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The Anti-Science Movement in the Democratic Party

A sign held at the March for Science in San Francisco, California, on April 22, 2017.

A sign held at the March for Science in San Francisco, California, on April 22, 2017. (Photo: Matthew Roth/flickr/cc)

1. “Garbage In, Garbage Out”

Software programmers have a saying about their enterprise that expresses the core of all scientific enterprise. The saying is “Garbage In, Garbage Out,” and it refers to the importance of data integrity to the quality of the result achieved in any scientific experiment or in the application of any algorithm. It also refers to the quality of the result we get in the exercise of the vote. If the data inputted is irrelevant or corrupt, the result we get is meaningless gobbledygook. Data matters.

But the formula matters too. When you design an experiment as a scientist, the experiment is designed to isolate and test a specific variable. If your experiment is poorly designed and allows for multiple variable inputs, then you will not be able to draw a meaningful conclusion. In an algorithm, the equivalent of multiple variables in the design of a scientific experiment, is an infinite loop, usually requiring some kind of programming intervention to crash the system. Again, the result is an inability to reach a meaningful conclusion.

Democracy, by definition, is a “Big Data” application. The idea is that you take hundreds of millions of data points and hope to get a result that is meaningful, not gobbledygook garbage. Again, we have two key elements we are concerned about: data and algorithm. 

With respect to algorithm: Democracy is a scientific experiment in which we ask the question: Which candidate offers the leadership that will best serve the interests of the people and the planet? That is our formula for societal well-being.

Perhaps you disagree. Perhaps you argue that Democracy has a different formula or algorithm? Perhaps you think elections are intended to test a different variable. Let me quickly make my case that my formula is the right one.

2. The Circular “Who Can Win” Algorithm

Many people these days argue that the formula that matters in an election is: Who can win? The first problem with this formula is again that its logic is circular: Our opinion about who can win is used to determine who can win, making any variable entered at all sufficient to justify the result. If I believe the people will only vote for a cucumber, then the cucumber suddenly actually has more votes, mine. Suddenly being a cucumber is demonstrably a good reason to vote for a candidate. My vote made it so. 

The second problem with this formula is that it renders meaningless a lot of data that any sensible person would think should be relevant in an election.  For example, does the candidate have a record of good judgment? Does the candidate have a history of corruption? Does the candidate advance policies that I think are important to the well-being of society? Does the candidate possess the qualities of leadership? The value of all of this data will be disregarded whenever it is in conflict with the data the voter chooses concerning “electability.” 

But the worst problem with the “who can win?” formula is that it is deeply anti-democratic in that its circular logic favors the use of force against the will of the voter. Anytime a candidate has more money, a political party willing to cheat, a political machine willing to rig voting machines, a secretary of state willing to suppress the vote, an elected office the candidate is willing to abuse, or a military the candidate is willing to order to kill in order to “win” an election, our algorithm will legitimize voting for this candidate as “pragmatic,” “the lesser evil,” and “democratic” because this candidate is deemed to have the sought for quality of being able to win.

Normally, science strives to refine our understanding of the truth by designing experiments that attempt to disprove a hypothesis by testing a single variable on which the hypothesis stands or falls. But imagine if instead, a scientist designed an experiment aimed on achieving the result most likely to be believed as “true” no matter what the variable. 

Is the climate crisis real? Let’s test the hypothesis that it is real again and again to see if we can disprove it. For so long as we find indicators that it is real and so are unable to disprove our hypothesis, the hypothesis proves itself to be a tenable explanation of what is going on in our world. 

But what if someone told you that in America, that’s not how science or democracy works! In America we find the truth by testing to see what the public is most likely to believe is true.  It turns out, we discover, that what is true is actually the lies, fear, xenophobia, racism, sexism and exceptionalism that Fox News and Donald Trump use to pander to the basest addictions of those in society who suffer most from a host of unmet needs and chronic economic instability. This is science! Because what most people are likely to believe is whatever self-serving message the full force of the oligarchy can engineer to be broadcast at high volume through its media monopoly, our algorithm tells us that the truth is that the climate crisis is a hoax engineered by George Soros to make the world an authoritarian, Jewish-run communist empire.

