What Would Change If Politicians Wrote Laws Based On Internet Polls?

What Would Change If Politicians Wrote Laws Based On Internet Polls?

A new US political party, designed by software devs and engineers, is joining the race in California. If elected, PlaceAVote’s Congressional candidates vow to decide on every bill based on the majority vote of their constituents — as measured via online polling. Could that sort of direct, digital democracy improve how Congress works? Would it make government more dysfunctional? (Is the latter even possible?)

On the one hand, there’s something gratifyingly simple (if perhaps a bit naive) about the idea that an elected official would, I dunno, vote based on the stated desires of his or her constituents. It would provide a much more finely-honed form of representation than the current “they voted for me, which means they trust me to do what I want” system.

On the other hand, though, just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s smart. (Insert tired, overplayed joke about Justin Bieber here. It’s the weekend and I can’t think of anything wittier. Sue me.)

And in particular, there’s something unsettling about handing the governmental steering wheel over to the nebulous and unsavoury group known as The Internet. This is, after all, the same Internet that gave us Reddit. And 4chan. Would you want to live in a world governed by 4chan?

So what do you think? What if such a party existed in Australia? Would you vote for a group whose entire mode of governing boils down to “let the internet decide”? Or would that just bring our already molasses-slow system grinding to a complete halt? Sound off in our comment section — which, by the way, is more of a constitutional monarchy than anything. [PlaceAVote via Engadget]

Image: Shutterstock / Tatiana Popova