What if there was a way to bypass the dead-end party primary system, and put forward respected voices, under a banner of reason and unity, directly by the people. This solution is not hard to imagine as many of the biggest shows on TV are based around the “America votes” concept. Imagine an American Idol/Apprentice/Survivor type show called “The Independent”. The 2023 program season would begin with independent minded contestants, from a virety of political views, who have already earned the respect and popularity of America. Personalities like Mike Rowe, Chuck Norris, Oliver Stone, Sherif Richard Mac, Tom Woods, Naomi Wolf, Tom Morello, John Stossel, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Dr. Cornel West, Joe Rogan, and Rick Steves, in order to win America's vote. Of course, there will need to be a host, and who better than Penn Jillette?
Each week, these contestants (divided into left/right teams) would participate in group tasks in a variety of situations (Wall St, Soup Kitchen, Boot Camp, Farms, etc.). These activities would give the audience a foundational understanding of real world issues and an opportunity to hear the different perspectives and proposed solutions of the contestants. The tasks would become more exotic as the season progresses; with some taking place in foreign nations. The audience is able to see the contestants in entertaining and dramatic ways, establishing an emotional connection that not even the most well funded political campaign could ever deliver.
America votes each week (via text, phone, or website) for their favorite contestant. The person with the lowest number of votes is eliminated. Since the American audience has a left/right demographic the last two contestants would be politically polarized independents. At the end of the season the winner and the runner up will have to agree on a platform (these platform discussions would be amazing episodes). These winners would then be placed on the ballot in all 50 states as “The Independent” ticket for President and VP. Through social networking and because of the interactive nature of the show, grassroots organizations will already be established in each state and would have fulfilled the legal requirements for ballot access.
A common theme throughout the show would be that the two party system is broken, and offers no real choices. This would put the establishment parties on the defensive and force the mainstream candidates to engage in meaningful debate. Whether the Independent actually wins the general election is of less importance than the effect that would be made from 20+ weeks of intelligent, non-rhetorical ideas (whether they be progressive or libertarian) being pumped into the minds of the general population. It would force the voters to actually think about what they are listening to and form their own opinions. The show would drive the political dialogue like nothing ever has before. The time is perfect for "The Independent".
Suggested Episode List
1. Independant HQ "The Deck is Stacked" - Guests: Ralph Nader/Ross Perot
2. Washington D.C. "The Belly of the Beast" - Guests: Ron Paul/Dennis Kucinich
3. Wall St. "More Than Business" - Guests: Paul Krugman/Robert Murphy
4. Texas/Mexico "Bleeding at the Border" (immigration, drug war, trade) - Guests: Gary Johnson/Mexican Official
5. New Mexico/ "Militarized Police State" - Guests: Will Grigg/Radley Balko
6. Arizona/L.A. "Guns, Guns, Guns" - Guests: Ice-T/Gabby Giffords
7. L.A. "Business Exodus" (regulations, taxes)
8. Nevada (Federal lands/Environment/Green energy)
9. Utah (NSA Spying) - Guests: Connor Boyack/Edward Snowden
10. Idaho/Washington (Cannabis legalization) - Guests: Rick Steves/Will Grigg
11. Idaho/Washington (Farms, Food, Monsanto)
12. Alaska/N.Dakota (Oil,Fracking and the Environment) Guests: Palin/Greenpeace
13. Hong Kong/S. Korea (international trade)
14. Moscow (Diplomacy)
15. Israel/Palistine (Aid, sanctions, middle east, arab spring)
16. Final contestants Flashback
17. Winners announced - platform debate begins
18. Grassroots and Ballot Access
19. U.S. Tour
20. U.S. Tour
21. U.S. Tour
22. U.S. Tour
23. Finally (contestant reunion)