Let’s fix the US Election for President

The Problems:

Money in many forms.

The U.S. Election is funded by rich people and corporations.  That is why Sanders enjoys pointing out his percentage of individual donors.  There are laws that limit how much any one person can give a candidate directly. These laws were supposed to avoid this issue.  But the candidates developed Political Action Committees.  PACs are just huge bank accounts where anyone can give any amount of money and that money can be spent any damn way.   If they don’t even have to spend it all on the election, they can use it to go to Barbados.  It’s not a problem.

The money problem is not just centered with the candidates and their donors.  That money buys Advertising.  During an Election Season Advertising in Media costs THREE TIMES MORE.  Yup.  So as you can imagine, the media conglomerates are NOT super excited to clean up that nasty PAC problem.

The platforms:

Over the last couple of decades the elections have increasingly become a 24 hour reality show.  The election has always been big for TV and Newspapers.  And since those TV and Newspapers needed to get people’s attention, they preferred colorful short stories.   Candidates learned to use “soundbite” phrases that would resonate well in small clips on TV.  Complex ideas and discourse were ignored.

However when 24 hour news channels arrived, things started to drift south at an alarming rate.  And it soon became clear that the things that got attention were NOT the tax plan or the budget or foreign policy.  It was concepts that packed emotional impact. That people could square off on in a talk show.   So those things became an increasing part of the simplistic speeches.  And if a policy didn’t have any emotional impact it was linked to something that did.  Or ignored.

Actual detailed policy and platforms are sometimes ignored to the extent that they aren’t even published.    And even if they are published there is no need for them to be viable.  Because for the most part the candidates don’t have to defend or explain the details.  They can hit the highlight reel and ignore the hollow center of their plan.

VOTING:

Not enough people vote.  Not enough are even registered to vote.  This creates an unrepresentative election.  The candidates have a vested interested in this and go to some lengths to continue this trend.

Electoral College:

Right now we have an electoral college.  This means it’s possible to win the election by winning only 22% of the actual votes.  YUP.  And that’s in a 2 party system folks.   Everyone’s votes in this system are not equal.  My vote is less powerful as a Ohio voter than someone’s vote in North Dakota.  There is a conscious reason for this, but it is also deeply unfair.  The electoral college was created to more evenly weigh the less populated states with the heavily populated states. But we have elected presidents who have not won the popular vote.  In other words the guy who lost became President.  That’s not actually very democratic.

Debates:

Debates only retained the name, but not the actual intention or form of a debate.  It is essentially an opportunity for the candidate to say the things they want to say without much of a challenge to their position.  They are not forced to even answer the question that is asked most of the time.  They nominally start to answer the question and the pivot the answer into their standard rhetoric on some topic where they know most people agree.

Follow up Questions are often not even part of the agenda and most of the conversation happens between the moderator and the candidate and not between the candidates.

The solution:

Money:

We need to get rid of the PACs.  We need to stop corporations from giving more to a political campaign either directly or indirectly than any one individual can.  Basically we need to isolate this election to the money that is given directly to the candidate.  Also the party or a some lobbying group or the boy scouts cannot directly advertise for candidates.

I would not go so far as to eliminate allowing a group to advocate for a particular policy as long as they did not link that ad directly or indirectly to the candidate or party.  So if a group is all excited about wall building, that is the only thing they can say.  “let’s build a wall.”  They cannot say Trump, Republican or have any logo, image or symbol that would link that issue to the candidate.

There should also be a cap on the total dollars spent on a campaign.  And it should not be anywhere close to $1 billion dollars.  I would cap it $50 million.

Voting:

4 candidates should be running.  See my primary thoughts on how to accomplish that.  Then we use the Alternative Voting System.  This allows a person to vote for a candidate they truly believe in without feeling that they are throwing away their vote.

EVERYONE must vote.  You can show up and mark Abstain, but you have to show up.

Electoral College:

Let’s ditch it like dirty dishwater.  Its NOT working.  The idea that certain areas will be ignored without the electoral college  is unlikely.  If it were true, since candidates could conceivably win an election by winning all of the small states, that would be where the candidates would be spending a good deal of their time.

BUT NO.  Candidates disregard those states and focus on about 12 of the 50 states.  This system doesn’t give those small states any more attention from the candidates BEFORE the election so you KNOW it’s not causing any attention after election.

Popular vote is a fairer way.  Period.  I know this Republic is based on States and what not, but that is what our Congress is there for.

The Platform:

Candidates are required to publish and discuss all of their proposed policies on a pre-set list of issues.

In depth. You want to build a wall around the US, you need to submit a plan that shows how much it will cost, how it will be funded, details on how it will be accomplished, and analysis on expected outcomes WITH EVIDENCE.  Your proposal must include at least 2 legitimate objections to your plan and your counter position to those objections.  “We’ll see” doesn’t count as a counter argument.

You need to provide this upon declaring your candidacy.  If you change it – you must note your changes.

DEBATES:

Debates must include challenges by opponents and moderators.  False information must be shown that way as soon as humanly possible.  In fact I would make all follow up shows be about the accuracy of the information presented.  And if it is possible for a moderator to know in real time and challenge the information, that must be done.  Indeed when you think of it, I imagine the public will find that more entertaining.  A sort of quiz show mentality.

