I am getting so tired of this election. The news, the ads, the money that is poured into the ads. And the fact that the citizens of a few states end up deciding who wins this important position.
So it got me thinking about my ideas for a better way to elect the next president in 2012. I think the reality show format is much better suited to help us select the best candidate. So here is my proposal:
For 10 weeks, the top 10 candidates would participate in challenges based on reality TV shows. Each episode would run once a week on Sunday in an event much like SuperBowl. Each candidate would be allowed to purchase one 30 second commercial that could run only on that evening. (Of course, the good ads would be posted on Youtube, so they would continue to get exposure!) At the end of each Sunday, the voting lines would open and each registered voter would go online with their special voter ID and vote for one candidate. If you voted via phone it would cost 99 cents and that money would go towards paying off the National Debt. On Monday night we would have a results show, and one candidate would be voted off. At the end of ten weeks we would have elected a president and would have had a lot of fun in the process!
Here are the weekly challenges I propose:
Week One - The Big Brother Challenge: Lock all the candidates up in the Big Brother House for a week, away from their campaign managers and advisers. Turn the cameras on them 24 hours a day and let the American public watch. We'd get a truer picture of their character, how they treat others, how they act, and talk. We'd know immediately who was the biggest jerk of the bunch and vote him or her off!
Week Two - The Survivor Challenge: Ship them all off to some deserted island. Let them scrounge for food, water, and shelter for a week. We'd quickly see who has true leadership and organizational skills, who's a team player, and who is lazy, bossy, and annoying. We'd observe how they form alliances and friendships, and if they lie to gain loyalty and power. In that microcosm we'd be able to find the candidate who lacked good leadership skills and vote him or her off the island
Week Three - The Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader Challenge: Hey, any candidate for president should be willing to prove that they are smarter than the average American, even if it is only a little bit! We shouldn't have to blush when our president makes errors about geography, history, or the real price that Americans have to pay for a loaf of bread. So put them on the show up against those fifth graders, and we'd soon know who has some real smarts and who likely paid a friend to write their college term papers.
Week Four - The Real World Challenge: Get together a group of seven young, diverse, hip strangers, give them a lush house on a beach to live in, and make the candidates live with them for a week with the cameras turned on 24 hours a day. It would be interesting to see how our candidates would be able to relate to the younger generation. Plus we'd have a window as to how they feel and act when involved in the moral challenges that would come up - drinking, drugs, sex, etc. Each of the seven strangers would have time in the "confessional" where they could share their opinions of each candidate. Since the future president would be making policy that would effect the futures of these young people, this would be a great way to get the younger generation involved in the voting process.
Week Five - The Extreme Home Makeover Challenge: Give each candidate a family who is struggling with the horrible health, home, work, and financial issues through no fault of their own. Give them a week to find a way to assist them with getting the health care that they need, solving their housing problems, finding a job, and getting them back into solid financial footing. In the process they must deal with any businesses that have ripped the family off or institutional red tape that has plagued the family. As we watch each candidate help the family, we would get a truer picture of what practical ways he or she would deal with the domestic issues of our nation. Anyone who couldn't solve their problems in a week would be voted off. (Hey, if Ty Pennington can transform the life of a hurting family in one week, why can't our government??)
Week Six - The Amazing Race Challenge: Each candidate would be given a series of clues and tasks that would take them rushing around the globe. As they do each task, we would get a clear picture of how they deal with people in other cultures, helping us know more about their strengths in foreign relations. There are a lot of creative challenges that they could be given - diffuse a roadside bomb in Iraq, quickly rebuild a house knocked down by the earthquake in China, find a way over or under the wall in Gaza, buy souvenirs in France with shrinking US dollar.....
Week Seven - The Apprentice Challenge: The remaining candidates would be assigned to a struggling business. They would need to come up with a plan that would help that company be successful and grow. And on this challenge, let's let the candidate bring in a team of 6 experts to help them! It would reflect the kind of people they might choose for their cabinet, and we'd know if their team is based on political favors or individuals with real skills and abilities to get things done. As an added treat, why not have Donald Trump come on the Monday results show, so he could "fire" the candidate voted out!
Week Eight - The Project Runway/Top Chef/Trading Spaces/What Not to Wear Challenge: Let's twist things up a bit and have a challenge for the future first ladies! Give them a week to plan a charity event. And give them a budget of, oh, how about 10, 000 dollars? We'd see a lot about their personal style (which we all talk about anyway, so why not have it be part of the decision) and also about the causes that they would likely champion if they were in the White House. We'd all get to vote based on based on the food and decorating that is done for the event, as well as the amount of money that was made. And for the finale of this episode, let each woman walk down the runway in an evening dress so we can judge their fashion sense, too!
Week Nine: The Oprah Challenge: Why not have our three remaining candidates sit down for an hour long one-on-one interview with the second most powerful person in America, Oprah? The public could email or phone in their questions and we'd let Oprah delve into what really makes this candidate tick. She wouldn't hesitate to ask the hard questions we really want to know. Plus we'd get a fresh female and a minority perspective.
Before the final show, we'd have a Reunion Show of all the candidates that had been voted off. They'd be able to reflect on their experience, tell the untold stories about the remaining candidates, and predict who they think would win.
Week Ten - The American Idol Challenge: The final challenge would be a live event where the two remaining candidates would give a 20 minute speech to the American public. Sitting at the front table would be a Republican, Democrat, and Independent expert who would give their analysis of the speech when it was done but could not vote. Prior to the speech we'd see an informative video montage of what the candidates did in all the previous challenges (in case our viewers missed an episode) as well as some funny bloopers (so we'd get an idea of the candidate's sense of humor and willingness to laugh at him/herself). After the show, the polling would open for the last time for 12 hours. The next night, the winner would be announced! Can you imagine what a ratings draw that show would be!!!!
Hey, I would love to watch a show like that! And I'd be involved and excited to vote for president! Wouldn't you?