As the first Democrat’s are announcing their candidacy for the 2020 presidential elections in the United States, the country as well as the rest of the world is bracing for quite a show.
Certainly, U.S. presidential elections (and politics in general for that matter) have always featured polarised characters. It seems though, at least from the other side of the Atlantic, that Donald J. Trump’s presidency has brought this to a whole new level.
It thus makes the keen observer wonder, when did the debates about a nation — and the case of the United States, debates about the fate of the world — become prime time entertainment?
Similar points can be made for Ukraine and Turkey, who feature a presidential and municipal election this weekend.
The guy leading the polls in Ukraine is a comedian. His campaign basically consisted of a well-timed reality show featuring him — you guessed it — becoming president!
So in light of the upcoming voting season in many part of the world, here is a proposal to Americans, Ukrainians or Turks from a humble Swiss observer:
Do blind elections.
Hear me out…
Agreed, we don’t have blind elections in Switzerland. In theory, we still know what candidates are competing for office.
In practice, however, ever since the demise of the centre-right populist Christoph Blocher a couple of years ago, the average Swiss citizen is not quite sure, who exactly is in the seven-headed team that runs the country.
Because they are doing their jobs. Just their jobs. They are executing the policies of our parliament (hence its called the Executive)
And this, for the average citizen, is quite uneventful.
Nobody cares if our ministers go golfing every weekend, what cars they drive, which e-mail accounts they use, whether their wives or husbands have been unfaithful in the past, or how hot their daughters are.
Remember the guy from above? Christoph Blocher, for better or worse, was the single most notable Swiss public figure since Henri Guisan became head of the Swiss Army during World War II.
Blocher’s most notable moment? Someone threw a yogurt at him…
(Don’t believe me? Check it out here)
Thats it. No impeachment, no FBI investigation, no government shutdown, no public scandal. Just a youtube video featuring a yogurt on a new suit.
Other than that, our politicians are boring. And they should be. It means they are sticking to their jobs.
If they make mistakes — and all people do — let the judiciary check whether the mistake merits a removal from office. There is no need for a public trial by combat.
So to my friends around, who are so invested into the reality show-like politics of their country:
Try a blind election!
No names, no faces, no voices. Just defining each candidate by what polices he or she stands for. And then let the people choose based on their interests, not based on their perception of the candidate’s charisma.
You can still have your yard billboards and TV debates. Just blur the faces and alter the voices.
Tell your politicians, what general direction you would want the country to go and then let them do their boring jobs. If you like the result, re-elect them, if not, try a new guy.
But don’t stick to a candidate because he or she is your gender, your skin colour, or wears your favourite kind of baseball hat.
Give it a try. If you don’t like it, you can always have your show back for the next round.