I have a very low tolerance for hypocrisy in politics, which makes it very difficult to listen to any single politician for more than about five minutes – or decide who to vote for. I’ve written about how difficult it is to choose a candidate before. Smartvoter.org is a good place to start, but their advice for how to choose a candidate goes on for five pages. It feels too much like homework.
On principle, I distrust politicians’ declared positions on issues. I’m pretty sure Hollywood is running our election campaigns anyway. Candidate X is a fictional character who has all objectionable character traits safely tucked away and shiny, new traits slotted in. Politicians who aren’t great actors can’t carry it off, but there should definitely be a category at the Oscars for Best Politician in a Dramatic Campaign.
I can’t trust voting records until we have line-item vetoes or bills that are no more than 500 words long, but this is a topic for another day. Every bill coming out of Congress is a ham-stuffed porkchop rolled in bacon. I have no idea what the politician voted for or against without reading the fine print and who has time for that?
Since we voters seem set on sending to Congress people who we’d like to have a beer with (or wine if you’re a Democrat), I propose a chemistry test alá match.com. Each candidate takes the test before running for office. The test would be taken under oath and the answers publicly released. I could then take the test and find my political match. We could call it http://www.poli-jibe.com or something equally silly.
There are other surveys out there, but let’s keep it simple. No asking me if I support abortion or not, the answer is complicated. Ask me simple “yes” or “no” questions about things I actually do. Questions like:
Do you own a gun?
No hemming or hawing about this one. There’s no spinning the answer. Either you do or don’t.
Now the answer to this question alone doesn’t guarantee that the person owning a gun is someone you want to socialize with or who agrees with you. This person might very well vote against gun control (see my position on gun control), but it does tell you one concrete thing about the candidate. I’ve created a mock-up of the type of test I have in mind:
My answers are listed alongside a stereotypical Republican and Democrat. Questions 7 and 10 are trick questions, so watch out! Republican candidates might lie on one and Democrats on the other.
I’m a 90% Democratic match and only a 10% Republican match. My dad would probably be 70% Republican match and only a 30% Democratic match (I’ve long suspected he’s really a Libertarian). People are complicated so perfect matches would be rare.
There are bound to be some surprises. Someone finding out they’re really a Democrat when they thought they were a Republican. The GOP will probably put together weekend workshops to cure these people of their Democratuality using aversion therapy or something (or take them to a gun store – or raise the minimum wage – wait that would be the Democrats).
The income question should be particularly revealing. Congress is populated by some very rich people – not like me at all. So your congressman might not drink Coors Lite.
Now, I’m just waiting for some test company to offer me a $500K to develop this test.
I’m Jae and I am 62% compatible with this message.