 

 

 

 

 

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17 thoughts on “Let’s fix the US Election for President

  1. Good post. You put a lot of thought in this. Most people don’t think that much about elections. This year it’s a huge reality show (and not all that entertaining). Now, more importantly, can I start a PAC to fund my vacations? I’ll go to Barbados if need be. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It’s so broken right now. There’s a few more issues, with the voters themselves being a problem. Some vote like they are supporting their hometown football team, regardless of what their candidate supports or their record illustrates. People need to apply some critical analysis to their choice. Another possibility for better voting results would be to have a system like the US Senate has. In that case, each state has two senators, making Rhode Island as powerful as California. This would mean that each state would be heard and heeded.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah. The voters are a whole other issue. I think we need to readjust how we educate people to focus less on meaningless facts and more on contextual thinking. Critical Thinking and Decision making. It would change a lot of things in this country – but one of the biggest ones would be in how we vote. I follow a guy on Tumblr who says he is voting for Trump to say FUCK YOU to the establishment of Republicans and Democrats. That is bad decision making.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hear that about Trump voters. I can’t say that I blame either side for voting against insiders. After all, it appears that the overwhelming majority of our citizens have been abandoned by the ruling class of of both sides.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, it’s understandable considering the rigged nature of a our political system. But like all things, it’s a matter of pragmatism. There is more long term destructive value in voting for Trump to make a point about insiders than there is in voting for the insider who will cause the fewest ripples.

        Which is essentially Clinton’s best asset as a candidate. Nothing much changes if we vote her in. Trump is a narcissistic time bomb.

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      3. I may abstain. I just can’t see voting for Hillary. She’s exactly what’s wrong with our system. She’s the entitled, ruling class, who panders for her own personal reasons. She’s also corrupt, and has been for decades. Trump isn’t my choice, either.

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      4. When you don’t vote, you’re still voting. You’re supporting the winner, whomever that might be.

        Normally, the difference between the candidates is just whipped up rhetoric and a froth of emotion.

        But with Trump. I’m not sure. If he wins, he could make some fairly devastating choices.

        Bush was a middle of the road candidate and flushed a bad choice war down our throats. Imagine what an extremist could do.

        Clinton was a middle of the road candidate and he deregulated the financial industry and whoops – worldwide financial crisis. Imagine what a capitalist, whose been using bankruptcy for decades as a get out of jail free card, will do.

        Those were the normal Presidents. Its probable that both of them did those things with good intentions for positive outcomes for the world. Now put a wild card narcissist in the white house, and wonder how much worse he could make things because his intentions are for his own purposes.

        I think its worth voting against him. Hilary Clinton will undoubtedly fuck things up in one way or another. They all do. But I doubt it will be quite as large a load of dodo as Trump. Because I think Clinton is at least aware of how her choices are affecting other people, if only her cronies. Trump is only thinking about Trump.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. In the end, my choice reverts back to your post. I live in an overwhelmingly liberal state, and my vote doesn’t count at all in the end, should I vote for Trump or Clinton. It is preordained here.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yeah. And that is why I want the Alternative Vote and more viable parties to vote on. If you live in an area that always votes one way or another, it makes a person who feels differently less likely to vote, which then cycles into reinforcing the current status quo. Its a problem that needs to be addressed.

        Although honestly I think we focus too much on the President. Having a more representative Congress and getting people more focused on that would be helpful to represent minority viewpoints. I have a whole other post on that.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I’ll have to read that! I think that you’re right, the way it’s set up now the status quo will never change. Sigh. Instead of politicians working for us, they’re working for themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I may have modified my view. I’ve just watched what happened in California, with the marxist thugs beating up Trump supporters. These are Brown Shirt tactics at play. I refuse to let them think that I can be bullied into not voting for a candidate. They ought to be arrested and punished to the fullest extent of the law.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. There seems to be a lot of violence reported around his rallies. Erica Chenoweth, an international relations professor at the University of Denver, has said that there tends to be violence around political rallies in countries where the population doesn’t trust the institutions. She says she’s worried that the continued violence is a sign of something larger.

        And mabye it is. But you have only to see how Trump works a crowd to see why there is violence. He is a gifted agitator. He presses emotional buttons and people react strongly and this leads to clashes. Which he then verbally encourages with allusions and non direct remarks.

        I’m glad you decided to vote, even if its not the way I would vote. Voting is worth your effort.

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  3. I think your ideas are great and really well thought out. Disclaimer-I am a huge Hillary supporter, although nowadays I’m reluctant to even say that publicly, which in and of itself is an issue. I think she’s far from perfect, but I also think that telling lies about her over and over and over again has somehow made things seem true that aren’t true.

    I get that people have a visceral dislike of Hillary, for whatever reason. I’m a lifelong Democrat (you probably guessed!) but even when we had a President I thought was awful, like W, I never doubted that he loved his country and was genuinely doing what he thought best. I’ve certainly never thought a President was simply power crazy and not worried about consequences.

    That changes with Trump. History has shown us time and time again how dangerous this kind of person is. We’re not talking about flawed economic policies and some bad Supreme Court appointments, although those are overwhelming enough with Roe v. Wade at stake. We’re talking about someone who is unhinged and wants to change the entire landscape of our country. Refuses to embrace any form of diversity. Cannot stand even the slightest criticism. And wants to shut down opposition completely, which is probably the most dangerous thing of all.

    Trump is the first person who has a real chance of becoming President whom I really believe can destroy our 240 years of freedom and turn us into something we can never come back from. Terrifying.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I believe you’re absolutely right. We badly need to change this system. The horror that is Trump is a direct result of how messed up the electoral system has become. And while there are multiple villains here, I think a large part of the blame needs to be laid at the feet of a media which has, for decades now, focused entirely on profit at the expense of honesty and fact.

    Liked by 1 person

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