When we adopt the “who can win?” algorithm in deciding how to cast our vote, we degrade the science of democracy in the same way.

3. The “Limited Sense of Self-Interest” Algorithm

Another, more subtle formula people often assert is that the formula of democracy is not which candidate offers the leadership that will best serve the interests of the people and the planet, but rather which candidate will best serve my individual interest. The big problem with this algorithm is that it has not caught up to our modern ecological worldview. 

We were talking about the climate crisis. Guess what? Our society is being scientifically challenged to wake up to the modern ecological worldview and until it does, its assessments and resulting behavior will be dysfunctional, out of balance, and injurious. The modern ecological worldview is teaching us, frankly, a larger scientific and spiritual understanding, which is that our sense of individuality is illusory, our real self is the whole of being. We are all so interconnected that when our microscopes look close enough, we discover that our interconnectedness predominates over anything that may be pointed to as individual. From a more “down to earth” level of social ecology, what this means is that our best interest as individuals proves to be what is in the best interest of the harmony, health, balance, and well-being of the whole. 

When we treat democracy as a strategy game for individual profit, we inevitably end up as losers. Our quality of life turns out to be far less dependent on the fortunes we mistakenly believe we can control and far more dependent on broader elements of existence, such as air quality, water availability, peace in society, sustained cultural balance and wisdom, the availability of healthy ecosystems, the absence of disease, the habitability of our climate, and our capacity to live in deep relationship with others as integrated human beings. 

When we fall into the illusion of short-term self-interest, it quickly proves to be toxic to our experience of life and to our ability to experience life with a healthy and sensitive awareness. That is, not only do our lives become degraded by our greedy way of voting; worse, we don’t notice how degraded our lives have become or how unhappy our private control of our miserable fortunes makes us. 

The modern voter who has the sophistication of science and the ecological worldview that science requires understands that voting for one’s true self-interest is voting for the candidate offering the leadership that will best serve the interests of the whole of society and the planet. Voting in the interest of this larger sense of self as one with the whole is a necessary aspect of the integrated self capable of achieving the flourishing well-being that only an enlightened and scientific democracy can offer.

4. Good Data, Bad Data

So that’s enough about algorithms for the moment; what about data? The question here is actually, what data is relevant to the question: Which candidate offers the leadership that will best serve the interests of the whole of society and the planet? I propose that the relevant data consists of each candidate’s policies, record, experience, judgment, leadership, character, integrity, and alignment with the interests of the people — the whole of society and the planet. 

These criteria have an overlapping quality. A candidate’s experience overlaps with his or her record. His or her record overlaps with his or her judgment. His or her judgment overlaps with his or her policies. His or her policies overlap with his or her character. His or her character overlaps with his or her integrity. And his or her integrity overlaps with his or her alignment with the interests of the people, and all of these qualities together, we may say compose the quality of a candidate’s leadership. 

For example, a candidate who takes SuperPAC funding from the oligarchy has obligations that are not in alignment with the interests of the people. In such case, a candidate seeking to represent the people while encumbered by these conflicts of interest lacks integrity and character and is not likely to represent policies that serve the people’s interest or to exercise good judgment consistent with a democratic moral compass. This candidate’s record will likely reflect proof of this bad judgment such as supporting $700 billion defense bills, voting for a war of aggression, advocating social security cuts, voting for the elimination of bankruptcy protections for students, authoring crime bills responsible for exacerbating mass incarceration, voting against gay marriage, repealing financial market regulations that lead to runaway fraud and market collapse, writing legislation that would later become the patriot act, and so on.

