Formulation of policies, when passed through a citizens’ “popularity” filter, is a form of populism. What is populism? It is telling citizens exactly what they want to hear, despite what you believe is right for the society as a whole. Some times, your position can be inline with what the majority wants, sometimes not. Your position however cannot take that into account as a criteria for formulating it.
To give you an example of what I mean, I will use a proposal for a policy given by a member of a political party recently. That position was for the creation of private prisons so that we relieve congestion in “public” prisons. I won’t judge the proposal itself. I will judge the procedure for formulating it as a party opinion. This proposal, whether it is right or wrong (I am not a member of that political party), should first be judged by the members as compatible or not with its ideology and then be presented as a solution to the citizens, so they can decide if they want it or not.
Due to the systems’ inability to reward specific policies, but rather popularity of a party, they chose to bring this position directly to the citizens, to see if it is popular enough to be included in their policies! The party itself doesn’t seem to believe in anything, even before listening to it!
In a Democracy, everyone is responsible for their choices. From politicians to citizens. Even those who choose to abstain have part of the responsibility. When this responsibility is given only to citizens, what will happen is chaos by unmatched and contradictory positions. Politics cannot work in favour of the society this way. Politics must first document its views and then give the citizens the right to choose.
The question “Do we want private prisons or not” is invalid by itself. What are the pros and cons of such a policy? Why was it chosen? What do we know of existing paradigms? What will be the benefit? Financial? Social?
It is a pity that political parties that claim they want to change politics, to do so by replacing it with populism.