Donald Trump has turned the Republican nomination process into reality television. And why not? While reality TV seems to have dropped in popularity recently due to the current zombie craze, the notion that we can do fusion politics, debates and reality TV, is brilliant. But we’re missing one important ingredient. And that’s voting losing candidates off the island. This seems to be a serious flaw in the thinking.
What we know: We have three candidates that have dropped out voluntarily. Well, not really all that voluntarily. They ran out of support and money and their polling numbers never broke out of the noise level. Scott Walker, Rick Perry, and recently Bobby Jindal are gone. George Pataki and Jim Gilmore are virtually non-existent and should be voted off the island very soon along with Lindsay Graham and Rick Santorum.
But how do we do this? We certainly cannot have the candidates involved in the process. And the Republican National Committee would have some serious conflicts of interest. The press, the well known home of liberalism, could hardly be counted on for impartiality. Now that I think of it, do we really care about all this if it makes great TV? Nope.
Let’s try this one on for size. We now have 14 remaining candidates: Bush, Carson, Christie, Cruz, Fiorina, Gilmore, Graham, Huckabee, Kasich, Pataki, Paul, Rubio, Santorum and Trump. The Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary are in the beginning of February, some 11 weeks from today, November 18. Let’s narrow the field down to six. That means we need to vole 8 candidates off the island. The last two weeks of the year are reserved for the holidays (or Christmas if you prefer that word) and the first week of 2016 is startup time. So we have 8 weeks to vote 8 candidates off the island. That’s only one per week, roughly the same cadence as happens on reality TV.
Let’s have a show during prime time on Thursday night where the audience, either through the internet or interactive TV vote one of the candidates off. We can do this in several ways: positive voting for the one preferred candidate, negative voting for the candidate one most wishes to remove, ranking the top or bottom three choices and letting the math do the rest.
This is just like the primary system only much more entertaining and a sure fire way to get an apathetic populace interested in civics.