Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – A not-so-new and oddly named political concept called “liquid democracy” seeks to bring American citizens closer to their representatives in the U.S. Congress and hold them more accountable to their voters in a public, verifiable way.
Liquid democracy has been defined as a form of democratic control where an electorate vests voting power in delegates rather than in representatives.
Driven by the pervasiveness of social media and the transparency afforded by “blockchain technology,” liquid democracy is seen as a viable choice for fixing the mess that is the U.S. Congress where special interest groups such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) hold sway, while ordinary citizens remains practically voiceless.
The idea behind liquid democracy or “delegative democracy” is that every person should have the right to tell his congressman his views on a policy issue or new legislation. A liquid democracy platform allows a voter to select a personal representative with the authority to be a proxy for their vote.
In turn, these proxies can themselves proxy their votes to other people. This results in the creation of a directed network graph, ideally connecting every voter to politicians and all publicly verified on a blockchain.
Only a few hundred of a few thousand “super proxies” will need to be deeply engaged in the system for better representation to take place.
Liquid democracy is the path forward for improving governance, claims David Ernst, a leader of the liquid democracy movement. Ernst is a candidate for California Assembly District 19, which centers on the western half of San Francisco.
“The idea was that we can include many more people to participate in the system who weren’t able to before,” said Ernst.
It then occurred to him that the decentralized nature of blockchain technology that makes cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin a viable alternative to money might expand citizen participation in politics.
Ernst believes liquid democracy is far superior compared to other feedback mechanisms.
“They say call your senator and call your congressperson, but it can be kind of a frustrating experience because it is unclear what really happens after the call, and worse, no one else knows that you have called in — your call essentially falls into this black hole,” he said.
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