A New way to elect our president!
|“The American President”
This past November, I voted for the seventh time in my life. But for the first time, I did not choose any of the candidates on the ballot. I voted for my best friend, Brian Krugerud of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He, in my convoluted mind, was as good, no, a better candidate than anyone else on the ballot.
By the time election day had arrived, I was thoroughly exhausted from all the political ads. I had heard very little talk about any issues. Most of the sound bites involved the voting record or the lack of integrity of an opponent. I learned very little about any one candidate and quit listening half way through the campaign year.
When it came time to vote, I was at a loss. I had never wavered before, but I could no longer follow the conservative republicans. From the day that G.W. announced that he wanted a constitutional amendment against gay marriage, I was no longer a G.W. republican.
I am of a mind to reserve constitutional amendments for larger issues such as equal rights, suffrage, free speech and the right to keep and bear arms. I do not believe the constitution was put in place to tell me or anyone else who they can or cannot marry.
But I could not switch sides either. I do not agree with much of what the left is saying, when I can figure out anything they are saying. Liberals appear to be in a state of flux right now. A great liberal leader will focus the spotlight on issues, issues near and dear to the heart of all democrats. Welfare, education, workers rights, etc..
So there I sat, party-less and pitiful, unable to vote for yet another billionaire career politician, and unable to even consider the also-rans, who had about as much chance of winning as I do in growing a full head of hair.
So I voted for Brian. He remains unaware of his name being recorded as a presidential vote-getter. Hope he doesn’t mind.
In this age of instant news, sound bites and press conferences, each and every politician is relegated to pandering. Say whatever is necessary to appease, or at the very least, not offend. We want to keep as many people on our side as possible throughout the campaign. This means be vague, talk in generalities, and seem genuinely interested in each and every cause brought before you.
Whatever happened to the idealists? People who knew and conveyed exactly how they felt about each and every issue? People who were unafraid to walk the walk and talk the talk. People who would look you in the eye and tell you that they disagreed with you, and your special interest group, regardless of how much money you were willing to contribute. These people either do not exist, or get swallowed up by mainstream politics.
I know that these people exist in society today. I know these people, I am these people!
I also know that currently only the select few, the chosen few, can be groomed for higher political office. Those with long political careers, millions in disposable income, or a famous last name. All of this seems to fly in the face of what the framers of the constitution had in mind.
However, I think I have a way to uphold not only the ideals of our founding fathers, but also make this election process much more open and fair to the 260,000,000 people who are not currently politicians.
I think we could devise a system by which the average Joe or Jane could run for president. It would be patterned after the wildly popular “American Idol” reality show and be titled, “ American President”!
It would begin with a quiz much like the citizenship quiz. If you don’t know the basics about this country, you certainly can’t be president. This would be followed by preliminary events in each capitol city. These cities would host the events much like the American Idol auditions. Line up and wait your turn.
You must then make it through a question and answer period with a select group of legislators from both sides of the political aisle to make it to the state finals. Following this , the people of the state would then be able to watch a televised state final during which they would whittle the field down to three candidates. Phone in votes would then determine the finalists.
I understand that this is somewhat of a popularity contest, but so is the current process. Remember how “Handsome” Bill Clinton was to American women? John Edwards has great hair! This begs the question, though, would Tennessee have allowed someone like David Duke through to the next round? A white supremacist? I would hope not. While it may be possible for someone like this to make it through the prelims, they would never make it to the finals.
Herein lies the beauty of this competition. Eventually, the national public would prevail and vote him out by phone. On to nationals.
Now up to this point, I envision the states paying for the preliminary contests, all but travel, out of the tax coffers. I would not for-see much uproar at this because of the nature of the event. Anyone can come. Everyone can come.
Once we arrive on the national scene, corporate sponsorship, baby. No tax money needed. The ratings for such an event, say 12 weeks long, would be such that every advertiser in the world would be dying to get on the air during this show.
For the first six weeks, the field would be narrowed down from 150 to a final group of 12, just like A.I.. A panel of judges, who would be of sound mind, politically unbiased, and full of integrity, would handle this task. This, of course, rules out any politicians. Call them the electors.
All decisions would be based on knowledge of the political system, integrity, decision making, etc. Some of the skills necessary to run the country.
The final six weeks would be run almost identical to A.I.. Instead of the contestants singing, they would be given the week in advance to study a certain topic and devise a platform. Such things as foreign policy, healthcare, jobs, military defense, immigration.
In fact, the American public could decide, by phone vote, which six issues they would like to hear the candidates discuss, one per week. They would then be given the allotted time on the air to share their ideas with America.
Following this, the electors would be allowed a brief question and answer period to solidify and clarify each participants position on that issue.
At the end of the night, we vote.
I am more than willing to pay .50 cents per week to see this process unfold.
Sure, there will be plenty that will refuse to pay, or even those without phones, or God-forbid, without a T.V.. But, what do these people do now? How do they make an informed decision at the polls?
The next night, ala A.I., the person with the lowest number of votes would be eliminated.
Finally, down to two people. I would like to see each of these contestants receive a full half hour to plead their case. By this time we all should have a good idea of who we like and who we are going to vote for.
The next night, we will have elected, voted for democratically, a new “American President”.
I know that this whole idea is fraught with logistical headaches and most likely insurmountable issues that will prevent it from ever coming to fruition.
For instance, employers would have to insure that a contestant would retain their job during the campaign. Much like maternity leave.
What would stop any political party from choosing their candidate and using their millions to buy their way to the top?
How would the votes (phone calls) be tabulated and documented?
Who would the electors be? Who would chose the electors? After all, they would be eliminating 138 people from the competition, without the publics consent.
Once elected, how would the President chose his cabinet? Maybe we could appoint cabinet members like supreme court justices, and give them a job for life. Imagine a secretary of defense who has no political bent and serves under three different presidents. Is it even possible?
Now I understand that in order to change the way we elect our president, we would have to amend our constitution. I am typically against that, as I have stated. But as it stands, I don’t think our current system is working.
We only ever have two viable choices. Yes, I know, Ross Perot, etc.. I can’t seem to remember how long he served as President, oh that's right, he didn’t!
Therein lies my point. I want more choices, and I want the average person in America to be able to have the chance to run for President.
I know it’s just a dream, but it’s my dream.