All I am saying is give democracy a chance.
You know how dysfunctional our government is: the influence of money; hyperpartisanship and the inability of elected officials to compromise or deviate from the orthodoxy of their parties; lack of imagination and refusal to even give a hearing to innovative proposals that might disrupt the status quo; and the extreme unrepresentativeness of officials by age and socioeconomic status, as well as to a lesser extent by race and gender. And of course, gridlock.
Those problems are not new. They call for an innovative solution. My proposal, "Jury Democracy" would solve all of those problems.
I am the candidate for governor of the Independence-Alliance party. I am a Ph.D. biochemist and CEO of two pharmaceutical companies founded off my own inventions. I am the author of the book "COVID Lockdown Insanity."
Jury Democracy is my plan to put every bill on trial before a large, statistically valid jury of randomly selected citizens. We would invite 500 or more citizens randomly selected from the registered voter list to come to the capitol and sit as a jury on one bill or proposal. Both sides would get the chance to introduce their arguments and evidence for and against the bill.
The jurors would then break into smaller groups of 12 to talk about the bill and deliberate. I think that is an important part of the process as jurors would learn from the other jurors and their different life experiences. Then the jurors would vote by secret ballot. I would require that every bill to become law pass a citizen jury with at least a 55% majority. That is outside the statistical margin of error and insures that we have a reasonable consensus and it is not 51% imposing their will on 49%.
Each jury would serve for just one bill, in most cases for just a day or two. We could have juries consider 1,000 bills per year and each Minnesotan would still be invited just once every seven years, so it would not be a big burden on your time. Service would be voluntary. If you don't want to serve, that is fine. Jurors would be paid for their time and paid a travel allowance, but I calculate Jury Democracy would add just 0.4% to the state budget.
Imaginative proposals could get a hearing and many would pass. I would allow every elected legislator to introduce at least one bill to a jury every biennium. I would also allow a petition process for the public to directly introduce bills.
When a bill passed a jury, I would demand that the Legislature hold a recorded vote on it. When the citizens, after full consideration, have specifically said they want a certain bill passed, the least the Legislature can do is hold a vote on it and not just ignore the will of the people. In the end, we would pass far more effective and imaginative laws. And by definition, every law that passed would have the support of a majority of citizens — and not their snap opinion knowing nothing about the issue but their opinion after they have been fully informed on it.
To the argument that ordinary people are stupid and can't be trusted to make decisions for government, I would reply that we trust them to decide whether someone committed murder and should be sentenced to life imprisonment. That is a far more important decision than what the capital gains tax rate should be. Also, factually, large groups of ordinary people make better decisions than experts in any field. The stock market indexes, for instance, are the aggregate opinion of all investors, and those indexes beat most professional money managers.
If you elect me governor and enact Jury Democracy in Minnesota, we will make history. Minnesota will be the best-governed territory in the world because we will have the best governors: We the people, all of us.
Indeed, Minnesota would go down in history as the place where democracy was restored.
Hugh McTavish is the candidate for governor of the Independence-Alliance party.