What if we didn’t have two political parties? What if we had a million parties? What if we had one party? What if the number and makeup of the parties changed in real-time? What if party members could join, leave, merge, secede, delete, etc their parties as easily as they change clothes or even websites? What if users were able to make a case for their views and support those views with evidence found online or put online? What if other users could engage in debate/dialogue/reasoning to persuade others to join their party and vice versa?
What if we created a clean slate or “rewilded” the political party system. Everyone is an independent to start. Anyone can create a party. Anyone can join a party (but only one party at a time). Anyone can leave a party and join another party. A group of party members could decide to merge with another party or persuade another party to merge with their party. A party could decide to change its name or views or not. A party could decide to disband or delete itself.
What would be the point of this system? Ultimately, to create a political system that the people want it to be, one that has its rules written by its constituents. A system free of the shackles of the past (and tradition). A system free of its corporate, union, and $$$ masters (of course anyone will be able to participate in this new system however). It will start as a social and political experiment but could it eventually become more? Could it influence real candidates? Show them that the only safe harbors are not simply A or B.
This new system would be one of conversation not marketing (Cluetrain). It would be open and nimble and owned by its users (currently reading What Would Google Do by Jeff Jarvis). It would hopefully be a platform for true discourse. A market of ideas. A network of constantly changing niche networks (again Jarvis). The antithesis of the talking heads in the mainstream media. A system based in the ideals and values of the open source movement. Currency would be information, ideas, and reputation.
The tools of this system would be the current and future social and construction tools that are being made possible by the Web and the current generation of internet companies. News, information, and data shared thru Delicious, ad-hoc networks created on Facebook and Twitter, collaborative position papers and platforms hashed out and published in Google Docs, Audio and Video shared via Youtube and other sites, and new ways of cooperating in Google Wave.
We will need someone to launch this system. We will need a person or group to set up the basic rules. A group to build the basic functinality of the system and unleash it to the masses (and make sure it is open sourced and freely distributable). From there it will need to be governed by a neutral body interested in refereeing, maintaining and even innvoating in a way that is lead by the users but that maitains fairness across the system.
I see no reason why this could not be done by a handful of political junkies, passionate human beings, AJAX coders, and some recession provided free time. Anyone care to join me?