U.S. should try choosing its leaders at random

Tyler Brown from Reading, Pennsylvania, writes the following in a letter to The Reading Eagle:

Your Oct. 23 editorial (“Be prepared when casting votes this fall”) claims that it’s time to get ready to make an informed vote. But being informed makes no difference. A candidate’s decision to run for office is disqualifying in itself.

People do not run for office for altruistic reasons, they run because they are power hungry ne’er-do-wells seeking to leech off productive members of society. Even the most blameless person would be corrupted by our dirty, money-laden election process.

The simplest fix would be to make a non-vote count as a vote for sortition. Consider that in 2020 there were about 255 million U.S. citizens. Roughly 81 million voted for Joe Biden and 74 million for Donald Trump. Another 5 million voted for someone else, bringing the total to about 160 million.

Therefore about 95 million citizens did not vote at all. Why should their voice not count? They all saw the candidates, considered all options and decided not to vote. Biden was about 14 million votes short. In such a case the office should be filled by random draw much like jury duty.

If a candidate cannot even win a plurality of their constituents, then what real claim can they possibly have to hold office? The very inventors of democracy, the Athenians, considered sortition to be the test of a democracy. They considered voting to be oligarchic.

I’d much rather entrust the future of our country to randomly chosen citizens rather than partisan politicians.

In a response, Daniel Jamar writes:

How could sortition ever happen when the only people that would benefit is the general population? Lawyers and politicians make the rules and it would largely put them out of business.