So much precious TV
time is being devoted to the upcoming Presidential elections. Why?
I already know which guy I’m voting for. Let’s call him “My Guy.”
But here’s the thing: On Election Day, in addition to voting for a President, there are going to be a lot of people I have to choose for other races on the same ballot. Congressional, State and local elections will slow me down as I try to get the hell out of my cramped and crowded polling place. I want to take the time to do my civic duty, but let’s face it, democracy needs a breath mint.
Turns out making these choices is way harder than voting for The Voice. I barely pay attention to the nominees for President, so do you think I have any idea who is running for the House of Representatives? (That’s still a thing, right?)
The responsible move is for me to not vote for any candidates I don’t know. Which would mean voting for the President and leaving. Part of me would like that. In fact, for voters like myself at the polling place, we could have an express lane voting: One and done. But only voting for the President would make me feel like a quitter. Hey, I didn’t wait in line for thirty minutes in a sweaty gymnasium to give myself an incomplete.
If I had an overview of where the state and local candidates stood on political and social issues, I’d have a better understanding of who I should vote for. But understanding how so many candidates align with so many questions is too complicated and time consuming. Do you know how busy I am? I have five episodes of Revolution on my TiVo, and they’re not going to watch themselves!
Since I don’t do any research, I just vote for candidates in the same party as My Presidential Guy. That’s not voting, that’s just drafting a farm team.
I want someone to tell me who to vote for. More precisely, I want me to tell me who to vote for.
So, what’s the Rich Fix?
I need a website that quickly matches me to the right politicians. A dating site for elections. A site that asked me twenty quick questions on a sliding scale of importance, and then matched me to my ideal candidate.
Luckily for me and for millions of Americans like me, a website like this already exists.
In March of this year, two Los Angeles friends, Marketing Consultant Taylor Peck and Programmer Nick Boutelier, created isidewith.com, a site to do exactly what I envision. On their site, visitors take a quick quiz, answering 24 questions (you can choose to do more, up to 40 questions), giving your opinion on issues concerning The Economy, Domestic Policy, Foreign Policy, The Environment, Healthcare, Social, Science, and Immigration. For each answer you can weight your response, anywhere from “Least Important” to “Most Important” to you. Then isidewith.com will show you how closely each of the Presidential candidates align (or don’t align) with your responses. It’s a great snapshot of which you most closely agree with, in addition to a lot of supporting specifics, if you’re interested in the detail. As isidewith.com says on their site:
Our goal is to save users time by providing an accurate and updated breakdown of which candidates they side with on the issues. We aim to educate voters and to boost voter turnout this election season … We are not affiliated with any investors, shareholders, advertisers, political party or interest group.
If you know of any undecided voters left in this election, send them this link. It’s a quick way to make an informed decision. Informed - How novel!
Right now the scope of the website is limited to the Presidential nominees and some select Senate races, but the proof of concept works great. I hope this site builds a following (and donations) to allow them to scale up to a lot more of the political races. I’d love to see this site expand to Congressional, State and even local elections. Another RichFix would become reality (with me taking credit for its success as it happens). I’d be able to cast informed votes in all of the political races. Since isidewith.com can’t help me with state and local elections this year, I’m just going to vote for the candidates that have made the least number of robo-calls to my home.