Summary of the Solution:
I submit that to a significant extent, people's disinterest in politics is due to their perception that:
- It's always the same people who are in power (incumbents have a huge advantage over challengers).
- The elected officials are all more or less corrupt (and their main challengers, too!).
- Most elections consist of choosing the least of two evils.
- Interesting, honest (often 3rd Party) candidates who offer real solutions have no chance of getting elected, anyway.
- Election campaigns are more about Political smear than about policies.
- Casting a ballot with a single name on it (for any one election) is a very constraining way to express one's opinion.
What very few people understand is that the Election Method used is responsible to a large extent for all of the above.
The Election Method currently in use is called "Plurality Voting".
It is known to
- create a two party domination (thereby limiting the voters' choice).
- encourage negative campaigning: "Every vote that my (only) opponent doesn't get is one that I will get." So any dirty trick against the opponent is good.
- prevent good (and often not so wealthy) politicians from having a chance in any race.
- prevent people from properly expressing their real opinion about every single candidate (even and especially third party or independent candidates).
Much better alternatives include Approval Voting, Condorcet, Emocracy, Range Voting. However, Instand Runnoff Voting promoted by fairvote is not an appropriate alternative.
The solution is to promote the use of better voting systems. With better voting systems, the voters would have more choice. There could be much more than two frontrunners. Political smear wouldn't work anymore, because, with more candidates to smear, it would become a weapon with a very dangerous double edge. People would have more the impression that voting actually helps: they would be able to better express themselves at the ballot box.
Here is what we can all do.