Rebuilding democracy starts from the bottom up. Elections are subject to a highly problematic political process. Local panels and commissions are appointed and not representative. Civic engagement in the form of public comment is usually limited to a minute or two per person. Public polling represents spur of the moment opinion, not considered judgment.
Randomly selected panelists are not beholden to party machinations or outside interests; they are free to speak their mind and vote their conscience. What’s more, unlike elected bodies, these assemblies are chosen to mirror the population; they’re like a city in one room. Given time and information to aid their deliberations, they focus on collaborative problem solving and evidence. Academic research has shown that they handle complex policy questions effectively and fairly. Their decisions carry legitimacy with the rest of the community, who can see that that the recommendations come from ordinary people just like themselves. Moreover, a vast body of research has shown that many diverse people will come to better decisions than more homogeneous groups.