Democracy is being allowed to vote for the candidate you dislike least.” — Robert Byrne
As with so many other “great ideas”, this one came to me on the toilet.
In about 48 hours we will, if everything goes according to plan, know who’s moving into the White House on January 20th. However, more than half of the U.S. population are dissatisfied with the choices presented to them in this race.
It’s a little late to change that now. But this got me thinking, what can be done so that this doesn’t happen in the future?
The biggest problem is that as long as people accept the story being told, it’s bound to happen again. What’s the story that’s being told? That the choice is between a Democrat or a Republican. That a vote for anybody else is wasted, because they’re not going to get elected anyway.
While it might be “true” for this particular election (it is highly unlikely enough people will vote for other candidates) we have 4 years to change that.
So, here’s what I propose.
We need movies, TV-shows, documentaries, books, and other media to tell stories about write-in candidates who succeed.
Humans are lazy. Not on an individual level, but as a whole. We often rely on the default options presented to us, and don’t always question what other choices are at our disposal.
We don’t know what we don’t know.
For example, when you’re at McDonald’s, Starbucks, or Subway, do you ever wish you could order the Big Mac Sauce on the side as a dip, a Cotton Candy Frappuccino, or the maybe the “Old Cut Sub”?
Well, you can. These things exist, they’re just not on the regular menu.
The same is true with politics. There are tremendous amounts of options out there, they’re just not presented to us. So, we have to do a little digging. Or we have to be exposed to it by someone who’s “in the know”.
I can’t begin to count the amount of times I’ve heard up and coming songwriters, producers, and artists before they get any mainstream attention, simply because I’m in the eco system. People I know ask me “Have you heard of this gal called…” or tell me to “Check out this band…”. The information flows to me without me even working for it anymore.
In that respect I’m privy to music others aren’t. However, there are countless examples where I don’t know that I have other options at my disposal. These options are only uncovered when someone either tells me, shows me, or I just happen to ask: “Isn’t there anything else?”.
Here’s where you creative people come in.
I could write about or link to examples of when a write-in candidate was successful. But I’m lazy, so you’ll get 2 links, and some homework.
Here’s a link to Wiki in case someone’s interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Write-in_candidate
Also, an interesting thread on Quora on the topic of write-in candidates: https://www.quora.com/In-a-US-Presidential-election-could-a-write-in-candidate-ever-actually-become-President
I took a look at it but nothing about it intrigued me enough to make me want to tell a story.
However, I know that someone, somewhere will look at the same thing and it’ll spark ideas and stories that can make an impact in the next couple of years.
If we can get an episode of “Family Guy”, “The Simpsons”, or “South Park” about a write-in candidate. If we can get a “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” about a write-in candidate. If we can get a documentary on someone real who got elected to office despite being a write-in candidate.
And if they’re all done well, they can actually start to shift the way people behave.
Now, it needs to be repackaged and retold in various formats to various people. So, if you think that “all I’ve got is this podcast with a couple of hundred listeners”, don’t let it stop you from doing it.
In fact, let it be a source of pride that you have someone willing to give you the time and opportunity to share your ideas and thoughts.
Also, it doesn’t help to simply inform people about the fact that this is an option. Remember, we’re lazy, we don’t remember information. We remember stories.
And we need these stories told.