Long tail of (electoral) politics

Nick Gillespie interviews Chris Anderson:

Anderson laments that national politics has yet to become part of the Long Tail. “I wish the system would put forward politicians that I could vote for,” he says.

I wouldn’t expect it to. At a minimum you need something like approval voting or at the extreme delegable proxy voting. I’ve always found such reforms curious but distracting, as I don’t know what their impact on policy outcomes would be, and I suspect they’d be small. However given that voters are not outcome oriented I wonder if being able to make a closer to their ideal expression when oting would make voters happier, at least for time they are in the voting booth.

But the real long tail of politics isn’t about elections at all. Even if I can vote for my ideal candidate, or vote directly on every issue, at the end of the day I will still get policies approximating those of George W. Bush and John Kerry. That’s like being able to order any of millions of books at Amazon but always getting the current #1 best seller delivered regardless of your order.

The real long tail of politics is decentralization and arbitrage. Lots of people say “Bush isn’t my president.” Why can’t that be true? Declare yourself Venezuelan, Hugo Chavez is your president. It should be (almost) that easy. If that seems extreme and disruptive, at least executive power should be curtailed, for surely it is the antithesis of long tail politics. And being able to live and work in any jurisdiction should be a given.

Via Boing Boing.

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