Sunday, November 4, 2012

And Now For a Totally Different Election Process

During this election cycle there has been quite a bit of talk about Voter ID laws. Some say these laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud where some people vote more than once. In some cases, people who are dead have apparently channeled their candidate selections to living people who are charged with being proxies at the voting booth. Soon we will be hearing about people who are not yet born horning in on the election process. In fact, if a significant number of this demographic begins voting, we may find Roe v. Wade being overturned.

On the other side are those who believe that Voter ID laws disenfranchise citizens who do not have a valid ID. However as one commentator said, you can’t even check out a book at the public library without sufficient ID. Why would you want to allow voting without proper identification? Perhaps those library cards could be used at the polls as identification. In fact, some states are already doing this.

Given all the controversy over Voter ID, I decided that if we really don’t care how many times a person votes, there is a much better way to hold elections. I call it Reality TV Elections (RTE). Currently, there is a huge interest in talent shows on TV. Shows such as American Idol, America’s Got Talent, The X Factor, The Voice, and Dancing With The Stars are going strong. Some of these shows have franchises around the world, so there’s no disenfranchising going on there yet. Here is my idea. Do away with the current election process and replace it with a reality show. Just to get the mental cogs turning, here’s a few suggestions for the name of the show: Presidential Idol, America’s President’s Got Skills, The POTUS Factor, The Election, or Cavorting With The Candidates. I’m sure you, gentle reader, can come up with even better names.

Just think about it. This reality show concept will not only solve the problem of voters being disenfranchised and others not being allowed to vote more than once, but other problems as well.

Campaign finance reform is something that many people want to see. They don’t like the idea of big money controlling big elections. All those PACs and SuperPACs are seen as corrupting the election process. Well, no more with RTE. The candidates will no longer have to raise money and be beholding to big money interests. In fact, RTE will pay for itself. Advertising fees would pay for the entire process. Can you imagine replacing the McCain-Feingold law with McCain’s Fine Gold ads? Totally awesome.

Our two-party system of politics has been increasingly under attack since there are a significant number of people who no longer like the candidates who run as a Republican or a Democrat. Yet these people are skeptical of voting for a third party candidate for fear they are throwing their vote away and possibly allowing the worser of two evils to get elected. This is not an issue with RTE. It would allow anyone in the country who is Constitutionally qualified to be president to show up at the tryouts to be held in major cities throughout the US. The judges would consist of all former US presidents who are still alive. Channeling of dead presidents is not allowed as it is with voters. If there is not a well balanced array of ideologies amongst the living presidents, then Howard Stern and/or Penn Jillette could join them to compensate. And remember, there would no longer be any political parties except those held by the judges after hours.

In the early rounds of competition, the judges alone would decide who makes it through to the next round.  However, to avoid any hint of partisanship in this process, the early rounds would be devoid of any ideological content. The judges could base their decisions on such things as who has a presidential look and speaks like a president. After all, you don’t want a president who wears a nose ring and dangles his participles. Well, at least not in our present culture; maybe someday in the future. After eliminating candidates based on these two criteria alone, the field of remaining candidates should be at a very manageable level. In fact, the number may be small enough to go to the live shows. If not, then the number could definitely be reduced to an appropriate level by asking questions such as “What are the three branches of the federal government?”, “Who was the first president of the United States?”, and “What was the first bill that President James Garfield signed into law?”

Voting by the TV viewing audience would begin with the first live show. At this point ideologies could be expressed by the candidates. I suggest that each of the live shows be themed. For instance, one show could be devoted to writing and delivering a speech. Each candidate would be put in solitary confinement for the day with a pencil and paper. No speech writers would be allowed. Also, no computer with an Internet connection would be allowed lest the candidates be tempted to plagiarize a Ronald Reagan speech. During the live show that evening, they would deliver their speeches. After the show, two hours of voting would begin. Everyone would be allowed to vote as many times as she is able to get through on the phone and the Internet. Don’t even say it. I know what you are thinking. Isn’t this method of voting disenfranchising those without a phone or a computer with an Internet connection? Well, it would be except that I hear that President Obama is personally passing out free cell phones to those without one. I assume this program will continue under future presidents. In fact, with voting at stake, it would be their patriotic duty.

Additional show themes could include such things as handling a simulated Cuban missile crisis, making wise decisions (bonus points for having this ability during the sleep deprivation episode), handling terrorist threats and attacks, and revealing which famous actors you would choose to fly into space with nuclear weapons to break up a comet fast approaching Earth. I would personally want to see one week devoted to the candidates imitating Elvis Presley. I believe every patriotic American citizen needs to possess this skill. The president gets no special exemption. However, this is the closest I ever want to see the US President pretending to be a King.

After several weeks of intense competition and voting, the winner of the presidential reality TV show would be revealed. Tell us what prizes the winner gets, Don Pardo. Well, they include an all expense paid trip to Washington DC, a free four-year stay at the White House, free trips to points around the world aboard Air Force One, free food for the entire family, and an annual $400,000 salary plus $169,000 for various expenses. And that’s not all. The winner will continue to get nearly $200,000 per year for life as a pension. Not bad considering he will also be eligible to make $100,000 or more for each appearance he makes on the speaking circuit. The actual amount will vary depending on how well he performed on speech delivery night during the competition.

So what do you all think of my idea? If you like it, we can make this reality show a reality by banding together and demanding a Constitutional amendment that modifies the election process. I can’t wait. After all, since it is my idea, my royalties for the show will probably exceed by far the measly amount made by the President. His will be chump change by comparison.

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