Thursday, December 10, 2015

How to Improve Presidential Campaigns

Some time ago I wrote a diatribe on my Facebook page, fulminating about the enormous amount of money spent by the two major parties on the 2012 presidential election - by most estimates, about 2.6 billion dollars*. I rhetorically asked how much better off we'd be if that money had been spent on schools, health care, and infrastructure rather than on yard signs, robocalls**, and crass, insulting attack ads.

As they are wont to do, my more conservative friends shook their heads and patiently explained to me that this money is actually Constitutionally-protected free speech, that for many reasons it couldn't have been used for other purposes, anyhow, and that I was a commiepinkoratbastard for even thinking about something so heretical as criticizing campaign expenditures.

Well, silly me ...

Having learned my lesson, I've decided not to criticize the obscene amounts of money being spent by both sides to buy the presidency. Instead, I thought I might suggest a few alternative ways to improve the quality, if not the funding, of presidential campaigns. Here are four ideas ...

1. Instead of debates, require candidates to engage in UFC-style cage fights ... all proceeds would be used to cover campaign debts.

1a. Candidates incurring injuries in these fights would be required to obtain treatment via the website, like Real People.

2. Require any candidate who advocates a military solution to any international problem to provide evidence of having actually served in the military.

3. Require any candidate advocating a policy position based on a either advocating or restricting a particular religious belief to support that position by writing an essay titled, "Why the First Amendment to the Constitution Doesn't Really Mean What It Says."

4. Require any candidate who makes a speech or runs a campaign ad advocating an action, policy, or comment made by the incumbent president to explain (in detail) his or her alternative course of action, the plan for funding it, and why it would work while the one proposed by the incumbent would not.

5. And when all else fails, you can try other, more esoteric options ...

What do you think, Dear Readers? Any other suggestions? Leave a comment.

Have a good day. Come back tomorrow for our first December edition of Great Moments in Editing. More thoughts then.


* You can see a breakdown of the spending and the sources from which the money came (to the extent anyone really knows) here.

** See yesterday's rant on robocalls.


John Hill said...

I'd be happy if we would just shorten the campaign season to 6 months...or even 10.
No campaigning until January of election year!

Gonzo Dave said...

...what John said.

allenwoodhaven said...

My idea is one I've had for a long time. At debates, if not whenever they have to answer questions, the candidates stand on metal platforms barefoot. If they don't answer the question that is asked, going off on some talking point tangent, an electric shock is sent into the platform. Viewership would increase so the electorate would be more informed. The entertainment value is obvious. And, as a societal bonus, politicians would be trained to actually answer questions by actually answering them!

What do you think?

Bilbo said...

allenwoodhaven - I think I feel another Constitutional amendment coming on ...