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  • Bill Chastain

TOYS AND GAMES: Presidential Playoffs

Time for reform. Presidential races must go to a playoff system.

Think about it, wouldn’t it be peachy if presidential candidates settled their battle for the top spot toe-to-toe, mano a mano, in a competitive setting instead of in the polls?Presidential symbol

Thus, why not institute a presidential playoff system like that of the NCAA college basketball tournament? Sixty-four presidential candidates (we’ll omit the play-in candidates) trying to advance toward the big prize – the White House. “March Madness” step aside for “November Nuttiness.”

American citizens would serve as the selection committee, voting on the candidates like they do for “Dancing with the Stars.” Sometime around the middle of August, there would be considerable hype for the pairings show, hosted by Clark Kellogg and Jim Nance.

Kellogg: “Let’s go to the Southeast Regional first.”

Nance: “And it looks like the pairing committee indeed has a sense of humor.”

Kellogg: “Yes [chuckle] it does. No. 1 seed Hillary Clinton is wading into trouble against No. 16 seed Rand Paul at the Rupp Arena Thursday night. You can see it right here on CBS at 8.”

Switching over to ESPN, Dick Vitale would offer his expert analysis.

Vitale: “The top seeds Clinton, Bush, Carson and Trump all have difficult paths, but Trump looks like he’s found a hornets’ nest. He should easily get by No. 16 seed Martin O’Malley. But then he must meet Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator is not the matchup the celebrated business mogul wants to see. Sanders is a PTPer. This could be an upset special. Donnie T., you’re fired, baby!

The criteria for settling the matchups? Random games. Lawn darts, arm wrestling, Wiffle Ball, gin rummy, you name it. Doesn’t really matter because at the end of the there would be tangible results from said contests. A win or a loss. Not “the GNP will grow by X amount if Candidate A wins.” Or “the misery index is 15.2 with Candidate B.” Instead the American people would understand the outcome.

Because every candidate who wears the tag for either party carries that party’s agenda in total, free thinking and reaching across the aisle have become obsolete practices. Thus, candidates for both parties are as interchangeable as flashlight batteries, they’re just packaged differently.

Once a candidate found a place in the tournament, the phrase “politically correct” would hold no significance, either. Candidates simply could say what was on their mind. Under this system, Bill Clinton could have said: “Sure I inhaled, even listened to Jimi Hendrix. Do you know when I played “Purple Haze’ backward it said I’d be president?”

Indiscretions would become irrelevant, too. The only matter of any importance would be what happened in the arena of competition. Even Gary Hart would have a chance under these guidelines.

Unfortunately, as with any great plan, there are possible shortcomings to this playoff system. Like the year the championship comes down to a golf game between the No. 16 seed from Indiana — who has decided to get back into the political arena after some time off — against Joe Biden.

America, meet your new president, Dan Quayle.

Alas, as Danno once noted: “If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.”

bchastain19@gmail.com

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©2020 by Bill Chastain. Photo credits: Jill Doty Photography