Importantly, just because the criteria on which a candidate’s leadership is to be evaluated overlap does not mean that we are failing to isolate a variable in the experiment of democracy. Quite to the contrary. In democracy, we are isolating the variable that is the leadership that serves the interests of the people. When each voter sums up their opinion of the leadership of each candidate based on the identified criteria and votes for the one whose leadership best serves the interests of the people, we are inputting good data into the algorithm and the result that we get is inevitably good: a real leader. The thing about Big Data is that it works. The larger the number of data points, the more reliable and representative of reality is that the conclusion the algorithm reaches, so long as the data is relevant and not corrupt. But if what we put in is garbage, then what we get out is garbage too.

5. Superdelegate Garbage

Inside the Democratic Party establishment, there is a lot of disdain for the voter, but little encouragement of relevant data and no respect for democracy’s algorithm. The party claims that superdelegates are needed to ensure the eventual nominee (again) “can win” and that superdelegates know better than the voter who that candidate is. Such anti-science thinking contradicts the value of Big Data and is profoundly anti-democratic, reflecting the establishment’s grotesque sense of superiority. A democratic worldview respects each individual as having a valuable perspective that represents an understanding that comes from that individual’s unique position in society. That is, the quality of the result achieved by Big Data arises not just from the number of data points, but from the number of perspectives taken into account. 

Big Data does not say “the most popular is the best.” Rather, Big Data says, “the most comprehensive data set as a whole is best.” Where each vote represents a unique perspective on the isolated variable of leadership, the result of a voting process that takes hundreds of millions of data points, each from a different place of perspective, is infinitely more comprehensive in the understanding it represents, and therefore infinitely wiser than even the well-intended judgment of a few hundred “elites.” Remember the story about the three blind men, each touching a different part of an elephant and describing a completely different animal?  A comprehensive data set that combines each of the three men’s very different perspectives achieves a far more accurate result than a process that declares only one of them to be elite and qualified to decide what the animal is.  According to the underlying logic of democracy, no one is qualified to decide who best offers the leadership society needs; it takes the entire society’s collective vote to determine that.

Superdelegates are thus an example of corrupt data. The superdelegates may honestly be voting for the candidate whose leadership they believe will best serve the people, but the undue influence given their votes is a corruption of the value of that data. At the same time, superdelegates are also an example of irrelevant data because most superdelegates are not voting for the candidate whose leadership will best serve the people, but for the candidate whose candidacy will best ensure their own self-interest as an elite in a franchise that, win or lose in the election, gives them wealth and power in the upper echelons of society. And they mask the true nature of the irrelevant and corrupt type of data their superdelegate votes constitute by claiming they are voting for the candidate “who can win,” which is a formula we have already rejected as anti-scientific and anti-democratic.

6. The Scientific Logic Underlying Democracy

But there is much more to the anti-science movement in the Democratic Party than just their superdelegates. The voting centrists who lean upon the “who can win” and the “limited sense of self-interest” (or “what’s in it for me, individually”) formulas for deciding which candidate gets their vote are also exercising their political rights in a way that conflicts with the scientific method, Big Data, and the logic on which democracy depends. Let’s say it again: Democracy is not a popularity contest. Majority rule is a misnomer. 

Our founding patriots understood that the thing that makes democracy the model of government most closely aligned with the ecological laws of nature was not logically supported by any claim that popularity is inherently virtuous. To the contrary, our founding patriots were extremely concerned about the tyranny of the majority. 

The gathering of the most comprehensive data, like the testing of a hypothesis through scientific procedure, is a never-ending process of reiteration. Each vote, whether it belongs to a majority or a minority, consists of an equal data point in that particular election and its relevance does not depend on being aligned with the winner of the election, but is relevant as a part of the whole, which is constantly in flux. Democracy is not about a single election cycle, but about an iterative process that maintains its scientific integrity by gathering the most comprehensive set of relevant and uncorrupted data possible on the question of the leadership society needs. When we understand the nature of this broader, iterative process, it becomes clear that minority, but genuine opinions about the leadership our society needs retain their equal value and influence in shaping our government and our society.

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The majority only becomes tyrannical when it uses its advantage over the minority to diminish the value of minority data points in the next iteration of voting. Our founding patriots did not understand that one way to immunize society against the tyranny of the majority was to define in the social contract what constitutes relevant data in choosing a leader and to include in that definition an understanding of self-interest as synonymous with the interest of the whole society and the planet.

