaders suck. Many are high achievers, seeking some noted office, such as a mayor of a large city, a governor of a state, or perhaps a US Senator, more as a laurel for their biography or for celebrity and further riches, than from having any real interest improving the lives of their constituents or any sincere motivation to govern. Some of these are party selections; others are successful "outsiders" who have the economic resources to pay immediately a filing fee rather than collecting signatures, and hiring professionals to handle all the regulatory paperwork. Again, though, these are not your typical American voters.
The Founding Fathers
The Founders hoped for representatives that reflected the population
The founders of the United States envisioned democratic government, with an aristocratic senate to, among other things, check the "mob" found in the House. Most US states follow this model, though state and federal senators now face a public vote. What they did not seek was an oligarchy on the representative side of the equation. They hoped for representatives that reflected the population. Additionally, they preferred a "natural aristocracy" that is not determined by who your parents are. In spite of these lofty ideals, the United States, for the most part, and especially in politics, simply does not work this way. The examples are endless of those in local, state, and national politics having inherited great wealth, or being related to other business and political leaders, or being at least locally famous or related to famous names. With exceptions in small town councils and the like, political leaders most often are in no way similar to the typical voter. The same families produce many of the business elites and political leaders.
A Work Around
The Great Leader would like to try a way around this. We therefore intend Module Three to help arm those who are politically passionate idealists, with a sincere desire to help their communities, value public service, and the vocation of governing, but otherwise lacking establishment backing, fame, or wealth, with tools to help reach plausible competitiveness in public elections. Though an existing campaign or cause is free to use this platform, we intend it to be for users of Module One and, especially, those who use both Module One and Module Two. For a campaign to be successful there is one thing it needs - more than money. It needs a base of support. All the money in the world cannot ensure a passionate and supportive base - though it can help buy name recognition. To be successful, or at least competitive, a candidate needs humans who reside within the district they are contesting, being registered to vote, and willing to hit the streets to spread awareness of their candidate – not exclusively just hitting a "like" button or sending twenty dollars.
Before launching a Campaign
The Modules One and Two user, over time, could develop an audience. They can focus on developing an audience of users found within their local community. This audience may find the user to be compelling, and begin advocating they seek a local office. This user can, if they wish, flip over to Module Three and begin the process of launching a Real World campaign for a public office. The first thing Module Three will do is operate as a virtual campaign consultant. If we reach our objective of ensuring as many regions are contained within the database as possible, the system will inform the budding candidate on what forms need to be filed, where to get them, and when to file them. These would include, depending on the office sought, filing with the local departments of election, and ensuring proper filings to state and federal tax boards, as well as any election regulatory commissions, if relevant. While collecting paperwork and getting things in order, the user may then recruit from Module One all of their local supporters in their community, especially those who advocated they run. They can galvanise this core group to do several things: if relevant to the office sought or if contesting a primary, one may host planned events, where they may collect all the needed nomination signatures in a single evening. They may try to raise early funds, and organise their support into a group of proactive volunteers. They may plan canvassing operations to collect signatures to achieve ballot access, or otherwise spread awareness. Once they have their paperwork filed, a core group of volunteers, and the beginnings of a plan, they may then formally launch a public campaign.
After launching a Campaign
Once launched, they may begin reaching out to other voters within Module One who are within the district they are contesting, share a party affiliation, share ideology, or are likeminded on key issues. They are also free to solicit support from those who live elsewhere, who are otherwise unable to volunteer in person or even cast a ballot in their favour, but they can raise funds, and volunteer in other ways to help spread the word. We expect a robust PolitiCard to serve as evidence and validation of the contributions of the new candidate within the Political Commissary Army, while demonstrating they are not someone coming in, outside the blue, to take advantage of a network of politically engaged voters.
This new campaign may also tap into other planned Module Three tools, such as mobile apps to help create maps of areas canvassed, when, and the results of those efforts. They may tap into a phone bank or mailing list so the candidate and their volunteers may reach out to local voters. They may promote and invite local voters to in-person and virtual events. They may collect confirmed voters, and engage in "Get Out The Vote" operations near or on election day, ensuring each confirmed supporter has cast their ballot. The Chairman, Ministry staff, and humans have presented a litany of suggested ideas of tools that a campaign or cause may find useful, and we intend to produce as many of these ideas - and other suggestions to come - as practicable.
Intent of Module Three
We hope to shake up American electoral politics, and move it toward something more representative of the public. We do consider the field of politics and governing to be professions, and unlike many Americans, we have no generic objections to those defined as "politicians" as we consider it, in the hands of quality individuals, an honourable and valuable vocation. We hope to increase the number of viable and competitive candidates that communities may choose from, in part by motivating more humans to consider public service, and making the process of becoming a candidate easier for the typical human to navigate. We hope to produce a platform that will allow non-establishment candidates, as well as independents and those of less known or less represented political parties, to achieve viability, and genuinely compete in local primaries and general elections. We further hope that by developing candidates, each, presumably, having developed a base of support while using Modules One and Two, we might be able to reduce the political dependence on benefactors, and generally, the need of large sums of money for achieving viability.
To be sure, some may use these tools for a statewide office or even a national office; however, our primary focus is local - municipal and county, as well as state legislators. If we help elect some of these officials, some may later go on to higher office, ideally not forgetting their roots, why they chose public service in the first place, and how they got there. We recognise this is an idealised goal. However, we have faith in humanity.
Issues and other Causes
We expect that most, if not all, of these tools may be used by issue campaigns and other causes, rather than candidates. A political campaign, regardless if a human or issue, retains the same, fundamental needs to operate successfully, and achieve viability, as those of a candidate. We see no obvious reason Module Three could not be used to the same effect by issue campaigns.
The BETA pool will be the first users, and will help us in perfecting the algorithms, gamification, design, and environment. These BETA users will launch "fake" campaigns as we test and improve Module Three. We will find ways to ensure non-Americans have a role in this that is useful, while helping to prepare for conversion to their nation. In the early days of the public rollout, we expect few, if any, active campaigns or causes, especially in less populated regions. Regardless, these are some of the key elements of our plan for Module Three. What are your thoughts of this? Do you have suggestions?
Remember this module is part of a set of four modules. Next up: Module Four - Training: an introduction of a web based training platform to educate humans on the various needs of a political campaign, such as fundraising, outreach, canvassing, as well as courses on common policy matters, such as economics, national defence, philosophy, and so on.