A few months ago, I authored a semi-serious prescription for how to get more people to vote. This month, I’d like to offer a few semi-serious thoughts on how to fix the train wreck that is our presidential election process. Here’s what we do:
- Ban “surrogates.” These are the twits, feebs, morons, suck-ups, sycophants and liars who speak for their candidate on CNN and other TV news argument programs. Nothing of value comes out of their mouths – ever. Mostly they exist to defend something stupid their candidate has said or done. But they never change anyone’s mind. Viewers never think, “You know what, until that surrogate explained why her candidate said we should ban all ethnic food as a way to protect our American culture, I was offended. But now I feel better and I like the idea!” So why bother? I will say, however, that I am considering the use of a surrogate in my personal life. When I do something dumb, I can dispatch Surrogate Andy to inform the lovely yet formidable Marcia, who can be scary, that the lawn isn’t mowed and my underpants are on the floor because, um, my back’s a little stiff and, besides, it was her fault because, she, er, selfishly forced me to take out the trash yesterday.
- Ban polling. Polling turns elections into horse races, which they are not. In my mind, no one is ever ahead or behind in an election until the election is over, and I resent anyone telling me differently. I’m convinced polls steer voters instead of merely telling us where our heads are at. Polls are also gigantic buzz kills. I don’t want to know the outcome ahead of time, just like I don’t want to know the ending to a movie before I see it. At a minimum, polls should come with spoiler alerts. Is that too much to ask?
- Pass a law making it illegal for presidential candidates to talk about anything other than their views on the issues. Any reference to an opponent – even Voldemort-style he-who-shall-not-be-named ones – would result in a penalty like in football. If you’re Hillary and you mention Trump or vice versa, you lose one percentage point off your Electoral College total. Pure genius. I’m glad I thought of it.
- Ditch debates. They’re useless anymore. We don’t learn anything, other than that manners, dignity and decorum are dead these days. Candidates don’t tell you what they think. They tell you what an idiot their opponent is, which is probably true but it’s also obvious and thus not very helpful. Debates lost all relevance when “the pivot” was invented. This is when a question is asked and the candidate immediately pivots to a talking point that has nothing to do with what was asked. There is no defeating the pivot. Therefore debates have no purpose. Dump ’em. In their place, I would give each candidate – separately – a podium, a working microphone, a checklist of issues and two hours of prime-time to tell us their views. They must address – in a serious and adult manner — each issue on the list, no pivoting allowed. If they don’t, a trap door door opens and, fwoop, there they go. I will be in charge of the trap door button.
- Fine people who don’t vote. Better yet, force them to write “I’m a doofus for not voting” on a chalkboard 10,000 times.
- Give each $10 million and one month to make their case, and no more. If you can’t make your case in a month, you probably shouldn’t be president in the first place. More exposure to candidates only makes everyone think, “Oh my god, there are 300 million people in this country and this is the best we can do?”
Or maybe that’s just me. But probably not.
Image credit: DonkeyHotey