Lessons we must learn from Election 2016

Lessons we must learn from Election 2016

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Lessons we must learn from Election 2016

We’ll (hope­fully) know who won the Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion late Tues­day. Regard­less of who wins, the nation must learn some of the lessons that have come out in this elec­tion. Three of them are old items that were high­lighted this year. Two aren’t exactly new, but they def­i­nitely hit peak impor­tance as a result of this election.

Before we get into the elec­tions, let’s make one impor­tant point. At the end of the day, we’re all still Amer­i­cans (other than those who aren’t really Amer­i­cans, but that’s another topic). As such, we need to do what we can to bring order. There will be no unity even within the par­ties them­selves. This elec­tion has proven to be too con­tentious to expect any sem­blance of unity. How­ever, we can all attempt to remain civil. The nation is going to be a pow­der keg for weeks at the very least. Cooler minds must prevail.

Now, about those lessons…

Early vot­ing must go

Absen­tee bal­lots are nec­es­sary and right­eous aspects of our vot­ing sys­tem. Those who are unable to go to the polls on elec­tion day should be given an oppor­tu­nity to vote. That doesn’t mean that early vot­ing should be used to allow us to be lazy or avoid lines.

Early bal­lot appli­ca­tions should be frowned upon. I’m not sug­gest­ing any form of test, but the things that came out for both can­di­dates from the time that early vot­ing opened until elec­tion day were pieces of infor­ma­tion Amer­i­cans needed in order to cast an informed vote. Ill-​informed vot­ers are a prob­lem with­out early vot­ing. Add ignorance-​encouraging early vot­ing to the mix and the sanc­tity of the elec­tion is no longer beyond reproach.

Voter ID should be con­sid­ered by every state

If you have to show iden­ti­fi­ca­tion to buy cig­a­rettes, board a plane, enter a bar, or get a Costco card, you should show iden­ti­fi­ca­tion to help decide the lead­ers of this nation. Any argu­ments of racism or voter sup­pres­sion are fee­ble and com­pletely unten­able. The risk of voter sup­pres­sion is far lower than the risk of voter fraud. Every state should con­sider it (and no, it is not a fed­eral issue even for national elections).

Third par­ties have no idea what they’re doing

Love them or hate them (or both), these two major party can­di­dates are arguably the two weak­est in mod­ern his­tory. If there was ever a time when third par­ties should have been able to make a sig­nif­i­cant impact, this was the year. The Lib­er­tar­ian Party decided to put up a left­ist VP can­di­date to run with an unin­formed Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date. The Green Party stayed true to their goals of hav­ing bark with no bite, a posi­tion in which they thrive. If they ever had actual power, they would trip all over them­selves try­ing to give it to some­one else.

The Con­sti­tu­tion Party was unable to find 55 peo­ple in the state of Cal­i­for­nia to fill out a form so they could at least be a write-​in. On down the line, we see a com­bi­na­tion of poor strate­gies and poor choices from every party, top to bot­tom. This is why I’m so invested in form­ing a Fed­er­al­ist Party, but that’s a whole other topic.

Issues must make a comeback

In 2012, there was a lot made of the fact that the press focused so much on Mitt Romney’s per­sonal short­com­ings. Oh, if we knew then what we know now about how low cam­paigns could go. The press and the vot­ers paid so much atten­tion to the char­ac­ter flaws of both can­di­dates that most vot­ers can only spec­u­late about where they stand on actual issues.

We need to be talk­ing about issues. We need to be talk­ing about how to solve prob­lems. We need more than a tid­bit or a Tweet and until soci­ety is ready to go all-​in on inter­net research, the media still has to deliver infor­ma­tion on tele­vi­sion and radio. They need to start doing that. The only ques­tion is the source of this gossip-​mag jour­nal­ism. Do the peo­ple guide the media about what inter­ests them or does the media tell the peo­ple who they want to be inter­ested in?

Change every­thing about the debates. Everything.

I’m not going to dwell on this les­son. You all say them. Mod­er­a­tors were gen­er­ally awful. Ques­tions were bait­ing and irrel­e­vant. Time was too short for the answers. Many can­di­dates in the pri­mary had no oppor­tu­nity to shine.

I’d love to see com­pletely dif­fer­ent debate for­mat. Imag­ine ques­tions (on the issues) asked of one can­di­date at the time with­out the other can­di­dates present. They’re given ample time to answer it: 210 min­utes, depend­ing on the ques­tion. No audi­ence. Not played live. After all of the answers are recorded, the can­di­dates are brought together to hear all of the answers to the same ques­tion played to them for the first time. Then, they’re given 2 min­utes to respond. They could attack one par­tic­u­lar can­di­date. They could attack sev­eral. They could defend their own posi­tion or even change por­tions of their answer depend­ing on what they heard from oth­ers. It’s far. It’s based around the issues. It’s infor­ma­tive. It would be fantastic.

