To have responsible and intelligent voters, there is only one way; voters must have the power to decide issues; that is direct democracy

Ordinary voters in representative democracies do not feel responsible for what happens in the country, and to the country, because the politicians decide the issues, pass the laws, etc., not the voters. Therefore, many voters feel very comfortable saying when something goes wrong in the country: “It is the politicians, it is the corporations, it is the rich, it is the unions…, it is this or it is that”.

They feel that way they are not responsible for what happens in the country because they do not “vote them in”, or they just “vote and hope”. Well, that is a copout; if voters concerned with the country disengage from the process, they just make it easier for the politicians and the lobbies to run everything the way they want.

But the involvement we need now goes beyond voting. It is a peaceful but revolutionary involvement; we have to demand and not let up until the politicians agree to renew representative democracy by bringing in direct democracy.

In a direct democracy, the people have the  power and the responsibility to revise, review and even discard policies and laws made by the politicians. The people may also propose laws.

This means that the voters decide by referendum, any action or decision made by the politicians, if approximately 1% of voters agree the issue has to go to referendum.

The system of direct democracy makes voters responsible for what happens to the country because now they have the power to act, not just complain.

In a direct democracy, voters change their voting behaviour right away; no more they fall for grandiose promises, for those demagogical promises by politicians about “making the country great”,  “more just”, “with nobody left behind”, “with a strong army”,  “high-speed trains to all cities”,  “bringing the Olympics will do wonders for our country”, and other vague or ruinous promises.

In a direct democracy the voters will decide also if the issue merits sending themselves or others to die in war.

In a direct democracy voters develop very thoughtful behaviour because they decide actual issues, they don’t just “go vote and hope”.

In a direct democracy the people no longer need “leaders” in the way the people in representative democracies do. They don’t because they decide the important issues themselves, they lead themselves.

How do we know? Because those voters already behave responsibly in raising their children, feeding them, educating them, providing for their families, being good neighbours, etc.

We also know those same voters are also responsible workers; they carry out their jobs with diligence.

So, if they do not vote responsibly, it is because they can not, because the system of representative democracy makes it impossible for them to feel responsible for what happens to the country, because they have no power to decide issues like, taxation levels, education, health care, etc.

What proof do we have direct democracy develops voters into very responsible, no nonsense, voters?, Switzerland is the proof for almost two centuries, not bad, eh?.

Representative democracy aslo makes the horizon for decision making the next election, because the next elections is what concerns politicians. In a direct democracy, the voters do not think of the next election; they think of their future, the future of their children, the long-term future of the country.

In a direct democracy, voters do not support ruinous policies because they know they will be the ones paying for them.

There is no magic to human behaviour; when humans have the power to decide on specific issues that affect their lives, they behave responsibly.

But there is another immense advantage to direct democracy; it forces voters to understand the issues because their vote decides the issues.

Among the voters there are also many experts on any issue.  Those voters enrich the debate and explain in common language even the most complex issues.

The process of direct democracy makes better decisions than representative democracies because there are more inputs by experts, particularly by independent ones, and the decision reflects the common sense most voters have.

More ideas discussed in an orderly manner, and evaluated by more people, produce better decisions

To have a country responsibly managed, there is one better way; transfer the key decision-making power from the politicians to the voters. But it will not happen if all you do is complain about “the  politicians”; you will have to forcefully demand that politicians bring direct democracy to your country; that is what the Swiss did. The Swiss had the same problems we now have in representative democracies; “we pay, we vote, they decide”. It is time to stop the nonsense of representative “democracy”.

By the way, ignore the “argument” that “Swiss voters show low voting turn outs”. It is not true, Swiss voters vote to decide issues several times each year, they vote a lot. On some specific issues voter turnout can be as low as 30%, but that happens when the issue does not concern most voters, although it concerns enough of them to trigger the referendum. When the issue concerns most voters, turnout can reach 70%.

But there is something even more important that shoots down the “low voter turnout in Switzerland” argument; over the period of 12 months, 90% of Swiss voters vote in referendums. This means that 90% of Swiss voters take part in their democratic decision-making.

Victor Lopez


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