The US President Should be Selected by Random Ballot Every Third Election
In our increasingly polarised world, people only agree on two things. First, politics is broken. Second,
it’s the other side’s fault.
We need a circuit-breaker. That’s why, one electoral cycle out of every three, we should select the
US President from random ballot. Any American over 21 would be eligible.
Imagine the sense of occasion when the Speaker of the House – or, better yet, a celebrity host
(Oprah?) - pulls a random citizen’s name out of a hat live on television. (Admittedly, it would need to
be a rather large hat. Those details can be worked through. Might need a computer or something.)
Think of the theatre, both then, and as we learn more about the Commander in Chief. Under the
current system (or, as historians will soon call it, the ‘boring’ system), by the time a candidate is
elected, we know everything about them. It’s much more fun to learn about the President while
they are on the job. “Well Brian, yes. President Gonzalez used to play bass in a late-90s Smashing
Pumpkins cover band called One Gish, Two Gish, so her economic announcement today is not all
Best of all though, for one blessed cycle, there’s no campaign. No stump speeches, no rallies, no
pretending you’ve always felt at home at the Iowa state fair. Without the need for fundraising, all
those billionaires can put their money into more productive use in an appropriate offshore tax
haven. And the lawns of America will be mercifully free of red and blue yard signs, just the odd
“Whoever it is, I hope they’re good” sign here and there for the real patriots.
I hear the newsrooms of America ask, sweating nervously, “but what if we end up with a horrible
President?” Well, come on now. Horribleness is in the eye of the beholder. In the immortal words of
someone about to live the rest of their life with stinging regret ‘how bad can it really be?’.
Plus, people might concentrate on civics a bit more on the off chance that they could be roped into
executive leadership every 12 years.
Now, to be clear. It’s a normal election two out of three times. This means you can still have a two-
term President; it won’t affect historical rankings. And the people who love - and/or love to profit
from – campaigns can still get involved those other times. We all just to get to take one cycle off
every now and then.
I say we do this in 2024. No more agonising over who the nominees will be. We all just relax and set
a calendar alert for that one Tuesday in November, when Oprah reads a name out on TV. Then we
can all start furiously going through their social media profile to see what sort of individual has just
become leader of the free world.
If you are feeling generous, consider donating to the Salvation Army, the author’s charity of choice.
*For each moot, we generate a cover image using DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, 'The US President Should be Selected by Random Ballot Every Third Election' in the style of Andy Warhol, the author's artist of choice.*
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