Popular Ideas In Presidential Elections

Being popular motivates us

Being popular is, well, a popular notion. Having a popular idea gives some validity to its being accepted. Popular ideas move society.

I tried that line of logic on my mother. It went something like this, “Mom, everyone else is doing it!” My “it’s popular” argument didn’t pass the high court of Mom. I probably hadn’t thought it through. It’s rather like how supporters of the National Popular Vote (NPV) compact haven’t thought it through.

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Popular ideas are often not readily accepted

It must be admitted, though, that society progresses on how well good ideas are accepted and applied. We don’t advance if we cling to how things always were or resist creative innovations that emerge among us.

But good ideas take time to be accepted. Initially, they may be rejected outright with the idea-maker taken to task for even entertaining such thoughts. Sometimes it seems crazy to accept an idea until it isn’t. In hindsight those ideas, now accepted and popular, seem obvious. They’re what we call common sense.

Here is a short list of such ideas:

  • The earth is not flat.
  • The earth moves around the sun.
  • Humans can create flying machines.
  • Germs spread disease.
  • Mobile phones are possible.

You get the idea. We learn from history; and, little by little, we live better lives because of what we accept. Some ideas become popular but it takes time.

Picking our way through popular policies and promises

Today we’re experiencing the beginning of what promises to be a long presidential campaign. A large Democratic cadre of candidates has already thrown their individual hats into the ring. Each one wants to be popular—that is accepted—and wants to win.

Are you ready to pick your way through all of the messaging and posturing and promises and accusations? It’s exhausting just to think of what’s yet to come!

We will hear many ideas proffered by the candidates, each with their subtle nuances and vision that promises a better tomorrow. Which will appeal to us and influence our votes? Which will become the most popular?

Ignore or pay attention

As I see it, we have two choices: First, we can close our eyes and ears to any and all of it. This may even include our not voting but, if we do, we can just vote numbly and randomly pick anyone. Maybe others will influence us to pick a candidate by gender, race, age, height, and so on.

The second choice is to pay attention to more than to what is popular. Will the offered policies help you and this country? Will the candidate inspire others to engage in our nation and its governance (to vote, for example?)? Will the candidate manage others well? Will the candidate respect and encourage innovation? Will the candidate be discerning and exercise critical thinking? Or will the presidential driving force simply be to go with what’s popular, devoid of vision or consequences?

We need new ideas to become popular

The nation is seeking change, as it often does. Much is at stake domestically and globally as we face challenges such as: climate change, migrations, economic inequalities, and medical and educational costs (just to scratch the surface). Tensions can be sensed everywhere, which demand intelligence and sensitivity so many are served, few are harmed, and our future is secure.

Expect to hear new ideas. Some have already emerged and, I suspect, there will be more to come. It will be intriguing to entertain new ways of thinking and to experience paradigm shifts. Some may not be popular, but I caution you not to dispel them because they’ve simply never been tried before. They may not be popular now, but their time may yet come to make a positive difference.

Lack of popularity does not prove lack of value

I have heard political pundits offer a growing popular perspective regarding our Electoral College. It goes something like this: “No other democratic country uses anything like it.” What is left unsaid is, “Therefore, we shouldn’t be using it either (it’s not popular). Something must be wrong.” I never hear follow-on discussions or arguments that prove an Electoral College weakness.

My reaction to such a thought is, “So? Who’s leading whom?” Because something is not popular does not mean (1) it’s a bad idea, or (2) it’s a bad idea for the United States.

The Electoral College is ingenious

If you’ve followed this blog space in the past you’re already aware that I’m a fan and supporter of the Electoral College, in spite of it’s not being currently popular. It’s an ingenious system that at once captures the sentiment of the popular voting on a state-by-state basis. And, in doing so, it also captures the sentiment of the individual and sovereign states participating in this grand Federalist Republic.

Sadly, we’re now following a popular notion that has lived with us for over 150 years. It’s the winner-takes-all notion that destroys the Electoral College benefit on a state-by-state basis. By this popular and uncritical acceptance, we throw away (suppress) around 46% of the votes cast in every presidential election. It’s a popular approach but people like you are waking up to the fact that it’s wrong. It’s wrong in terms of it being a fair system (it’s not) and it’s wrong in terms of how it fails our presidential elections.

Equal Voice Voting is gaining popular attention

Equal Voice Voting removes the winner-takes-all problem and replaces it with a state-by-state proportional allocation of the popular votes. (Click here to see the Equal Voice Voting formula.) Though it is not yet a popular idea, Equal Voice Voting is gaining attention as it makes every vote count and every state matter. Let’s make it a popular and accepted idea. Let’s make it common sense.

Click here to check out other Equal Voice Voting Blogs!

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