Meet the "Technodemocrat" Running for Senate
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California has a history of eccentric candidates, from Ronald Reagan to Arnold Schwarzenegger. This year promises to be exceptionally colorful, with candidates ranging from “Transhumanist Lecturer” Zoltan Istvan to Trump-challenger Rocky De La Fuente.
Now there’s a crypto candidate as well, a self-proclaimed technodemocrat, and he’s planning to rebuild democracy with blockchain technology.
Meet Jason Hanania, the first “technodemocratic” candidate for California’s Senate seat. Using a mobile-based “evoting” service, Hanania says that he can abolish interest lobbying, do away with the two-party system and bring accountability back to Washington.
“If a majority of Californians evote ‘no’ on any given issue, I will vote ‘no’ in the Senate,” he says in his candidate profile. “If a majority of Californians evote “Yes” I will vote ‘yes’ in the Senate.”
When words like “Technodemocratic” appear in politics, we usually expect them from the foil-hatted representatives of Sealand or Liberland. Mr. Hanania does not seem to be that eccentric, at least by San Francisco standards. According to his resume, he has worked as both an attorney and an engineer, as well as two years as an “intelligence analyst and agent” for the FBI. That’s not to say Hanania doesn’t own a tinfoil chapeau, but if he does, he avoids wearing it in public.
Mr. Hanania regards his candidacy as the first thrust of a nationwide movement to elect “eRepresentatives” to turn the United States into a “Technodemocratic Republic.” According to the national website for the evoting movement, constituents would use “blockchain-based Evoting Service” to vote and propose laws. “eRepresentatives would still have to exercise personal judgment,” the site says, “but each would be accountable to the evoting results of their constituents.”
A Lunchtime Manifesto
Mr. Hanania has not published a white paper, but if you’re interested you can learn more about eVoting in Hanania’s book, Architecture of a Technodemocracy. It costs 5$ on Amazon, but it’s free on the first day of each month.
The first thing we learn from the book is that Mr. Hanania was really hungry when he wrote it. Here’s how he explains voting: “If the majority interest is to order chicken, the Democratic Ruler will decide on chicken and order chicken. The Democratic Ruler is accountable to majority interest.” A Technodemocrat polloticican?
And that’s not the only part of the book he wrote while going Dutch. Sandwich analogies reappear regularly throughout the text, as Mr. Hanania explains representative voting systems in terms of ordering pizza, burgers and hot dogs. Food for thought.
Join the Technodemocratic eRevolution
If you’d like to give politics a try, but don’t like any of the existing parties, you could run for office as an “eRepresentative.” By doing so, you agree to follow the will of your constituents, as expressed in a blockchain-based voting system.
Those who do join up will have to follow some rules, though. According to EvoteAmerica, Technodemocratic candidates “preferably” have to have no party preference, and “agree not to accept political donations.”
As much as we love the idea of electronic democracy replacing the party system, those future eRepresentatives are going to spend a lot of time fighting uphill. Maybe they should get together and form some sort of party…
Disclaimer: the author is invested in cryptocurrencies, which are mentioned in this article.
(Editor’s note: while all of this is fascinating, the problem with Mr Hanania’s system is that it renders him utterly irrelevant. If his sole purpose is to echo the majority, a simple smart contract built into his eVoting system would deliver the results without need for human intervention. “eRepresentatives would still have to exercise personal judgment” he explains, since he apparently doesn’t expect other Senators to stick with the same inflexible strategy.
Worth also mentioning that the Tyranny of the Majority is what led to the rise of Nazism in Germany: but we can’t blame it for Trump – he lost the popular vote, and by quite a large margin.)