Brace yourselves, America, because it’s about to get real wasteful up in here.
That’s right, election season is finally upon us! There’s no shortage of takers for what is the most stressful, age quickening, and debatably worst job available to any citizen of our great country: President of the United States of America.
Make no mistake about what it takes to get hired for this gig. Each and every applicant must manufacture expansive and expensive marketing campaigns that are reaching eye popping numbers. Serious contenders are expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars, and what’s required for legitimate contenders is getting bigger with each election.
For the 2012 presidential election, the New York Times estimated that President Barack Obama, Governor Mitt Romney, the Democratic and Republican parties, and their two primary Super PACs spent just under two billion dollars campaigning. That total doesn’t account for all the other contenders who raised money, and all the other Super PACs who collected huge sums of money from very wealthy donors. Two billion dollars for two people.
Presidential campaigns are officially the worst and most wasteful marketing campaigns ever
Seriously think about it.
So much money and so much labor to drive people to the polls to cast a ballot one way or the other, and it only resulted in 58% of the marketplace responding in our most recent election.
A full 42% of the marketplace said, “No, thanks.”
Imagine for a moment that not voting were the equivalent to a vote of “No President.” Based on the majority votes of the 2012 election, the United States of America would not have an elected leader. We just wouldn’t have a president.
People are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the process, and they’re tuning out all the meaningless sound bites.
Keep in mind the old adage that “time is money.” When we talk about these huge figures, we leave out the human cost of it all. For well over a year, our public servants write checks to be cashed at a later date — it’s all about what things might look like if he or she were to be elected. Or, perhaps worse, what things would be like if the other person were to be elected.
What about now?
My time is valuable, and any amount of time I spend talking to a cold caller about a candidate takes away from time that I might otherwise do something productive and more worth my time. So, too, do advertisements tearing down other candidates. When I hear about presidential candidates campaigning for a job, it means that they aren’t doing a job right now. They’re not out working to make America a better place today. To make matters worse, they’re spending more money each election cycle with promises of what a great job they’ll do.
Is it any wonder that people aren’t satisfied with our leaders?
These promissory notes they issue are staked in the bitter, divisive ad campaigns that leave the candidates battered in the eye of public opinion. The “winner” of the election has the other half of the participating electorate feeling uneasy and distrustful of the person who has just been appointed to unite and lead our country for four years. This job starts out on a pretty sour note.
Has anyone ever actually gotten a job by making personal attacks against the other candidates during the interview process? It seems to me that employers would be extremely wary to hire someone who behaves in such a manner. Job interviews should be about promoting skill sets, accomplishments, and all the reasons why you’re the right fit for the job.
It’s clear that these politicians are incredible at getting organizations and wealthy donors to give money to their campaigns, even the little guys who can barely afford to donate, but what’s unclear is how it’s been benefitting the American people.
It’s time that we demand more from them, and that we make the process benefit us in concrete ways.
So go ahead and continue to raise all the money that you do, Politicians. This time, prove what good things you can do with all that money and power that comes with the Election Cycle.
Let’s say that Candidate A and Candidate B each raise one billion dollars. What I’d like to see is them take a majority of that money and use it to make America better in some way.
Maybe Candidate A wants to prove how much s/he cares about jump starting the American economy, so s/he enacts and executes a plan to repair failing bridges at key points across our great nation. Raise the money, network with the appropriate elected leaders, get American labor on the job, and then fix our ailing infrastructure. That’s something real that we can use in America. Put that on your resume, and tell the American people about what you did, why you did it, and how you will continue to build upon successes like these when elected president.
Candidate B might want to showcase how adept his or her foreign policy chops may be, so s/he devises and executes some brilliant literacy program for the people of developing nations. S/he raises the money, networks with leaders of foreign governments, and performs outreach to people in another part of the world to show that America does care about people for reasons outside of resources we want to take. He or she will be able to speak to an ability to make a tangible difference in the world leading up to this election.
There are so many different ways that a candidate may choose to prove how he or she is capable of leading our nation into the future. For so long, candidates have spouted ambiguous plans that don’t specifically address how to make America and the world a better place. They talk and spend, and when someone captures the requisite number of electoral votes, we are left with a divided nation.
It’s time that we got something for our time and our money, and we make the process work in our favor.