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No Campaigning

Earlier in this series, I introduced the four salient features of the TDG. I’ll just repeat them again:

1. Tiered, Indirect Elections.

2. Voting Based on Good Character & Capacity for Governance

3. A Culture of Consultation

4. An Advisory Board

While each TDG is to design itself, it must incorporate these four features into its blueprint.

There are two other features that I could have added to this list. But they are negatives features that the TDG should strive to avoid. I wanted to keep my list positive.

The first negative feature is “No Campaigning!”

When the TDG executive committees are communicating with their members, some of that communication should center around voting for good character and capacity for governance. It asks members to define these attributes for themselves and then vote for neighbors who exemplify those attributes. 

In a like manner, the executive committee could also educate members about campaigning. But what is campaigning—in the TDG sense?

Campaigning is self-promotion to become elected. If a neighbor is going from door to door in his/her neighborhood asking residents to vote for him/her (or maybe someone else), that is campaigning. TDG members should be trained to immediately put their vote to someone else. Find someone who fits their criteria of good character and capacity for governance—and isn’t campaigning.

“Whoa!” you might exclaim. “How do neighbors get to know the people who want the job of neighborhood representative?”

Well, “want the job” is part of the problem. If a neighbor resorts to campaigning, he/she is bragging--and will bring that  attribute into the TDG. Is bragging a virtue for our elected representatives to have? 

As well, this neighbor will "want the job" so bad, he/she is likely to continue campaigning (bragging)  for a higher position. Or maybe this neighbor will make deals with other ambitious TDG representatives to move themselves higher. These are people who want the job a little too much.

But let me answer the question more directly. The TDG has much smaller electoral districts, of about 200 residents. Even with this reduced amount, it is unlikely that many neighbors will know all 200. But most neighbers will know a few of their neighborhood. From that few, they can vote for the one who best exemplifies good character and capacity for governance. The neighbors will already know someone in their neighborhood who fits those two criteria without any need for campaigning.

If a neighbor gets 20 votes from other neighbors, that is a sign that this neighbor has built up trust and respect with other neighbors. There will likely be other neighbors who get a similar amount. So what this local TDG election has done, is that it has reduced the pool of potential candidates from 200 to a handful. All contenders will probably do a reasonable job of representing the TDG in their neighborhood. It is not that important which one of them is actually elected. The TDG election will find someone from “among the best.”

After the neighborhood representative is elected, he/she will have a higher profile in the community. Neighbors have a year to watch how this person performs. They can vote him/her back in. Or they can vote for someone else.

But I have digressed. The rationale for a neighbor to cast a vote should be based on what the prospect has done in the past, not what the prospect promises to do in the future. The past is proven. The future is likely to be only an empty promise "to get the job."

The main message of this article: Do not vote for neighbors who campaign in TDG elections, even if you think they are of good character and have capacity for governance. It is that simple.

The above rule works well when the campaigning is obvious. However, there might be neighbors who want to be the neighborhood representative and will take their campaigning to the edge of the TDG norms.

Look out for these kinds of neighbors: (1) neighbors who seem to be friendlier than usual a few weeks before Election Day, (2) neighbors who have signed up some new TDG members before Election Day, and (3) neighbors who seem to be hanging around the voting station on Election Day. While it’s hard to prove that these neighbors are actually in campaign mode, you might use these observations to help you decide to cast your vote to someone else.

The higher tiers will have a better understanding of how the TDG needs to work than the rank-and-file members. So when “campaigners” are elected to the lower tiers, they will find their campaign techniques won’t carry them much further. To advance, they will have to learn a new way that isn’t self-promotion. So, it’s not a big loss if a little campaigning is done at the lower levels. It might even be a good lesson.

But the higher tiers still need to educate, educate, educate TDG members about good character, capacity for governance—and no campaigning.

Too much campaigning will eventually lead to political parties. We don’t want that! It needs to be minimized, not by rules, but by culture. 

Published on Medium 2021

No Political Parties

Tiered Indirect Elections