Another way to defend democracy against the tyranny of the majority, anti-science corruption of the political process, and all anti-democratic impulses is to include in the social contract the following:

  • A definition of the criteria that constitute leadership in a democratic worldview;
  • A definition of the holistic societal interests the vote is intended to advance and with which the voting citizen in a democracy should identify; and
  • A statement establishing that the justification for the vote is that the most reliably accurate method for determining the type of leadership our nation needs is to apply a mammoth and comprehensive amount of relevant, uncorrupted data from millions of unique perspectives to an algorithm proven to reliably and accurately answer the specific question at hand.

That is, democracy is the most scientifically enlightened process for governing society because it makes use of the most comprehensive set of relevant data to define its leadership. By laying out this underlying science of democracy, the social contract could make clear that to be anti-science is to be anti-democratic. This understanding could then be advanced as the basis for attaching legal and criminal liability for actions undermining the integrity of the scientific process of democracy. Without such legal structures, we fall from bad to worse, which, as we have seen these past forty years, is from the tyranny of the majority to the tyranny of the 1%.

7. Omission of Relevant Data Is Also Anti-Scientific

A final aspect of the anti-science movement in the Democratic Party is its ready willingness to omit relevant data. For example, following Elizabeth Warren’s withdrawal from the 2020 campaign, commentator after commentator has paid tribute to her leadership and lamented that patriarchy has once again unjustly crushed a hero of the people. Indeed, Elizabeth Warren has many accomplishments that support the claim that she is a hero of the people. And no doubt, sexism and patriarchy did rear their ugly heads against Warren’s campaign. But this is not a complete analysis. Data is being omitted. And the omission of this data undermines the power that these tributes wish to command. If Elizabeth Warren’s strengths are to be effectively advanced, her weaknesses must also be accurately counted. Every data point and every vote counts. The majority view has no virtue in itself when the minority view is omitted.

In this case, Warren’s commitment to keep her campaign free of conflicts of interest and obligations to corporate donors was never as strong as portrayed and the peons to Warren’s progressivism consistently omit to consider this extremely relevant data. From the start, Warren drew on corporate donations raised in her Senate campaign and refused to rule out SuperPACs in the general election. Later, she backtracked on her campaign promise not to use SuperPACs during the primaries. One may well ask, what difference does it make that Warren said she wouldn’t use SuperPACs in the primaries, if she intended to obligate herself to corporate donors in the general election? By the time she held office, if she were to win, Warren would be as obligated to corporate benefactors as if she had accepted these donations all along. Meanwhile, she had the choice to remain true to her promise and instead she broke it. Not every candidate would have done so. Also, although Warren saw enough value in the idea to make the promise not to accept SuperPAC money during the 2020 primaries initially, she did not see that same value in 2016 when given the choice between Sanders’ $16 average small-donation-funded campaign and Hillary Clinton’s unprecedented 5 SuperPACs. Warren sat on the fence, a decision that one could well argue implicitly favored the power of the establishment candidate, Clinton. This is just one example. The point is not to beat up on Senator Warren, but to set a standard for data integrity when we analyze the leadership offered by each candidate.

8. Identity Politics, an Algorithm Corrupted by the Omission of Data

A more general dynamic in which we daily see data regularly and unscientifically omitted is in the popular embrace of “identity politics.” For some, the identity at issue might be racial, for others gendered, and for still others it might be the candidate’s sexual orientation, religion, or class. Consideration of the candidates’ respective identities in the algorithm one uses in deciding how to cast one’s vote is certainly valid and, indeed, essential. But too often identity politics algorithms assert that the most relevant data in choosing a candidate is that candidate’s identity when other relevant data suggests it is not.

