FL: Mr. Smith goes to E-Washington: independent candidates seek direct democracy through net

By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog

TAMPA— Consider the large grassroots movements of the past four years—including the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street—and you’re likely to conclude countless Americans believe the country is moving in wrong direction.

That’s backed up by the latest Ramussen poll from Aug. 8. It reveals that only 27 percent of likely U.S. voters say the country is moving in the right direction.

But rather than take to Capitol Hill with American flags or occupy public spaces around the country to show their discontent, two men in two different states are turning to the democratizing power of the Internet for a solution to the nation’s problems.

Meet Phil Dodds, an independent candidate in north central Florida‘s 3rd Congressional District and Jeremy Hansen, an independent candidate for the State Senate seat in Vermont’s Washington County.

A mathematician and computer scientist by trade, Dodds and Hansen, respectively, are the most unlikely of political heroes.  But they enthusiastically assert that the problems facing their respective constituencies can be tamed by more democracy.

“There is a better way to do this. Increasing the amount of constituent feedback can only be a good thing,” said Hansen, an associate professor of computer science at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont.

“I’m an engineer by training,” said Dodds. “So I’m looking at the current system of elections and politics we have and I’m seeing this flaw: the system is open to be hijacked.”

Read more: Florida Watchdog