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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.