I am not “interested” in Rand Paul and whether he is “interested” in running for President.
I am not interested in any person who is making the preliminary kabuki-dance-like moves of ‘testing a candidacy’ or ‘exploring the viability’ of a run for the Presidency in 2016.
I am not interested in what pundits are saying about anyone’s chances for 2016, nor am I interested in listening to endless hours of speculation on this topic on talk radio – not for at least two more years.
I am fundamentally interested in reading the thoughts of anyone who is deeply concerned about the nation and the future –and thoughtfully articulating what should be done. I am interested in their thoughts, written in their own hand – not focus grouped, ‘market tested’ ideas – I’m looking for the genuine article. Think back to Reagan and his radio broadcasts and columns, which were later reproduced in book form in facsimile – showing his actual writing and thinking – not a ghost writer or paid flack.
I am even more interested in watching someone succeed in implementing ideas that will make the nation more prosperous, secure and free. Someone who is actually doing the things that conservatives stand for. Bill Whittle is on the forefront of this idea.
I am most assuredly not interested in repeating the tortuous campaign of 2012 in any form. It was too long, too mis-managed and too ‘everything’ to hold our attention and really inspire anyone, from the party base to the “low information voter” (what a euphemism! -- and what an indictment of our society, that we have let this happen).
There is no need for a campaign to stretch on for 4 years. There is no need for it to even span 2 years. In the age we now live in, the only reason for a four-year campaign is to provide funds for pundits, consultants, pollsters and other strap-hangers and horse holders. Very few of them produce any true value, when measured by the metric that matters: Did we choose the right candidate?
Like many others that have been writing during this election cycle, I believe that the process is broken. After four years and at least a billion dollars, we have little productive result to show for the effort. For the sake of the nation, it needs to be fixed.
I have a modest proposal to break the cycle and use the advantages of our modern society to preserve its best traditions and ‘last best hope for mankind.’ I propose a fusion of technology and pop culture to serve as an outreach for candidates that initially separate them from the party structure that has too often ‘chosen’ the wrong candidate too early in the process, independent of the party rank and file. The whole concept of “inevitability” and party professionals pronouncing "electability" on one candidate or another should be purged from our thinking, substituted by a stronger means of developing the ideas and candidates to rally behind for a successful election. “Inevitability” has cost this nation at least eight years of prosperity and freedom this far, and if we don’t change what we’re doing it may be double that.
I propose that we develop an internet based site, for the moment known as “CampaignStarter.” The site would enable anyone who thinks they have the right ideas and qualifications to produce an explanation of their strategic plan for their campaign and their subsequent plan for governance. They would be required to produce a document, written by them and signed, just as an author does, to place on the website and offer a download of the document for 99 cents. This document would serve as the plan for their successful campaign and administration, much like the product launches/business plans on Kickstarter. The site could also publicize appearances to hear the candidate and could highlight town hall meetings or other events that put the candidates in touch with the people, as a way to bullet proof and test their ideas – not unlike doing a play ‘off Broadway’ but with more serious intent.
The candidates would be able to place requests for funding their campaign (with appropriate controls to avoid illegal contributions from foreign sources or multiple donations from a single person) at several levels up to the legal maximum, much like KickStarter does. It would not be difficult to tie in databases of registered voters to prevent “operation chaos” events and non-value adding trolls from polluting the sites with distractions. Candidates would be able to use those funds for their campaign up until the primary process kicks in.
The site would only be activated late in the off-year election preceding the Presidential election (my first take would be something like December 15, 2015), and all primaries, state nominating conventions and caucuses would be shifted to the spring and summer of the election year, to limit the endless campaigning, with its resultant need for more and more campaign fundraising. The way to reach "low information voters" is with concentrated, well-timed and well written media -- not a continuous hum of "blah blah" always droning in the background.
Similar to all crowd sourcing schemes in vogue today, the market place for ideas would reward those with good ideas and promote them to the top of the stack. The others who could not attract funds, would be dropped from the process, with the top 5 candidates being eligible for participation in debates and appearances commencing in February of the election year.
Political parties would be free to continue their efforts to educate voters, organize volunteers and ‘get out the vote.’ PACs could still organize around topics and help educate and coalesce public opinion about issues. Both could recommend their favorites on “CampaignStarter” at the appropriate time…during the election year.
We need to initiate processes that focus on two things: 1) developing sound ideas and distributing them without relying on current media channels 2) Seeking out those who actually ‘do’ conservative governance and giving them the launch platform for other opportunities, somewhat independent from party structure so that the misplaced perceptions of the professionals don’t overcome the emerging potential of grass roots tested ideas and candidates.
I believe that party structure has its place – but we’ve not been well served over the past two election cycles, and one could make a similar argument for 1996 as well. Much of the reason for the lack of success is the influence of the entrenched main stream media – so we need to create a way around that. We need to meld the quickening pace of ideas and trends with the infrastructure that can provide the face-to-face contact of the parties with potential voters. We need a way to combine the base, living its values in the community and in touch with all citizens, with the developing ideas and candidates that best serve those values.
Results matter. Not just for partisan advantage, but the future of the nation.