We’re doing it all wrong. Getting elected has become all about marketing. And each season, there is less and less truth in this sort of advertising. It’s time to take the “campaign” out of politics.
Being President—being any elected official in government—is serious business. In this Internet age, there’s no excuse for why we continue to dump billions of dollars into the election campaign waste can.
To decide who should hold the most important office in our nation, we need substantive information, not marketing slogans, pretty posters and propaganda. We could absolutely get rid of money in politics and draw more genuine public servants to offices of all sorts—national, state and local.
Marketing has its place in business, where companies of all sizes want to sell us something. But I don’t want someone to “sell” me on who should be president. Do you?
I want substance. I want facts. I want an easy way to find the truth about whom I’m voting for, and political advertising surely won’t give me that.
An Online Solution
Imagine instead that we have a website for presidential candidates that’s filled with bios, voting records, tax records, issue statements and, heck, even birth certificates, if you insist.
We could have debates, town halls and Q&As, on TV, online and in person—with smart moderators who ask important and relevant questions to both candidates, not always in debate format, with no questions reviewed beforehand. Heck, let’s give them pop quizzes and put them on Quora.
Think of the substance and wealth of useful information and insights we’d have to make our decisions.
The amount of BS we’d have to wade through would require mere tiptoes instead of full-fledged wading boots, because we’d eliminate the propaganda and the pundits and the propagandizing pundits!
Not So Friendly Skies
A coworker of mine recently likened being president to being a pilot—the person we elect should see the office as a responsibility to deliver us all safely to where we want to go.
We, the voting public, have a responsibility in return—to push aside the marketing BS and seek out untainted information that tells the truth on each candidate’s character, views and intended policies. But with all the marketing crap out there, it can be hard to discern what’s really true.
Too often, in our current system, we jump on a plane just because it’s red or blue and the pretty pamphlets told us exactly what we wanted to hear. Then we find out the pilot we’ve chosen doesn’t really care that our lives are in their hands, and he’s going where he wants to go whether we like it or not. And if the plane encounters turbulence and goes down, he and his copilot are the only ones with parachutes.
Aren’t you sick of this?
The Solution Is Staring Us in the Face
National, state and local websites can house the facts we need each election season—for all candidates. We can make voting easier for everyone—even those who are not online. It’s time. It’s past time.
With technology where it is today, we can bring elections into this so-called Information Age and say good riddance to the political misinformation age.
Marketing’s great—it can be creative, inspiring, and fun. And some political ads are very well done…but that’s how they get you. Because once you buy the marketing, you don’t even realize you don’t have the truth.
Many people suffered and died to give us all the right to vote. We owe them a system based on truth.
This year, you can go to FactCheck.org to find out what messages are true and which are not.