So I be you’re all really enjoying the ads that are blanketing the air waves, cable lines, billboards and intarwebs, right? All of you are thinking to yourself, “Gee, I wish there was some candidate out there I could donate money to!” Everyone’s like, “Wow, I wish this election could go on for another few months. I’m seriously going to miss the wall-to-wall news coverage of how people are feeling about the news coverage!” And I’m sure all of you are delighted – nay thrilled! – by the impact that big money donations have on both sides of the aisle?
What? No? It’s not just me who thinks this is a lousy way to pick a government?
So I have a secret plan for how we can get the money out of politics. And, no, it doesn’t involve you sending me $20.
It turns out that at the end of the day, there is exactly one true form of currency in elections: votes. Right now, through the miracle of media, more money = more votes. What I wish would happen is better policies = more votes. If you join me in that wish, we can make it happen. Here’s how:
1) Go figure out exactly who and what are on your ballot
2) Go to one of the many independent, third-party sites that help you analyze candidates based on their public and provided statements. This one is good: The Voter Guide
3) Spend 30 minutes going through your ballot, figuring out which candidate has policies that best align with what you think is best for the country. If a candidate doesn’t actually have a published position, feel free to punish them for being all style and no substance.
4) Print out your selections or memorize your ballot.
5) Ignore the ads, the articles, the attacks, the slogans, the sign-waver, the favorites, the famous names, the families, the Facebook likes, the phone calls, the fliers and the noise. Make your choice based on policies and qualifications.
Guys, it wouldn’t really take that many people making decisions on criteria like this to radically change politics. Right now, there are very few voters who change the outcomes of elections. If you happen to be part of that very few and you are making your decisions based on real information, we might make it so more money != more votes. At that point, our politicians might be (GASP!) doing things like trying to have better policies.
It’s worth a shot!