Let’s Make the Election More Like a Reality Show

Reality TV Election

Last week, I had absolutely no interest in watching the presidential candidates debate. I’m not one of those mythical “undecided voters” that you hear so much about. (Seriously, who are these people who haven’t made up their minds yet? I’ve never met one. They’re like the millions who actually watch Two and a Half Men.) Rather, I know the issues I care about and how each candidate stands on them, so I don’t need to listen to them blather on for hours. It seems so boring and I have already made up my mind.

But you know what’s not boring? Reality TV! And the election is sort of like a great reality show, where there are contestants, the audience voting for an eventual winner, and all of those judges in the press. Like one of the lamer seasons of The Real World, the casting got all messed up (Sarah Palin, I never thought I’d miss you so!) and the election has been especially boring. Why don’t we steal some tricks from the reality TV handbook to jazz things up a little?

Challenges: Everything from Survivor to RuPaul’s Drag Race has challenges where the winner gets some sort of advantage. Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are pretty physically active, maybe we can have them run an obstacle course, like American Ninja Warrior or solve some sort of crazy puzzle. Why not both? Give the winner all the electoral votes from a state like New Hampshire or Iowa. That’s what they get for holding their primaries first, they get their election decided like this.

Bring Back Old Cast Members: This is a trick that Big Brother relies on year after year, letting old contestants back in the game for another shot at winning the big prize. We already had Bill Clinton giving a rousing speech at the convention, but what if he was actually in the race? Where has Ross Perot been? Or Ralph Nader? Don’t you think they deserve a slot just to keep things interesting? We like seeing people we recognize other than the guy who’s already in office.

Celebrity Mentors: What would The Voice be without all those celebrities teaching people how to sing? It would just be a bunch of spinning Barcaloungers, that’s what. Let’s get some celebrities to tell these guys what to do. Obama can get his good friend Oprah Winfrey and Romney can get, I don’t know, a famous Mormon like Marie Osmond. I bet Kelsey Grammer would be there for him. Or maybe we can get the actors who played fictional presidents like Martin Sheen from The West Wing and Cherry Jones from 24. I don’t know what they would say, but famous people make everything better.

Have Them Work with Other Contestants: The best part about every season of The Apprentice (either celebrity flavored or original recipe) was the final challenge where the two competing for the big prize had to use all the people they had defeated to get there as lieutenants. Half the time the losers would be all lazy or try to sabotage things and it would be awesome. So Romney would be saddled with Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and all the other wonderful Republican nominees. Obama would joust with Hillary Clinton and that rapscallion John Edwards. Now that would be a show no one could stop watching.

Change the Judges: All we talk about these days is who is going to be on the judging panel for American Idol or The X Factor. Maybe we should get some squabbling political judges to host these here debates. Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly got tons of press for their recent debate, why not let them duke it out on national television? Same thing goes with Bill Maher and Ann Coulter, who debated publicly several years ago. Why get one person who is impartial when you can get two really partial people to balance each other out and squabble the whole time? It’s working for Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj.

Bring Out the VPs: The best part of The Amazing Race is that everyone is saddled with someone who can improve their standing, bring them down a notch, horrendously embarrass them, or ruin the race altogether. In politics, this person is known as the Vice Presidential candidate. Look at what Sarah Palin did for John McCain. It was genius. I think that Joe Biden and that guy who looks like Nathan Scott should be a lot more involved. Let’s really get them front and center so that the pairs’ destinies are really linked. I think that is just good TV.

Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan


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