Yes, a candidate’s identity is relevant because it is part of his or her experience that informs his or her judgment, character and leadership. We need the body of our government that is comprised of the people elected to its offices to reflect the experience of the whole population. This means it should reflect the distribution of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, class, culture and other important variables as well. And although identity politics in many ways concerns itself with a more limited sense of self-interest than the whole of society, focusing as it often does on the needs of a specific community, in fact, like affirmative action, one of the virtues of identity politics is that it is really concerned with addressing an imbalance in the whole and a deficiency to foster the essential contributions specific under-empowered communities uniquely can offer in sustaining the health and growth of society’s ecosystem in harmony with the ecological laws of nature. Every perspective and vote in society counts and has an equal value. But more than that, the ecological worldview we are being required to learn by science and by the climate crisis teaches us that every perspective offers something unique and essential to the well-being of the whole. Thus, identity is a relevant criterion in choosing which candidate you think offers the leadership our nation needs.

The problem, however, is that identity politics so often omits important data, particularly data that suggests the candidate’s identity is cynically being used to advance policies that are actually adverse to the interests of voters who share that identity! Many a feminist will argue that the industrial arms complex and Wall Street are the two most abusive examples of institutional patriarchy and yet how many women ignored Hillary Clinton’s neoconservative foreign policy or Elizabeth Warren’s vote for a $700 billion defense budget and their shared dependence on SuperPAC corporate Wall Street funding? Likewise, prominent commentators from within the African American community have issued harsh criticism of President Obama for failing to serve the interests of African Americans after receiving so many votes from that community. Similarly, Pete Buttigieg’s candidacy was largely deemed by engaged LGBTQ voters as too conservative to serve their interests well. Both Obama and Buttigieg naturally and reasonably advanced their experience and identity as enhancing the leadership they offered, but voters would have been right to question whether either man’s identity was the most accurate indicator of whether he would serve the interest of the community to which he belonged.

In our current climate, in which the media monopoly controlled by the oligarchy is so powerful in swaying public opinion about “who can win,” identity politics are yet another tool of manipulation too often used to trigger voters into exercising their rights in an emotional, unscientific state of mind that omits to take careful account of the full data set of criteria relevant to the leadership each candidate offers. 

9. A Further Anti-Science Twist: False “Threat to Identity” Narratives

A further twist on this manipulation are the manufactured narratives that demonize candidates and voters as threats to voters’ identities in order to get them to entrench themselves more deeply in the emotional and unscientific “identity voting” that empowers candidates who will not actually serve the interests of their own identity’s community and will not help correct the imbalances existing in our society. 

The classic example of this demonization is “red baiting,” in which our emotional entrenchment in our national identity is deepened by a fear that has been inflamed by manufactured, false narratives about communism or socialism. A newer example is the manufactured, false narrative of the “Bernie Bro” used to entrench women into voting for Hillary Clinton, whose policies were far less friendly to women than those of Senator Sanders. A new study by a computational social scientist from Harvard University using Big Data taken between 2015 and 2020 analyzed 6.8 million tweets and found that supporters of Senator Sanders were no more likely to engage in hostile communications than supporters of Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, or any other candidate. 

The internet, as a communication venue, tends to encourage negativity and even hostility broadly across all users. Senator Sanders has many more engaged supporters using social media due to his popularity than do other candidates. Thus, what many centrist voters experience online is not misogyny, but the overwhelming flood of progressive voters who support policies that are largely more feminist than those of the other candidates. The hostility that accompanies this support is not indicative of the movement Senator Sanders is leading, but of online interactions generally, and is no greater nor any less than the hostility that accompanies the less engaged, less popular support for other candidates or policies commonly referred to as “centrist” or “corporatist.” 

The Bernie Bro narrative provides a high-volume intentional distortion and misinterpretation of online experience that serves the interests of the oligarchy by entrenching identity voters in casting their ballots for candidates who pose less of a threat to the oligarchy’s corruption of our democratic process. At the same time, since voters supporting Senator Sanders are voting for feminist policies, false accusations against them that they are misogynists are extremely effective in suppressing their voices. Feminists are reluctant to speak out and risk being called the antithesis of everything they stand for. Thus, identity politics weaponized by demonization can rapidly corrupt the integrity of what should be a scientific process of gathering hundreds of millions of relevant data points about which candidate offers the leadership our nation needs.

