Now that the Summer of Trump has ended and things are moving forward with our bloated and cumbersome presidential election process, I’m thinking, “Can’t this whole thing be a streamlined a bit?” I know I’m not the only one already experiencing campaign ennui, and that’s troubling because we haven’t even reached the point where we can even guess who the actual presidential candidates will be. We’ve got a long ways to go, baby.
Cruz announced his candidacy in March of 2015 and others followed. We will hold our presidential election on November 8, 2016. This is a 19- month process, folks. Enough, already. It’s time to streamline and simplify, and I hope that during my lifetime (and I don’t have long to go), the powers and principalities will agree. To get the ball rolling, I have a few suggestions, you know…just to start the brainstorming process from the point of view of one average citizen whose nerve endings are already beginning to fray. We need to be thinking about these things now because, as we all know, it takes Congress f.o.r.e.v.e.r. to get anything done.
So here goes. I’m not a political expert. I’m not an expert in anything. But I do believe it’s possible to turn a 19-month long 20-ring circus into a saner and more civilized democratic process. Here are some things we might change about the presidential election process in the U.S.:
- No one can announce his/her candidacy earlier than 12 months before the presidential election. Honestly, a year should be plenty of time. According to Zeeshan Aleem’s May 19, 2015 article on mic.com, the longest campaign in Canadian history was 10 weeks. I know we aren’t Canada, but c’mon. Must we suffer 19 months? We’re Americans. We’re supposed to be able to work smarter.
- Of the 12-month time period, nine will be devoted to the primary process, and the final three will be devoted to the race between the final candidates.
- During the 12-month time period, there will be no political ads allowed on radio or television. Nada. Political ads are extremely expensive venues designed to play on people’s emotions and fears. They use manipulated statistics and misinformation. Like the rest of advertising, they cannot be trusted.
- To fund campaigns, only individual persons will be allowed to contribute up to $5,000 per candidate. No corporate donations. When it’s time for the final candidates to move forward and campaign during the last three months before the election, a designated sum from the federal budget will be equally divided between the candidates. Just take a chunk agreed upon by Congress from the military budget and that should do the trick. For all those millionaires and billionaires who want to use their funds constructively, we have thousands of underfunded school districts across the U.S. We need funds for medical research. We need more resources for the homeless, the hungry, the addicted, the mentally ill, and our precious vets. Just sayin’.
- Televised debates and printed matter will be the main means candidates will use to convey their ideas to the American public. Printed matter will include online publications. One of the goals should be to get the American public to think critically about the debates they watch…and to maybe read and think a bit…an improbable task for many, I fear, but let’s try anyway.
- Any political messages conveyed via social media should be considered second class fluff. It’s just a new form of advertising at best, and in many cases, knee-jerk Twitter and Facebook reactions useful as potential comic relief at best.
- Keep the debates and the town hall meetings. Let’s watch personalities and intellect (or lack thereof) unfold before our eyes as candidates are guided to discuss points of importance to the American public. Let’s observe how candidates interact with regular folks in town halls, community centers and church basements…and yes, larger venues as needed.
- Finally, I’m with Bernie: Make election day a national holiday. We should celebrate our right to vote by actually having the time and incentive to do so, and then enjoy the rest of the day with what matters most: family and friends… or just a good long soak in the tub with a glass of wine.
Anybody out there with me on this one?