The people I cheer for on reality TV never win. It all began when Richard, the self-described “fat, naked, gay guy” on the first Survivor won the million. Then,  Dat Phan was crowned as the first, and I quote, “Funniest Person In America” on Last Comic Standing. Dat who? Exactly! I have funnier relatives (some are even allowed to go out in public unattended).

At least it got me thinking that perhaps presidential elections should be staged as the ultimate reality series: The Amazing Political Race Who Wants to Marry a Politician Conservative Eye for the Liberal Guy Survivor: The Electoral College.

[Overproduced theme music]

“Live from the nation’s capital, ‘The Amazing Dog Eat Dog Last Candidate Standing.’ 52 weeks! 52 candidates!. But tonight, just ONE President elect of the United States.”

Yep, let’s put all the candidates for President in that Big Brother house in Hollywood—and then lock and bolt the doors until the first Tuesday in November. I think there would be some real advantages to elections as reality TV.

1. We’d only have to listen to their political pontifications one night a week! (A show of hands, please. How many of you have had enough politicking for four years? I’m ready to move to “Exile Island” and survive on Madagascar hissing cockroaches.)

2. Candidates would have to successfully perform tasks to stay in the running: balancing a check book, finding a job for a homeless tech stock trader, and negotiating a win-win settlement in a messy divorce case. If they can’t perform these tasks, what business do they have with the Federal budget, the job market, and keeping Iran from nuking Israel.

3. Candidates, of course, would have to answer the requisite trivia questions:

What is the capital of Liberia?

Saddam Hussein loyalists belonged to what political party: a) Bath, b) Shower, c) Dry Clean Only.

True/False: Latin Americans speak Latin

The best way to stimulate the economy is a) tax cuts, b) less government restrictions, c) amphetamines

Your stand on homosexual marriage is a) I’m for it, b) I’m against it, c) I can go either way (wink)

4. Immunity challenges! After living off the government payroll and enjoying political perks, maybe a dose of The Real World would be the best thing for Presidential candidates. Let’s see them live on off-brand macaroni and cheese with generic hot dogs. Which of them can survive the longest while eating stale pretzels sitting in coach section of a plane. How ’bout giving them each a $1,000 Social Security check and make them find decent housing, medical insurance, and an affordable long distance plan. The possibilities are endless!

5. Tribal council! This weekly vote would whittle the number down to one Republican, one Democrat, and one independent “wildcard.” Those who can “out wit, out play, and out last” would go on to the two-hour finale on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Voters at home log-in on their computers and cast their ballots without those annoying “hanging chads” and Supreme Court rulings.

Then again, the people I want to win reality shows never do win which just goes to prove:

1. TV reality shows are not really “reality.”

2. Contestants are conniving attention-deprived ego-maniacs who will do anything for the fame and fortune.

3. Some computer geek somewhere has figured out a way to vote three million times.

Okay, maybe The Last Candidate Standing isn’t the best suggestion for election reform, but Dat Phan is welcomed to take my column. Please.

© Copyright 2004, 2008 James N. Watkins

Related post: WWJE? Who Would Jesus Elect?

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