Have you noticed that about half the country thinks the other half is, well, nuts! And for the presidential election that is upon us, according to many in their own party, the two leading candidates aren't the sharpest tools in the tool shed. In fact, a recent poll has both major parties at just under 60% of their own members who don't want the current leaders to be on the ballot. And if you add in independents and undecideds, it's over 60% who want somebody else. As Casey Stengel used to say, you could look it up.
So rather than just shout my complaints from the top of Mt. Palomar, I have a solution. Now, it may not work for 2024, but in a constitutional republic, anything is possible if you add an amendment to the constitution. (It could happen!) And here is what I propose to add to every electoral ballot, from president on down to assistant to the assistant chief bottle washer. Every ballot must include:
None of the Above
I'm not talking about ranked voting, jungle primary or open primary, followed by a runoff election of the top two candidates. With those types of primaries, if you're in an area with one party domination, the first two candidates are almost always from the same party. So you get two of the same party trying to convince the voters they are more like their party than the other person, and hoping in the meantime that someone will unearth an email, text, social media post, or a classmate who will suddenly appear out of nowhere to announce that the opposing candidate...gasp!... cheated on a spelling test in the second grade.
I mean None of the Above.
In 2020, there were 10 presidential candidates on the California ballot, including Kanye West on the Birthday Party ticket. (You could look it up.) So if you added an 11th spot for None of the Above, here's what I think should happen. If None of the Above gets over 50% of the votes, all of the candidates are eliminated. Dumped. 86'd. See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya! Yup, even the Democrat and Republican candidates who just spent more than the combined GNP of the G7. They are all S.O.L. (Be careful if you look that up!)
Then each of the political parties have four weeks to add an alternative candidate onto the ballot and we vote all over again. Yeah, I know, the people voted in the primaries for who the candidates should be, yada yada yada. So how's that working out? How many times have you heard or even said to yourself, "I'm voting for the lesser of two evils, or I'm voting for the person who isn't an evil incarnate, insane, corrupt, greedy son of a good for nothing so and so ad infinitum."
I'm no political expert, but as an avid reader of the news that we're bombarded with 24/7 on every size screen imaginable and sometimes even in those relics of days gone by, newspapers and magazines, more times than not, we're too often left with candidates who wouldn't be hired to manage the local Chuck E. Cheese.
We can do better, America! I say, put None of the Above on the ballot until the parties put forth candidates that don't make us want to scrub our hands with leftover pandemic sanitizer after pulling the lever or filling in the circle. Who knows? Maybe the cigar-smoking back-room party leaders just might nominate somebody worth voting for. Keep in mind, before we had voter primaries in the early 1900's candidates were chosen by party leaders. And we wound up with presidents such as Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln. And they weren't too shabby. You could look it up!
(Steven Schindler's latest novel is "Fallout Shelter")