An Internal Game of Devil's Advocate on the Citizen Convention Concept

A few days back, I became incredibly excited by the idea of citizen conventions, or geographically-based assemblages of randomly-selected Americans convened to solve otherwise intractable political conundra. Despite my enthusiasm, I ended that post by noting how unlikely it was that such bodies would ever be utilized in America. After viewing the idea in the light of a (few) day(s) I have identified a number of problems which would derail such a concept. These include both the type of problems which would serve as hindrances to the establishment of such bodies (as presaged by my ominous conclusion in the original post) and those which would lay waste to their usefulness if they were ever, despite the tremendous hurdles, actually established and put into use. Examples in both categories are below.

Reasons they wouldn't happen in the first place:

1. Politicians wouldn't want to give up that kind of power to citizens
2. It would possibly take a Constitutional adjustment for such bodies to exist (at least in any form which mattered; any notion that they would be useful is presupposed by the idea that their decisions would be binding, and I am just not sure what the mechanism would be...if it were that Congress would have to adhere to the final determinations of the conventions, I believe a change to the Constitution would be required
3. With all the jockeying which currently occurs over everything from voting districts to voter registration laws, I find it incredibly unlikely that the powers-that-be would be able to agree on some sensible geographic breakdown of states each regional body would be convened from

Reasons why, even if the hurdles above were passed, they would fail:

1. Apathy: The lack of desire of most Americans to serve on juries would be humorous if it weren't sad...one could see citizen conventions facing similar problems at some point
2. Complication: While there might be some low-hanging fruit in the form of issues which, while uncomplicated, are simply politically difficult, many more issues get very complicated very fast...imagining conventions of average Americans settling issues like health care or campaign finance reform (the issue which led the original proponent of the idea to champion it) is as scary as the thought of politicians settling them currently
3. Disappointment: At the point that some binding decision were arrived at, what if it were unpopular, not just among some, but among the majority? The credibility of the concept would be immediately undermined in such a case
4. Reality: If democracies were as practicable as republics, some form of them might exist in the world beyond the small-scale on which they exist now

There are some others, of course, but no reason to add insult to injury on a Friday. While the concept of citizen conventions is incredibly exciting to me in theory, the practical, pragmatic side of my brain can easily determine that they aren't feasible. It just took a few days before the more aspirational half of my mind could be absolutely convinced...

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