On Adversarial V.S. Collaborative Representation and Governance

One simple change to the way in which we’re governed, with one simple exception:

All new legislation and changes in legislation require an 80% majority vote of parliament to pass, excepting when:

  1. Said legislation or change in legislation grants rights/freedoms previously denied to any specific segment of the population, then only 50.1% majority is required.

I’d go for 100% consensus, but in any body greater than 1, that’s impossible.

Rather than one party spending their first 1-2 years in power working to undo the previous party’s changes because of ideological differences of opinion, they’d actually have to work together for any work to get done. This should be the natural evolution of democracy.

4 thoughts on “On Adversarial V.S. Collaborative Representation and Governance

  1. In a context where there is a significant political body whose only interest lies in gaining power and defeating the other party or parties, this would be completely unworkable.  The current situation in the U.S. is a prime example, where there are rules that allow one party to completely block any attempts to govern by the other party.

  2. That’s what I thought too, when I considered what a majority rule should mean, and when I looked at the concept of governance moving from adversarial to collaborative. At first, I ruled it out—for  the reasons you listed: blocking everything. Then, as I do most if/and/or thoughts, I played it out like WOPR. And I saw that it was M.A.D., and it was good… “the only winning move is not to play.”

    After a short (relatively speaking) transitional period, there is no single party trying to “govern.” There’s all the parties governing together.

    “How?” I hear no one asking:

    Ruling party has the honour (or disadvantage) of only really being able to address daily operations under the existing parliamentary rules and existing emergency measures acts. So, they want to make a change and put forth a bill 100% in line with their party ideology—as they always have—they have 52% of seats, should be easy.

    Wrong. A party with 20.1% of the seats says, “Hell no. that flies directly in the face of my party’s long-standing belief that X is better than Y!”

    Vote fails.

    In the short term, party loyalties would grind legislative change to a standstill, but aside from budgets, is that so bad? is it worse than flip-flopping between liberal and conservative “ideology?”

    The 80% rule applies regardless of who has a titular majority of seats in parliament, or in the US system.  Any one party with greater than 20% presence can completely block any legislation at any time–including budgetary. that means that, if 20% of us think your spending plan is bad, you’re going to have to change it, and if I was proposing it, same thing in reverse.

    That blockage would resolve itself in one sitting of parliament–possibly not in the first year, but absolutely by the end of the second. To be a political animal is to know that compromise is necessary to succeed. The 80% majority rule just takes away the illusory prize of my party “ruling the country” and forces politicians to do what they’re elected to do: serve the needs of the people they choose to represent.

    Using spending as the example, eventually, what you end up with is a non-partisan budgetary committee

    “Why?” again, I hear no one asking:

    Because that is the nature of the political animal—you already know how to compromise, and how to make someone who disagrees with you “feel” heard. You include your ideological enemy in the decision-making process. You can therefore provide just enough compromise to keep them happy and feeling included in the decision-making process rather than presenting them something they’re going to reject out of hand because they didn’t have a voice.

    80% majority looks like a simple change at first blush, but it accomplishes a dramatic paradigm shift, with psycho-socio-economic consequences down to the voter level. If our leadership demonstrates an inherent need to work together and despite their ideological differences, it’s demonstrative and members of their parties follow the behaviour of their leaders.



  3. I still think that’s a nice theory, but unworkable and probably dangerous.  In the U.S. it appears that close to half of the voting citizens, and the politicians they support, are actively attempting to destroy democracy and replace it with dictatorship.  Those voters and the politicians they support won’t care if the process stops working, and the democratic government is unable to govern.  In fact it’s inability to function plays into their hands.

    It sounds good, and if the vast majority of voters and the politicians they support were mentally stable and had the best interests of their country at heart, it might work, but unfortunately that doesn’t match the reality.

  4. in US politics, I concede your point–it’s dangerous right now. There it looks like bipartisan cooperation is a thing of the past. Their ability to reconcile their disparate ideologies died when Trump wasn’t arrested for inciting insurrection. Attempting cooperation in their climate would throw them faster into the fascist cult of personality they’ve been heading for decades. Their extreme right has already gamed the system and  GOP is looking very much like a certain German party in the mid 1920’s.

    so in the US, yes, it will take a massive tragedy (losing a war on their turf comes to mind) to demonstrate that the far right extremists aren’t right in the head, and if it’s anything like Germany, it will fracture their political system from a 2 party to a many party, at which point what I’ve conceded as dangerous ceases to be so.

    I really do think it could work in the Canadian political climate of today. Majority coming to mean more than a bare passing minimum grade is the way democracy must go, if we’re to stop the world from moving in the other direction we’re headed: corporatocracy.




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