I caught a little bit of our Governor Schwarzeneggar on NPR this morning, talking about climate change and his goal of making California a world leader in rolling back carbon emissions. It got me wondering about a few things. Warning: rambling ahead.
People hate this guy. At least many of the liberal/lefties that I run with. But it’s mostly based on a dumb joke – the inarticulate Terminator is our leader. Quelle horreur! Never mind that 1) Republicans and conservatives are not going to vanish anytime soon. Liberals need to accept that and figure out a way to live with it and; 2) If you stacked up all the major Republicans by how close or far they are from liberal policies, Schwarzeneggar is practically a Democrat.
I guess this is the legacy of celebrity politics, where people vote on their personal likes or dislikes of a candidate’s personality and how they make us feel. How else could our current Incompetent-In-Chief get where he is? Why else do people nurse irrational hatreds of Arnold or Hillary – or even think its appropriate to call them by their first names. Politicians, supposedly, are hired to advance policies. Yet too often, they are treated like movie stars, with fixed stories assigned to them. Once that story sticks, it’s almost impossible to change them.
I changed the radio station to XM’s Baseball channel, where they were airing their Fantasy Focus show, and the two ideas collided in my head: What if politics were like fantasy baseball?
In fantasy baseball, an owner evaluates all of the potential players, and fields a team which balances who they think the best way towards victory would be. Players have talents that are relatively fixed – high averages, low stolen bases, propensity to strike out. And you never see a baseball player change their game to make fantasy owners happier.
What if our politicians ran on their – shocker – policy ideas? Voters could fill out a roster of representatives based on their policy positions. If you care the most about environmental policies, you add more of those people to your roster. Hawkish on defense – choose those folks. Aggregate the totals across the whole voting population, and the ones who get the most roster spots get into office. Every so often, voters get to add or drop people from their rosters. When a certain threshold is reached, politicians lose their spot, and get replaced by new people, who have a chance to try their policies out. If you have a roster of, say, 25 people, you get to apportion them according to which issues you feel are the most important. Choose 10 for environment, 2 for tax reform, 5 for defense spending, and 1 each for your other, lesser issues.
Not to mention, it might make each voter/owner more involved in their own government, needing to weigh several choices instead of just yes/no/who’s got the more expensive advertising.
This idea just popped in my head, and i’ve only scratched the surface of what it would look like. If you were designing a system like this, how would you put it together?