The Possible Solutions
While it would be obvious how to remedy the issues mentioned in the first part I think it would be better to possibly consider a complete overhaul of the election process. By doing so our role as citizens in the election of our officials would actually become more crucial which is the way it really should be. Now this is being approached from the top down, obviously these problems aren’t as large or widespread when you’re talking about mayors of towns and cities. But the higher up you go the more likely these issues come into play. Continue on to see my suggestions for fixing these problems and a few others.
- Political parties would need to be completely eliminated, I don’t really see this as an issue as they don’t seem to serve their purpose anymore. By eliminating parties you prevent voters from simply voting straight ticket. This would force them to look at each candidate more closely and vote based on that particular candidate’s beliefs as opposed to their party affiliation.
- Who said that you have to be wealthy to run for office? It’s not even a requirement to become The President. But with our current system you almost have to be to run a successful campaign. Even potential candidates that could do great things if elected into office are unable to do so because they weren’t blessed with piles of cash. Campaigns waste money, time, and resources. So no more campaigns.
- By eliminating campaigns, you eliminate the need for funding. If you eliminate the need for funding, you eliminate the need for contributions from corporations and organizations. We already discussed the issues behind getting money from large corporations. But just eliminating campaigns doesn’t guarantee that these groups wouldn’t seek out officials and offer them money to vote in a particular manner. Just like a lot of companies won’t allow their employees to receive gifts from vendors, as it could be seen as a conflict of interest and cause the employee to participate in favorites, the same rule would apply to any and all officials elected or seeking election.
So that would eliminate the big issues, here’s how I see the new election process functioning. This approach looks at elected officials positions as nothing more than jobs, jobs that should require similar hiring practices.
- If we’re going to make all these radical changes, we’re going to have to get more specific about what is required of a potential candidate. Let’s make the requirements for the Presidency more specific. What’s there is already a good start, but it’s not enough. Let’s add education requirements, a degree of some kind. There’s absolutely no education requirement currently mentioned in the Constitution. I suppose the founding fathers figured that only smart people would attempt to run for President. I’ll leave the deciding on whether or not that ended up being true to you. Getting to the Presidency should be thought of as getting to a CEO position of a large corporation, you need to work your way up. The requirements for the different positions would require at least one term’s experience in the position one level down. This would keep someone with zero experience from hopping into the Presidency. Let’s also extend requirements similar to these to all elected positions regardless of importance. Age requirements should be adjusted for the positions that are lower down. This way someone working their way up to the Presidency isn’t 90 by the time they’ve met the requirements.
- Like I said earlier, we are treating this process like we’re assessing potential candidates for a job position. Anyone can apply for the positions, regardless of monetary situation (with the exception of those that have filed bankruptcy or have very extensive debts to their name) as long as they meet their desired position’s requirements. To apply for the position they would submit a resume to a website (time to step into the 21st century). The candidates should treat this as any job application. However, since these officials will be dictating rules and regulations we also need to know their values and opinions. So in addition to filling in an application, if you want to call it that, they would provide all the things they promise (or pretend to promise) to do if elected to their desired position. There would have to be limits in place as to how many applicants could be accepted to a specific position, this would become important in the next step.
- The citizens would then go to this website, and instead of trying to achieve this in a single day, this process could be run over a period of much longer since it would no longer require a polling office being open. While visiting this website we would browse through the applicants, viewing their opinions and experience, then voting for whom we thought would be the best fit. Obviously you could only cast one vote per position and once you had made your selection you could no longer access that position’s page. At the end of specified voting time frame the candidate with the highest votes would be awarded the position. This step also eliminates the need for the electoral college. Something that I’ve always felt sort of defeated the purpose of allowing the citizens to vote and made the entire process of electing a President and Vice President unnecessarily complicated.
Obviously there are flaws with this plan. Such as, not everyone has internet access and/or a computer. The security concerns with having the entire process take place on a website. However, our current voting system isn’t without its flaws. Obviously these flaws would need to be addressed before such a system could be implemented.
Having said all that, imagine if a system like this were put into place. The power to elect the best candidate would be placed back into the hands of the citizens. And with this kind of involvement perhaps more people would take their right to vote more seriously. I know I would. The chances of changes this drastic ever occurring are highly unlikely but one can dream.