Politics is terrible. I don’t care how big of an idealistic West Wing fan you might be, there is no escaping the fact that politicians frequently let down their constituents, either through their own fault or the system’s. Every election season it appears that the choices become worse and worse. Entrenched incumbents are often anchored down due to years of selling out to special interests, embarrassing personal scandals or outright corruption. Shiny newcomers promise change and hope, but once elected, quickly become jaded and ineffectual. It is because of this increasing lack of good options on your ballot that advocates are calling for a “None of the Above” slot to be inserted on every voting card.
An interesting column by City and State editor Morghan Pehme proposes the idea of inserting a “None of the Above” (NOTA) option rather than reluctantly settling for the lesser of two evils. City and State explained how the system works:
If NOTA garners a plurality of the vote in a given race, then that contest should be rerun, with all of the candidates originally in the field disqualified from again seeking that office. This process would be repeated as many times as necessary, until the electorate settled on a candidate whom it liked better than nobody.
Sounds like a good idea. The system empowers voters to reject “politics as usual” and scares politicians into brushing off usual voter cynicism, because now, the cynics can win:
NOTA is a simple mechanism that should be embraced by concerned citizens on both sides of the aisle—it is just as valuable for Tea Party members to embrace as hardcore progressives—for it provides the people with a way to oust do-nothing incumbents, punish toxically negative campaigning and, above all, demand more from our government in the voting booth.
To me, this option is a way better alternative than just staying home and not voting, or voting for the fringe third-party candidate. It gives a chance for those fed up with the state of our democracy to participate in a satisfyingly snarky fashion. What do you say, people?