Sunday, November 4, 2012

Super Bowl Tuesday: What the Electoral System Could Learn from Sport

                                                                By Trevor Ammons

Imagine if the presidential debates were during College Football Saturdays?  Or if the debate was planned on a Sunday or Monday night match up during the NFL season?  How many people would watch?

Sports, especially at the collegiate and professional levels, dominate today’s American culture.  Which makes me wonder, why don’t the presidential election and their debates try to spark the same excitement and ownership as being a fan of a sports team?  Barack is from Chicago, but I feel it is safe to say that there are far more people who will spend their hard-earned money to show their support for the Cubs, White Sox, or the Bears, OR the Blackhawks, OR EVEN the Fire (Chicago’s MLS team), or shoot…EVEN the Sky (their WNBA team) than to tune in and watch President Obama tell us why he is the man for the job for the next four years. 

Below are three reasons why no one in America still cares about the POTUS election and three ideas we could consider to get the POTUS fan base up, create bigger hype and to one day have these elections actually mean something.

Disclaimer: I realize that these three ideas are rather half-baked.  It is just an overall idea on reclaiming United States Politics and Government, for the people, by the people.

1)   Lack of parody: This is obvious.  Having two candidates per presidential election is boring.  We all know this.  We all know that voting for the president is choosing between "two evils".  Or even if you are prescribed  to the“Green Party” or “Tea Party,” there are really only two candidates who count.  Perhaps you even attend such lovely outings as my colleague Ryan Fleming recently wrote about, and are a “hardcore” GOP or Dem supporter.  You still only get to pick between two, no matter how “hard”you support one or the other.  And Mr. Obama even recently joked that if you do not live in a “swing” state your vote doesn't even count!  No worries, there is a simple fix…

The Remedy: Create something that we will call here the “32* State System of Representatives” where certain cities or states have “representation.”  How do we determine which cities or states are allowed a party?  Steal the NFL application process, and then add a twist.  The twist would be that each 32 teams must represent a different political thought.  Then Tea Party people might stand a chance and I can finally represent my Green Party peoples; and the best part of all is we all matter!  No doubt we will see the “New England Patriots” of this “32 State System of Representatives,” but if they are doing it right and winning then we should all be able to find happiness and contentment in it.

This league of 32 Representatives would follow a similar pattern to the NFL with 16-18 weeks of debating over current affairs.  Representatives with the best records will continue with a playoff system, culminating with a final election or “Super Bowl.”  This “Super Election Bowl” could follow many different formats, all of which the people would decide what would be best.  Therefore, from the beginning, the people who vote are the people whose voices are heard.

2)   The Timing of the Debates: But what these debates really need is HYPE.  Without hype, you get the mess we see 1-2 months before the election.  The first debate for Election 2012, Obama didn't even look like he knew was up for re-election!

The Remedy: Have these debates start earlier in the year and during nights that people actually care to watch.  Tuesday nights are good.  Nothing is usually on TV.  Sure 30 for 30 is a great show, but as a sports fan, we can watch those on Netflix or DVR at a later time.  Get channels like ESPN, Spike TV, Bravo, E! or MTV to broadcast these election debates and have them run commercials and print ads leading up to the debates.  Think Super Bowl but bigger in the sense that more people will care about it and there will be a 16-18 week season of “debating” for people to look forward to.   Moreover, for material that is in these debates, we will have topics and event styles that the people want.  The people who represent these certain parties decide what will be discussed and in what manner these discussions will be held.  Have y’all ever seen British Parliament meetings?  They seem to get along just fine and then they yell at each other.  I am sure we can figure the ins and outs of these meetings. 

3)  Election Day: No one really knows when it is, and it is during the workweek.  Y’all don’t watch baseball?  Exactly.  It’s because their games are, around 30% of the time, during the day.  We don’t have time for that.  We are all out “grinding” and more worried about ourselves and the next dollar than to stand in some line to vote for someone who doesn't really even change our everyday hustle.  Unless…

The Remedy: We make it known.  Have advertisements.  We all love watching commercials and reading billboards and signs.  We are similar to sheep in many ways.  With our new “32 State System of Representatives,” have some cool logos for the different parties or “Representatives.”  Go ahead and just steal some straight from professional teams if you have to; you are the United States Government.  Why not make some about the election too?

Oh yea, I forgot about certain parties trying to take out certain minorities who are “illegal” or even gerrymandering.  Whoever is in the US on this designated day for elections gets to vote.  Why?  Who wants to deny that globalization isn't real?  Our president affects me just about as much as it affects my friends in France or Cameroon, which is hardly at all, so just let people here, in the United States vote.  We are a democracy so let the people’s voice be heard!  As for the gerrymandering, as soon as you register with the United States Government that you are for whichever of the 32 Representatives, that’s it.  No matter where you live or move to, you will always run with that party.  You can agree with certain other ideals but once you claim your turf, you represent it forever.  No “Drake-ing”* allowed.  There will be a formal system for those who need to change their party.  Changing parties could consist of an onslaught of waiting and coherent writing demanded on the person(s) wanting to change representation accompanied with a thoughtful explanation of why they seek to do so All requests are up to interpretation.  I am thinking similar to a university application, but with a longer waiting period and higher costs. 

“One Nation, under the 32 State System of Representatives, for liberty and justice for all.”

*32 is the number of teams in the NFL
*Drake-ing"- a reference to Hip-Hop Artist Drake who, despite his undeniable talent, is infamous for paying homage to various 'homes' (Toronto, Tennessee, Uptown New York City etc), and even photographed donning jerseys of heated rival teams.

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