10. Sleeping in the Anti-Science Bed the Democratic Party Made

Now, we come to our present moment in the Democratic Party primary, where progressives everywhere are facing a deeply troubling dilemma. As progressives, we are pro-science and we understand the science of democracy. We understand the criteria out of which true leadership is composed. We understand the larger planetary holistic scope that defines our self-interest. We understand that the wisest result is not what we, as individual voters believe, but is rather the result which reflects the most comprehensive sampling of unique perspectives we can achieve on the question of which candidate best offers the leadership our nation needs. We also understand that the “who can win,” “limited senses of self-interest,” and “identity politics corrupted by omission and demonization” algorithms for choosing how to cast one’s vote actually undermine and injure our democratic political process and as a result, the people of our nation and our world. We understand too that democracy is an ongoing, iterative process that is not about just one election cycle.

And yet, here we are, facing a prospect reasonably likely enough that we have to be prepared to navigate it in the best way possible. This prospect is the possibility that the Democratic Party will nominate Joe Biden. Another in a long line of examples, that would prove the maxim: “Garbage in, garbage out.” The algorithm used to secure his nomination appears to have been not which candidate best offers the leadership our nation needs? Instead, it seems the algorithm being employed is: “Anybody but the identity politics demon, Bernie Sanders” who stars in the red-baiting, not-a-real-Democrat false narrative, produced and distributed at high volume by the Democratic Party and the oligarchy’s mass-media monopoly.

For most of us, the prospect of a second term of President Trump is absolutely unacceptable. As much as we have applied our science and voted for the candidate we believed offered the best leadership to our nation, the majority of voters have not applied the correct algorithm or analyzed the relevant data and therefore we are preparing ourselves to vote for garbage in the general election because this is better than reelecting a fascist. But even this decision is not actually the dilemma we face.

The dilemma we face is in deciding at what moment it becomes necessary to silence our critical assessment of Biden, to engage in the anti-science politics of omission, indeed to praise the garbage-in, garbage-out nominee as the leader our society needs. We know that omitting to acknowledge the data that exposes the inadequacies and even toxicity of Biden’s leadership corrupts our political process, but we also understand that, incredibly, this corruption is somehow still a step toward political process integrity when it is a step away from Donald Trump. Thus, our dilemma of choosing when to silence ourselves from criticizing Biden’s corruption and conflicts of interest with those of the people is not based on a determination to keep our principles pure. Rather this dilemma is based on our knowledge that Biden is likely to lose. 

We know that an anti-scientific approach does not work. We know that it produces a candidate vulnerable to being attacked for many of the same things we raise as reasons for not voting for Donald Trump. We also know that when it comes to all the anti-science, anti-democratic dirty tricks the oligarchy used to secure Joe Biden as the “Anyone but the Communist, non-Democrat Demon Bernie Sanders” nominee, Donald Trump is far more experienced, willing, and dangerous than is the Democratic Party’s chaotic leadership. Worse, we know that this anti-scientific embrace of Biden as “the lesser evil” unleashes a depression and malaise among otherwise Democratic voters who cannot abide by their own silence, but must endure it anyway, based on the dictates of their own judgment. 

This is a recipe for President Trump’s re-election and the ongoing job-security of the Democratic Party’s leadership. But what can we do? Unless Senator Sanders makes a miracle comeback, we will likely have to navigate four more years of President Trump, even though we sucked it up and swallowed our disgust, cheering on the candidacy of Joe Biden.

11. Making a New Bed: The Neutral Primary Administrator

But there is something we can do, even then. We can learn from this experience. We can apply scientific thinking. We can deepen the clarity of our commitment to science and to casting the anti-science movement in the Democratic Party out of national politics. We can make a bed we actually do want to sleep in.

