Two Ideas From Jesse Ventura on Improving Our Political System

I knew Jesse Ventura vaguely as a “pro” wrestler and less vaguely as an actor who played alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator. So when he ran for governor of Minnesota, without bother to learn anything more about him, I just assumed him to be no more than a gimmick candidate who didn’t really stand for anything, but was damn good at riding talking points and the power of his name.

A couple of days ago, I saw this talk of his at Google and was pleasantly surprised:

The man is principled and reasonable. It’s not easy to put a label on him. He seems to basically be a libertarian, but he is a big supporter of investing in infrastructure. The big thing he wants to cut is defense spending. Like most good libertarians, he is a bit quirky, borderline mad, and totally out of fashion with the way mainstream politics works. But he is full of good ideas, and seems to be incapable of lying which in the very least makes him an interesting speaker and writer.

In the talk he briefly proposed two simple (arguably small) ideas for reforming elections:

  1. Don’t show party affiliation on the ballot.
  2. Add “none of the above” as an option.

The first idea he feels will encourage people to learn about the actually candidates and the details of their positions instead of just voting all Democrat or all Republican. It’s an interesting idea but my cynical side assumes that voters will not do any more research and will either not vote or vote based on something meaningless like the sound of the candidate’s name.

The second idea is interesting as well. It gives the voter a way to voice a disapproval of the system in general, and makes the reason of “I don’t like any of them” a less valid excuse for not voting.

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