No matter which ghoulish tribe of political vampires you’ve chosen to align yourself to this year, you’ve no doubt observed an all time high level of fuckery from all sides. I won’t bother to list the absurdities of everyone’s least favorite grandmother and her opponent, Orange Julius Caesar, simply because I don’t want to become even more sullen.
Honestly, I don’t think this crap is really any different than what’s been going on forever. People in power want to stay there, so they load the dice and cheat their way to self enriching positions in public service.
No one on Earth likes politicians. Everything about them is terrible and we are going to be left with even worse choices in the future because no one with talent or decency will ever want to put themselves before partisan lynch mobs. Any one with a will to do good works will likely do them in their own communities, away from the fear of media immolation. What we’ll be left with are ever worsening corporate stooges bullshitting their way to the top.
These campaigns get enormously expensive, which is what I think is at the root of all this dreariness. The more money it takes to run a campaign, the more indebted the candidate will be to special interests. This needs to stop, but it seems like no one is ready to stop it.
I have an answer, and it comes from the world of auto-racing.
24 Hours of LeMons is a car race for people with anarchic spirits and tight budgets. The rules are fairly basic: race any car you want as long as it costs under $500. There are a whole host of exceptions to that dollar amount made, mostly for safety reasons, but the idea is you and your friends should bring a fucked up car that didn’t cost much and run it until it blows up.
I know a bunch of people who do this race in various parts of the country and they all confirm that cheating is part of the fun of LeMons. Sure, it’s supposed to be about driver skill and mechanical ingenuity, but it’s still racing, so people want to win. This means they do all kinds of shit like drop new crate motors into old cars, “damage” the exterior of pretty good cars, hire genius mechanics to “fix” busted parts, and a whole bunch of other shit.
The cheating is expected (just like in our Democracy). However, exceptionally flagrant cheats are looked down upon as buzzkills.
In the earlier days of the race there was something called “The People’s Curse.” If someone’s car was judged to be too good for the $500 amount or the racers were just aggressive tools, the racers could vote to destroy the car, often with the use of heavy machinery. What this did was force people to actually obey the rules, or at least do a damned good job of concealing their shenanigans.
If you want to learn more about LeMons’ People’s Curse, here is a pretty good article about it. It explains some of the issues with applying the curse fairly and how the organization bestows the curse now. The whole point of the thing is to keep the racers honest and entertain the fans.
So here’s my pitch for the applying The People’s Curse to our elections.
I don’t know how it would be enforced or anything, but what I’d like to see happen is that when a campaign is deemed too damaging to the psych of the American people, all of its funds should be seized and given to charity. This could be applied once per election cycle. The candidate can go on, but without any funds and they would not be allowed to raise any more money. This prevents double dipping.
In this cycle, you could imagine it going to Clinton or Trump, but you never know. Some douchebag running for senate could be the victim of the curse.
Now look, this isn’t worked all the way out and I’m pretty sure it’s flawed, but I know we as a people like to see the mighty fall and we should have some mechanism to punish these unholy despots.