Power, whether in an electoral system or a corporate boardroom, originates with the people who control the nomination of candidates – not with those who “vote” after this process is complete.
This is why the best-run companies consider a wide variety of potential nominees and include as many people as they can in the nomination process. This creates the highest possibility of hiring the best candidates.
Poorly run companies, in contrast, restrict the nominating process to the smallest group possible to ensure the preservation of the power for those who stand to lose the most if the “wrong” person for their self-interest in nominated.
The extraordinary power of those who control the nominating process is not lost on power-hungry corporate board members. Why else would Carl Icahn risk billions to simply acquire board seats in hopes of introducing his nominees?
This strategy is definitely not lost on those who finance and nominate our political aspirants.
The more nominees voters can choose from, the more diverse the actual choices become. More choices mean more possibility of disruption of old ways, innovation and new ideas.
In elections, those of us who vote are really just affirming one of two choices those who control the nominating process decided to bequeath us.
Now almost everyone can “vote,” yet in 2011 .000063 of the US population, 196 people, provided 80 percent of all SuperPac money.
In fact, they spend billions in exchange for control over the nominating process. They do this because, like Carl Icahn, they know that control over the nominees is control over policy.
Distributed power is one of the greatest innovations of the 21st century. You see it in cloud computing, modern energy grids, and in state-of-the-art inventory management for retail.
Distributed power takes direct aim at the “strength in unity” mythology (which really only gives strength to established powers) and plays on the idea put forth by the poet Carl Sandburg who believed “Everybody is smarter than anybody.”
Is there any system more ripe for revamping and reevaluation through a distributed power paradigm than US politics and the tiny, wealthy group of Americans fueling the machine with vast reserves of liquidity?
The time is coming for that same distributed power in our election finance.