Professor Suggests the Replacement of US Voting with Random Selection
Amidst various ongoing concerns that ravage the offline and digital space of the USA, none captures the attention of citizens and the world more than the American presidential election.
But it's not surprising; the United States is the most powerful and influential country globally. Any controversial decision taken by the leader of the country can have an overwhelming impact on the rest of the world.
American presidential elections are characterized by fierce competition amongst followers, supporters, and adherents of each political divide. Occasionally, it gets so "chaotic" on social media, especially Twitter, that maintaining a rational dialogue becomes challenging.
However, the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be closer with the new point of view of a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, Adam Grant, who recently opined that Americans can simply pick their leaders through a lottery system instead of elections!
In Grant's essay in The New York Times, he presents a compelling argument in favor of selecting leaders randomly from a candidate pool. He supports his case by referencing the research of Alexander Haslam, another psychologist. Haslam's experiments demonstrate that better decisions are reached when group leaders are chosen through a lottery-based approach rather than being selected based on their leadership abilities or elected by their peers.
Systematically selected leaders can undermine group goals,' Dr. Haslam and his colleagues suggest, because they have a tendency to 'assert their personal superiority.' When you're anointed by the group, it can quickly go to your head: I'm the chosen one.
New System to Choose a Leader
Grant continued by stating that selecting leaders through a lottery has its place in history. According to him, the concept of democracy was pioneered by the ancient Greeks, where numerous government officials in Athens were chosen via sortition — a random selection from a candidate pool.
He also pointed out that in Ancient Athens, candidates had to undergo a test to assess their ability to fulfill public responsibilities. He suggests that the United States could consider implementing a similar process involving a civics test.
"A lottery would also improve our odds of avoiding the worst candidates in the first place. That's because the people most drawn to power are usually the least fit to wield it. "Grant stated
America wouldn't be alone if it decided to pursue Grant's proposed system of choosing its leaders. He highlights that the form of democracy has been under experimentation in other modern nations. He pointed to examples from Europe and Canada, where government officials have used lotteries to select citizens to work on a variety of issues, including addressing challenges like climate change.
Grant's idea is promising as it comes with hopes of a propaganda-free process to selecting better leaders while eradicating the excessive spending and politickings that comes with elections. However, frankly speaking, it will continue to be in the idea stage for a long time. To implement the initiative will be to significantly modify the American Constitution. This is plausible and highly unlikely in current American politics.