My Political Pipe Dream

According to my Facebook feed, it looks like there is going to be a big election in 16 months. Here is what I would like to happen.

First, I would love for you to inform yourself of Represent.Us and the Anti-Corruption Act. This short video may help.

If you’re mildly interested (albeit still doubtful) and want to be a part of this, let me recruit you.

Next, suppose for a moment that everyone visited and took some time out of their day to take the quiz that is available there. Further, suppose that for the questions that many people couldn’t answer because they were not knowledgeable enough or didn’t have an opinion, they took a little time to research those issues so that they could provide answers to the quiz.  Let’s explore some possibilities.

Upon finishing the quiz, the website would compare your answers with those of the candidate’s and inform you on how much you agree and how much you line up with each candidate. Who you will vote for and support becomes a no-brainer. Upon knowing how much and where you line-up with each candidate, what else do you need to know? Will seeing an advertisement on TV in support of a candidate with whom you agree on only 11% of the issues persuade you to change your mind even if it is a great ad? Will a negative attack ad on the candidate with whom you agree on 95% of the issues persuade you to change your mind and not vote for them?

What are we doing, America? If you watched the video above, around the 0:43 mark you would have been informed that US elections are costing us 6.5 billion dollars. Think of the infrastructure that could be built. Think of the increased salaries that public educators could have. Think of the tiny chunk we could take away from our national debt. As much as so many of you hate paying taxes, at least they’re going to something. Where is that 6.5 billion dollars going? And why aren’t you getting a little more upset about that?

Alas, money is too powerful, and I’m very skeptical any of this will work. Yet, I will try.

3 thoughts on “My Political Pipe Dream

  1. I tried to comment on this a bit earlier and I don't know if it went through, so forgive me if I'm double-posting. Anyway, I'm all in for knowing a candidate's positions–issues should drive elections–though it's also important to remember that our system does not reward voting for a candidate who's bound to lose, as much as he or she might represent your particular views.

    On the subject of elections, it's admittedly distasteful that we spend so much on elections while our teachers are underpaid and our roads and bridges crumble, but it's not like the donor class is going to start cutting checks to state governments if we enact campaign finance reform. Some rich folks would probably donate more to various worthy causes, but I don't think we'd see a 6.5 billion dollar bump in money used towards a public good. I'm all for reform, but I think we should be clear what the stakes are.


  2. These are great points, Ted. If you know how much you line up with each individual, this should help you make the decision on who you should support. We all need to use a little game theory in the end to cast our vote. Primaries help with this, since not all of us are good at game theory.

    The second point defintitely needs to be addressed, as you are spot on with that one. It is indeed a thought experiment as to where that 6.5 billion actually would go. After the election, what is to show for it? Old negative attack ads on You Tube, old bumper stickers on cars that never go away, and signs cluttering up our garages. In fact, isn't a little more money spent on repainting the campaign busses, continuing to pay rent on spaces, etc.?

    Maybe a “campaign” should be reduced to a “leaderboard” where we track what the candidates accomplish for the public during the remaining time they are in their respective positions.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s