IDEA: A Debate Fundraiser to Trump Trump

How incredible it would be to have two women running against each other for the office of president of the United States. What are the odds that would happen in 2016? Are these odds even calculable? Even if neither Carly nor Hillary resides on her respective party’s ticket, We the People want to see them debate. Hence…

Idea of the Day

Whoever sets up the mega-million dollar pay-per-view boxing matches should set up a Carly v. Hillary debate fundraiser. If the fee is a mere $5 to watch and 25 million people watch… well, that is a lot of cash that Carly can raise for the 4,000 crisis pregnancy centers in the United States. (Unlike the CEO of Planned Parenthood, who earns more than half a million dollars per year, plus bonuses, enriching herself off the deaths of the pre-born, a director of a crisis pregnancy center earns about $55,000 per year. Yes, I’ve already determined where Carly’s winnings should go:  to support the weakest and most vulnerable human beings in our country.)

If Donald Trump can run as a Republican, bringing reality TV to our political process and actually end up serving a purpose by engaging the TV-watching masses in the major issues of our day, then let’s take Reality Politics to the next level:  a debate fundraiser starring the two female presidential candidates.

Who would facilitate the debate?

Resumes being accepted. Since I thought Anderson Cooper was the star of the first Democratic debate, I’m nominating him for facilitator of the debate fundraiser.

Who would ask the questions?

Questions would come from two groups:

  • All other candidates who entered the presidential race would ask one question each.
  • Either a person from or a group representing each state would also ask a question. (We might have to go with regions, because of time limitations.)
    My thinking behind that is to draw attention to the role of federal vs. state governance and also to engage regional communities and put faces to issues. For example, a group of high school government students might videotape their question or a few people seeking citizenship might ask about immigration.)

Questions would be organized into timed rounds, just like boxing, such as the domestic economy round, the foreign policy round, the social issues round, and so on.

How to determine the winner?

If you paid your $5 to watch, then you get to vote.

Unresolved:  Would viewers be able to cast votes after a “round” and then the rounds would be tallied or would there be one single vote at the end (that is probably the most practical)?

Since Trump loves to brag about his wealth and claims no one can buy him and since he has so much experience with Miss America pageant “voting,” he can donate his resources and established systems to calculate the winner. This is a fundraiser after all. [A friend with a TV has informed me that Dancing With the Stars has a good phone-in voting system that would work, so Trump may be off the hook here.]

What if Hillary wins?

The money raised will go to pay down the national debt.

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IDEA: The Build Your Own President App

My idea of the week is this:  an app that allows you to build your own president. For now the working name for the app is “POTUS,” but only because I have not spent sufficient time (meaning I haven’t thought about it at all) coming up with a better name.

Where the idea came from:  every election cycle I’m disappointed, because I never agree even 80 percent with any one candidate; voting always feels like a compromise. Maybe the incumbant who I voted for last time changed during his first term and flat out lied about who he was and what he was going to do, and I can’t vote for him a second term. So I go scouting the competition and hear candidate A say some things I like and candidate B say some things I don’t like. Then one day candidate A disappoints me on some issue that was on the outskirts of my radar, and I realize, wait a minute, candidate A does not represent me on everything. So I start looking around again to see if anyone can win my political heart.

Maybe this app is called “Vote for Me!” And now I’m thinking it could be used for all levels of elections, not just the presidential race.

My assignment for the techies:  Develop this app for We the People. It’s a game. It’s educational. It’s fun and interesting. It gets regular folk engaged in election cycles, and maybe can reignite a spark for those ensconced in cynicism.

Considerations:  When I first starting turning this idea around in my head, I was focused on the 2016 election, thinking of using real candidate sound bytes from the current campaign trail. But then I thought, that is fine and good for a season, but a second, generic app is also needed that allows people to customize both the candidates and positions.

There are always many more approaches to the issues than are discussed and represented during election cycles, we may need to add other solutions to the issues that are not being promoted in individual campaigns and add those to the database. Ideas from big and small business, from nonprofits, and so on. Candidates often get swallowed up by the Party Line or pushed outside the circle, if they are deemed to “extreme” or inconsistent with party values and big donor special interest. If there is a way for “players” to customize the solutions to each issue, that would make the game more interesting.

While the candidate is built primarily on solutions to issues, you can also create the president’s background, such as gender, age, education, previous work experience, ethnicity, wealth, family, religion (or not). Artists and graphic designers could develop some stock images you could select, or people could upload a custom graphic for their candidate.

You could even put yourself in the election if you wanted to, by developing a candidate based on your own views.

Making it Interactive:  The app allows “players” to enter their candidates into mock elections with candidates created by other people, and all players can then vote.

Some interesting social analysis could be conducted after mining the data of what kinds of presidents We the People build, if we could select from a larger pool.

Is someone doing this already, and I just don’t know because I don’t have a smartphone?

I’m pretty sure Carly Fiorina would like this idea. She promotes the use of technology in government and also as a way to engage We the People in the function of our government. During her appearance at the Heritage Action’s Take Back America Forum in Greenville, SC, last Friday, she gave us dinosaur flip-phone users 18 months to upgrade to a smart phone.

Hmm… Given that it is an app, people from other countries would be able to create U.S.  presidents and participate in the mock elections.

Hmmm… some more…. can candidates collect (fake) donations in this app? Which means that you can download the app and register with “voter” status, versus “candidate” status. If so, the app must include campaign finance rules. How would the app be made interesting for someone who was only going to vote and not building a president? Each voter could be given the maximum amount of money allowable to donate, and could decide to give all of it to one candidate or spread it around to multiple candidates. The people who build their own president can’t have mock elections if there are no voters.

Money… What could candidates do with their fake money? Buy advertisements in the app?

When I shared this idea with my coworkers last week, no one wanted to talk about it and brainstorm with me. I had to fight to get one person to agree, “yeah, that’s a good idea.” Was it because the others are disengaged? Are we too early in the political season? Does Average American believe my vote doesn’t matter and I can’t make a difference? Or… the problems are so great, I’m overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin to effect change?

And that, People, is my idea, which began last week and continues to percolate this week.