The way to do this is as follows: We thought what we needed was to overturn Citizens United and remove money from politics. Seventy percent of Americans all agree this is leadership our nation needs. But what we learned was that leaders like Obama who take SuperPAC money cannot be depended on to be the ones to remove such money from our political process. Then we thought what we needed was a candidate who would take money out of his or her own politics by finding a way to run a campaign that was not dependent on SuperPACs and corporate donations. Amazingly, we found such a candidate in Senator Sanders, but what we learned was that the right candidate alone is not enough to succeed in our goal because the two major political parties act as anti-science, corrupt gatekeepers to the political process through which every candidate must pass in order to be viable. Because the two major political parties are as dependent on SuperPACs and the wealth of the oligarchy as are the politicians belonging to those parties, it was not enough just to find a progressive candidate with integrity whose campaign funding did not create a conflict with the interests of the people. 

Thus, what we learn from 2016 and now from 2020, is that political parties are not legitimate institutions in democratic political governance. Indeed, they never were part of our social contract. Voters were never asked to approve of their existence or to consent to their authority to appoint superdelegates who would choose the nominee against the voters’ will. Never were voters asked to consent to the Political Party leadership possessing the right to be biased, to manipulate and lie to the voters, or to influence the selection of the Party’s nominee.

Understanding the underlying logic, principles, and scientific process on which democracy depends, it becomes clear that our nation needs to replace the illegitimate power franchise of the political party, at least in its role as gatekeeper to general elections, with a neutral primary process administrator. The public has become in recent years increasingly aware of the many corruptions that render the technology of our democratic political process obsolete: gerrymandering, voter suppression, SuperPACs, the electoral college, to name just a few of the most obvious. To this list, let’s now add one more: the political party. 

Lacking social contract authority and logical basis in the scientific logic underlying democracy, political parties conflict with and are adverse to the proper function of democracy and the interests of the people. The campaign ahead may be long and difficult, but what we’ve learned these last two election cycles is that political parties cannot properly serve the function of narrowing the pool of candidates, if indeed that function is necessary at all. When parties serve that function, they corrupt the algorithm on which democracy depends for the purpose of consolidating power that is inherently anti-democratic.

Why have we allowed these political parties to exist for so long? Why did it take so long for the women to gain the right to vote? Why do we still have SuperPACs when 70% of Americans want to get rid of them? Why has gerrymandering persisted for so long? The answer to all of these questions is “political parties.” Political parties are the source of the anti-science culture that is a cancer on our democracy. These parties are thus the first domino that needs to fall in the revolution that will rescue and advance American democracy to a place where the people’s political rights actually have meaning.

In their place, if we are to have a kind of political play-off that narrows the field of candidates through stages of elections, then we need an administrator for this process that is responsible to be neutral and to uphold and advance its scientific integrity. This administrator should also be legally and criminally liable for any breach of this duty, and any voting citizen should have standing to bring suit seeking prescribed financial and other penalties for the political-rights injuries caused by said breach.

When we know the referee of the election contest is legally responsible to be fair and honest and disinterested in the outcome, then we will be able to apply the money-out-of-politics campaign funding strategy developed under Senator Sanders’ leadership, and we will be able to win elections, enact reforms, and make sweeping innovations in the technology of our democracy so that the algorithm we apply and the data we collect have the most advanced scientific integrity and produce ever higher qualities of government leadership. This is our future. Even if it be, like the women’s vote, seventy-years and seventeen election cycles in incubation, it is, nonetheless, our future. The progress of science is inevitable. It is a method that has the advantage of drawing us ever closer to understanding the way the world actually works. No other method has this advantage. And, therefore, scientific method, sooner or later, is destined to prevail. This holds true in politics as much as in chemistry or physics. Our knowledge of the principles that make democracy a scientific process guarantees that we will one day cast out of power once and for all the illegitimate, anti-science movement in the Democratic Party.

Hank Edson

Hank Edson

Hank Edson is an author, activist and attorney based in San Francisco. He is the author of The Declaration of the Democratic Worldview (Democracy Press, 2008).

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