I believe we need to rethink the way we conduct our election process. And I’m not just talking about the presidential election, though that could use some modification as well. I do not believe the current process works well or is set up for the best interest of the people. With a little bit of adjustment, I believe we can change our election process to produce better results for us as citizens.
First off, I believe we give far too much power to political parties. Now, I understand the reason political parties have been helpful in the past; it is easier to associate with a party that represents most your stances on different issues rather than having to research and compare every single candidate, and their stances on each issue, appropriately. But I must ask; should that be how we select a candidate for an elected position?
One of the flaws in this setup lies in not having accountability within the political parties to determine who is fit to fulfill the positions the candidates seeks. This issue can be seen in the current presidential election; not all people who typically associate with the republican party support Trump and not all the people who typically associate with the democratic party support Hillary. The result is that we are somewhat forced to vote, not for a candidate, but rather for a political party, and, more often than not, we are not voting for a party, but rather against another party. This is the issue with a two-party system.
Another issue is how we determine which candidate we choose, either in the primary elections or in the actual elections themselves. The platforms the candidates typically use for their campaign is centered around their stances on the relevant issues at the time. This is a problem because they use their time discussing their stances rather than displaying their fitness and qualifications for the position they seek.
It would be better if elections were held similarly to a job interview, considering that is essentially what it is; we are the boss and they are public servants looking to fulfill a position. If you and I went to an interview at the same time, I’m not going to convince them I’m a better fit for the position by making you look bad. Likely, that’s going to paint me in a negative light. Yet we don’t hold those seeking public office to that same standard.
What I would propose is simple; candidates would use themselves as their platform instead of their personal stances on different issues or their political party affiliation. This puts more emphasis on the individual candidate than on the political party or the issues.
Next, we, the people, would vote on the different issues, instead of just on the candidates. Essentially, the elected official is supposed to be a representative, not someone with a personal agenda. The candidate’s personal stances on the issues should be of no concern to the voters, for their actions in the role they fill should be determined by those who elect them, not necessarily their own personal stances on the issues.
Elected officials are public servants, elected to represent the interests of the people they embody, not to be power hungry politicians sent to wreak havoc while in office. The power should always remain with the people, not the elected official.
By electing people based on their merits instead of based on their political party affiliation or stances on different issues, we have a much better chance of getting men and women of integrity into key potions. Which, of course, will provide a higher likelihood of bringing about the change we, the people, want, not just the change of those who “hold power” deem fit.
By taking the issues and making them a point of interest and voting on them, we reduce the power of a political parties and place it back where it belongs; to the people. Doing this, we can create legislation and proper governance in our local communities closer to what it’s actual inhabitants would desire, not what a political party considers appropriate.
An additional benefit of this proposal is that limiting the power of the political parties breaks up the near monopoly of a two-party system, giving opportunity to other political parties that never had a chance before. There is still relevance in having political parties, but reducing that power and giving opportunity to more than just two parties makes the system more balanced and more effective.
When given the choice between only democrat or republican, only one can win. What if a certain populous continuously deters between the two, not because the population is divided in half with opposing stances, but because they are closer to a different political party not being represented? We should be able to vote for the issues, not just a political party, that closest resembles our stances. We might find that our local communities, our state, and our nation is not as polarized as the media would suggest.
Granted, for this idea to work many more people would have to be involved in the election and voting process. I believe the biggest hurdle with this proposal is there are not enough people who care to put the time needed into it to bring it into fruition. Whether it is because people are just too lazy or don’t care or maybe politics just isn’t a high enough priority for them to invest much time into, I don’t know. But we can’t expect change if we are not willing to change too.
Of course, if we aren’t apart of the solution we are likely apart of the problem. And the very people who do nothing to bring about change are typically the one yelling the loudest about how big the problem is.
Now, I also have an idea regarding the presidential election process. First, I think it is ridiculous that the primaries limit the voter to only one certain political party. I’m not sure if that is just in the State of Alabama, but I know that was the case last time I voted in the primary elections. How is that fair? That pushes the power to the political parties and further fuels the two-party system. I shouldn’t have to have any political party affiliation to be able to vote in the primary elections.
Now, I can understand not being able to vote for a different candidate for each political party for the same office (like voting for Carson for president on the republican ticket and Sanders for president on the democratic ticket). But what if there were a republican candidate I wanted to vote for in the presidential election, a democrat judge I wanted to vote for, and a libertarian I wanted to vote for in some other office? Shouldn’t I have the right to vote how I deem fit? Why should political parties hold that much influence?
Next, I don’t understand why we have a staggered primary election. I don’t think it should be staggered among the states and I think there should be multiple rounds if there are more than so many candidates to choose from. Granted, staggering the primaries like they do is an effective way to take the list down, but I don’t think it’s the most beneficial process for the people or the candidates.
Going into the primary elections earlier this year, there were over 10 candidates on the republican ticket. When I cast my vote, I felt the candidate I was supporting had a pretty good chance. But after a couple more rounds of voting, the candidate I voted for was no longer in the running and I’m left without a vote for the remaining candidates. I personally don’t think that is the best wat to handle the primary elections. Any other process of determining a winner has several elimination rounds—why should this be any different? Maybe if the presidential election was more like American Idol, more people would pay attention and get involved.
Finally, I believe that if people are going to bother running for a public office, it should be their responsibility to find out what the people they represent want. There was a time when much of the population was involved in politics. That doesn’t seem to be the case any longer.
I believe those who hold political office should change the way they do things to actively pursue the vote’s thoughts and ideas on different issues. After all, how can you effectively represent a group of people if you have no idea where they stand on different issues? If politicians lobbied for our opinions like they do for our votes and contributions, I believe we would actually get somewhere with our government.
But those are just my thoughts.
What are yours?