Tools of the Establishment
I listen to talk radio a lot. I read several political blogs. I care about things...and I have an interesting idea.
I feel that the public isn't apathetic about politics, but they are overwhelmed by them. The media is a poor tool for spreading a great deal of information quickly. Politicians craft their own slick messages that are hard to believe, unless you're already a believer. I hear again and again how busy people care, but don't have time to keep themselves informed. Heck, even if you're really political, it's tough to find credible information on any voting topic. People vote for incumbants because they know them, and they don't have EASY access to other options. Example: As a die-hard democrat I will never, ever, vote for a republican. It's nothing personal, the party just doesn't reflect my views and values. I would, however, vote for new democratic leadership in the primaries *IF* I could find information on those candidates. Information.
I propose an electronic voting tool. Sort of cross between myspace.com and match.com, totally centered around voting and elections. The tool would provide:
Member Profile: Survey would cross reference with candidate survey/reports allowing voters to find candidates who share similar views with memebers, even if the candidate isn't an incumband and/or isn't getting a lot of press.
Candidate Profile: Similar to member profile, surveys filled by candidates are listed as surveys. In the absence of a survey, a report may be filed by a member of the candidate's party (or administration as a last resort.) Imagine going to the polls knowing which judge you want to vote for!
Initiative/Referendum Profile: Along with the text of the law. Initiative profiles include what candidates and polititians support/oppose them. Instant poll information shows member opinion. For/Against comments provide views from members.
Voting Tools: Opt in/out for E-mail alerts regarding new initiatives, referendums, ect., new candidates entering the races. Online polls covering all upcoming votes.
Donation Tools: Any candidate or group sponsoring or opposing an upcoming may establish Donation buttons on their pages. The site funds itself by taking a % of each donation.
The big questions include how to keep the system neutral, and where to get information. I would strive to de-emphasise party in favor of a series of key issues. Candidates would of course specify what party they belong to, but I see no reason for members to do so unless they really wanted to.