Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election Reform

With the election finally upon us, it's time to stop procrastinating and type up my thoughts on campaign reform. It seems to me that every successive election gets more contentious. I can't watch TV without seeing repeated commercials stating '[insert candidate] is just too extreme', 'we can't afford to elect [insert candidate]', or 'civilization as we know it will come to an end if [insert candidate] gets elected', or '[insert candidate] wants to steal all your money, kill your family, and dance on their graves (cue ominous music)'. It is truly becoming nauseating. Not to mention that, as I understand it, there are no slander or libel laws in campaigning. You can say pretty much anything you want about a candidate with no fear of repercussion.

Elections have become so negative that people don't want to vote for anyone, resulting in record low voter turn out in each successive election.  That's why my solution is to amend the electoral process to allow voters to vote against a candidate rather than for one.  If you don't like any of the candidates, you would have the option of taking a vote away from a candidate you don't like.  If campaigning is negative, why shouldn't voting be negative as well.  Of course, if a race gets too unsavory, it would open up the possibility of someone flying under the radar - like Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson - winning the election because the other candidates all have negative votes.  The law of unintended consequences might just be what it takes to finally elect Lyndon Larouche or Ron Paul.  This would effectively force candidates to clean up their campaigns or things might get interesting.

In related news, campaign spending has gotten out of control.  According to recent data, team Obama is spending roughly $5.33 per registered voter while team Romney is spending $4.81.   

President Barack Obama and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney are spending a combined $26.86 every second this election cycle, as a binge of campaign spending deluges voters with rallies, banners, and of course, TV ads.

The figure comes from a grand total of nearly $1.5 billion spent by both sides just through September. And that works out to about $70 million per month, and more than $2.3 million every day, according to data provided by the Federal Election Commission.
That is an astonishing sum of money that I can't help feeling would be a lot better spent on something more productive.  When I'm seeing so many political ads that I'm missing the usual ads for erectile dysfunction, the Snuggie, and GEICO, then something has to be done.  Perhaps if 20 cents of every dollar spent had to go toward paying down the national debt until it is wiped out, that would be a start.  Add to that a hefty fine for any candidate or PAC that makes slanderous ads and we are really making some progress. 

Vote Craw Fu for innovative solutions!

In closing, I'll leave you with this:  “Mitt Romney, I hear he wears magic underpants. I expect the leader of the free world to go commando.” - Homer Simpson
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