There is value in our election process. The Founding Fathers debated the idea of having the popular vote. There were some who thought the idea was flawed. Some said only landowners should vote. Some said only those with an education should vote. Some wanted a Monarchy. The debate amongst the Founding Fathers – a group of men willing to live with concensus – led to our present form of elections. It turns out that they were pretty smart.
I was in an IBM Management training program in New Orleans in 1985. We were all people working in the field of information systems. Our class was asked to individually guess the distance from New Orleans to Tokyo. Each of us wrote our number on a paper and handed it to the instructor. Then we were divided into small groups and the small groups came up with a number. That was handed in. Then the instructors calculated the mean from both tests and gave us the group responses. Believe it or not – some folks guessed 500 miles at one extreme, and 25,000 miles at the other extreme. The mean in the individual test was 7,000. The mean in the group test was 7,150. Given that information we were asked to guess again. The mean from the last guess was 7,100 miles. The correct answer was 7,100 miles.Again, the wisdom of a group is better than the wisdom of most individuals. The election process that we are presently engaged in is valuable. Sometimes the debates are heated, and sometimes they seem to not have value. But the reality is that the country benefits from this process.
The only time the process ever failed us was in 2000.