There are other impor­tant lessons to learn from this elec­tion, but these give us plenty to work towards in 2018 and par­tic­u­larly in 2020.

One thing is cer­tain: this cam­paign sea­son got out of hand and it wasn’t entirely the can­di­dates’ fault. The media played their stan­dard left­ist decoy role. The peo­ple obliged and rewarded them by tun­ing in 247. Twit­ter and its 140 char­ac­ters became the venue for seri­ous dis­cus­sions. This elec­tion turned into a deba­cle. Thank the Lord it’s almost over. Hopefully.

We’ll (hopefully) know who won the Presidential election late Tuesday. Regardless of who wins, the nation must learn some of the lessons that have come out in this election. Three of them are old items that were highlighted this year. Two aren’t exactly new, but they definitely hit peak importance as a result of this election.

Before we get into the elections, let’s make one important point. At the end of the day, we’re all still Americans (other than those who aren’t really Americans, but that’s another topic). As such, we need to do what we can to bring order. There will be no unity even within the parties themselves. This election has proven to be too contentious to expect any semblance of unity. However, we can all attempt to remain civil. The nation is going to be a powder keg for weeks at the very least. Cooler minds must prevail.

Now, about those lessons…

Early voting must go

Absentee ballots are necessary and righteous aspects of our voting system. Those who are unable to go to the polls on election day should be given an opportunity to vote. That doesn’t mean that early voting should be used to allow us to be lazy or avoid lines.

Early ballot applications should be frowned upon. I’m not suggesting any form of test, but the things that came out for both candidates from the time that early voting opened until election day were pieces of information Americans needed in order to cast an informed vote. Ill-informed voters are a problem without early voting. Add ignorance-encouraging early voting to the mix and the sanctity of the election is no longer beyond reproach.

Voter ID should be considered by every state

If you have to show identification to buy cigarettes, board a plane, enter a bar, or get a Costco card, you should show identification to help decide the leaders of this nation. Any arguments of racism or voter suppression are feeble and completely untenable. The risk of voter suppression is far lower than the risk of voter fraud. Every state should consider it (and no, it is not a federal issue even for national elections).

Third parties have no idea what they’re doing

Love them or hate them (or both), these two major party candidates are arguably the two weakest in modern history. If there was ever a time when third parties should have been able to make a significant impact, this was the year. The Libertarian Party decided to put up a leftist VP candidate to run with an uninformed Presidential candidate. The Green Party stayed true to their goals of having bark with no bite, a position in which they thrive. If they ever had actual power, they would trip all over themselves trying to give it to someone else.

The Constitution Party was unable to find 55 people in the state of California to fill out a form so they could at least be a write-in. On down the line, we see a combination of poor strategies and poor choices from every party, top to bottom. This is why I’m so invested in forming a Federalist Party, but that’s a whole other topic.

Issues must make a comeback

In 2012, there was a lot made of the fact that the press focused so much on Mitt Romney’s personal shortcomings. Oh, if we knew then what we know now about how low campaigns could go. The press and the voters paid so much attention to the character flaws of both candidates that most voters can only speculate about where they stand on actual issues.

We need to be talking about issues. We need to be talking about how to solve problems. We need more than a tidbit or a Tweet and until society is ready to go all-in on internet research, the media still has to deliver information on television and radio. They need to start doing that. The only question is the source of this gossip-mag journalism. Do the people guide the media about what interests them or does the media tell the people who they want to be interested in?

Change everything about the debates. Everything.

I’m not going to dwell on this lesson. You all say them. Moderators were generally awful. Questions were baiting and irrelevant. Time was too short for the answers. Many candidates in the primary had no opportunity to shine.

I’d love to see completely different debate format. Imagine questions (on the issues) asked of one candidate at the time without the other candidates present. They’re given ample time to answer it: 2-10 minutes, depending on the question. No audience. Not played live. After all of the answers are recorded, the candidates are brought together to hear all of the answers to the same question played to them for the first time. Then, they’re given 2 minutes to respond. They could attack one particular candidate. They could attack several. They could defend their own position or even change portions of their answer depending on what they heard from others. It’s far. It’s based around the issues. It’s informative. It would be fantastic.

There are other important lessons to learn from this election, but these give us plenty to work towards in 2018 and particularly in 2020.

One thing is certain: this campaign season got out of hand and it wasn’t entirely the candidates’ fault. The media played their standard leftist decoy role. The people obliged and rewarded them by tuning in 24/7. Twitter and its 140 characters became the venue for serious discussions. This election turned into a debacle. Thank the Lord it’s almost over. Hopefully.