Sunday, September 27, 2009

The steady and inevitable transformation of Governance- and the tools we need to do it.

"I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." - Franklin Roosevelt

For years, Britt Blaser (my dad) has been intent on developing internet tools to transform the way we communicate with politicians. Essentially, he wants to transform governance itself. NYC iVote4U and its Facebook app are complete and designed to be simple to use and radically effective, so that We the People can exert true influence over elected officials. The point of these apps is to take the power out of the hands of lobbyists and big corporate interests and give it to constituents. Not just another place on the web to complain, but a way to pledge our votes for and against politicians on Facebook and publicly gain up on them.

Each politician in the running has a 'page' where we can read what their platform is, see who is supporting them amongst our friends, and also register our support or lack thereof. The idea is that we can guide each other, and get guidance from our trusted FB friends, and in so doing, create a record online of what our political interests are. IF this takes off, because enough of us care, and use the app, then conceivably it will also be a place where our elected officials go to learn what we care about, collectively. Thus, we can force them to do the right thing.

iVote4U has received some attention: Huffington Post: New York's digitized Dems can take over city council Sept. 15 - "This website allows voters to use the web to bring about the audacity of hope and change instead of letting party insiders and candidate cronies re-elect an elite of tired incumbents or hand-picked buddies who are mostly out of touch with the real world that savvy New Yorkers occupy."

Doc Searls: Primary needs for political tools - "The idea, sez Britt, is to give voters a way to manage their politicians as easily as they manage their iTunes."

Right now it's being tested in the NYC primaries - now in run-off. Dad maintains that primaries can be the secret weapon of progressives and that the essential political algorithm is voter management of primary elections, as significant as Google's link-weighting algorithm. He calls primaries narrowly traded election markets, and political parties don't want much attention brought to them.

I hope we can bring it to CA after the New York test.


Tamara said...

Kelly, Thanks for you excellent synthesis of the past several years of this work. Hopefully we can all energize our networks to use this app and take part in the transformation of governance - by focusing on whatever issue is most important to us as individuals.

Unknown said...

Hi Kelly,

RE your friend's suggestion that the HOW could be explained better, I posted a How To, for people who want to affect the Public Option "debate". It's the hottest topic on Capitol Hill right now.

It gives the background for your FDR quote, and lays out the 4-step iVote4U work process, which is integrated with the Facebook Causes application:

1. Join the SmartCare Cause.
2. Go to your iVote4U voter card.
       (you might need to "Try Again")
3. Enter your 2-letter state ID to list your Senators.
       Next to the Senator you want to influence, click "Send a Cause".
       SmartCare is in the list of top 10 Causes.
4. Certify yourself as a Super Voter. This 3rd party voter certification is unprecedented:
       Charge a penny or more on a card billed to your home address
       Google Checkout and iVote4U certify your billing address.
       We'll publicize SmartCare hits to Senators and their staffs
       (Charge more than 32 cents, and iVote4U won't lose money doing this)

That's it. The SmartCare cause has been associated with the Senator and you've proven that you're a constituent and that your vote really matters. We'll total those cause-pokes and publicize them so the Senators and their staffs can't hide from them any more. That's important, but the real impact will come from voters in states of the "Gang of Six" Senators. Representing 3% of the US, they're selling out the 2/3 of the country who support a public option.

   1. Baucus (MT)
   2. Conrad (ND)
   3. Lincoln (AR)
   4. Nelson (FL)
   5. Snowe (ME)
   6. Grassley (IA)

So reach out to your Facebook friends in those 6 states and ask them to Vote 4 U, because they'll be happy to support you once they know they can make a difference.