As everyone knows, American Idol, is America's most popular reality show, and it specializes in taking young unknowns with little or no experience and propelling them to instant stardom. It's all good fun, even if none of them has emerged as a superstar yet. There's no harm done.
But when it comes to picking presidents, if you asked just about anyone if he or she wanted an unknown, untested, pretty person with a good set of pipes running the country, the answer would be a resounding "no." That is, until the person has a name and a face, and the electorate becomes an audience of fawning teenagers.
How about, instead of debates, we have Simon and Company critique their speeches and programs? or if you prefer, James Carville, Ann Coulter, and an independent to be named later – because I can't think of a prominent one, can you?
All this is scary enough, I know, but America seems ripe for change. So then consider that Idol employs an interesting mechanism for picking it's winner, and one has to wonder what it would mean if applied to politics. I'm talking about the way American Idol conducts it's voting – early and often, and in a very narrow time period. You're not only allowed to vote as much as you want, you're encouraged to do so.
I think the theory is that by allowing people to vote as much their hearts desire and their fingers can sustain, it all equals out, and the most popular singer does, in fact emerge as the winner. I mean, if candidate A has a hundred supporters, and candidate B has fifty, it's possible that B could win under the Idol system, but it's not likely.
How different would that be in politics? Granted, some groups would be able to vote more often than others, but would the results be worse than under the current system where only the industriously fraudulent vote in quantity? Is voting fraud more or less likely to skew the vote than letting everyone in the country vote by phone for three hours on Election Tuesday?
Although having Ryan Seacrest or Jerry Springer reading the results could be a deal breaker, I admit.
Also, wouldn't phone voting result in less people being disenfranchised? And wouldn't it virtually eliminate voter intimidation that, you know, only Republicans practice?
Although I'm sure if a Republican won, liberals would charge that the rich can afford better dialing equipment, so maybe the government would have to send everyone $40. coupons to update their equipment?
And if you still think this is a bad idea, don't you at least have to admit that the results couldn't be any worse than the one we just got?