By Carole on Dec 9, 2011
After only two of the GOP presidential contenders agreed to participate, business mogul Donald Trump is considering canceling the debate he planned to moderate. Reasons given by the no-show candidates range from the polite (Texas Governor Rick Perry cited scheduling conflicts) to the insulting (former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman called the event "show business over substance"). But regardless of why the event seems to have fizzled, there's a project that could make better use of Mr. Trump's time and talents. Call it The Political Apprentice.
For those unfamiliar with The Apprentice programs, a group of people with various levels of business skills and experience compete in a series of business related tasks in an attempt to win a job with the Trump organization. After each task is completed, one contestant is eliminated from the competition when Mr. Trump famously declares, "You're fired." The star-studded version of the show, The Celebrity Apprentice, features famous contestants who, instead of competing for a job, compete for donations to their favorite charity.
In The Political Apprentice, I propose a group of contestants made up of teams of supporters of each of the candidates. Let the show's producers select them in the same way all reality shows do - hold auditions to find the most interesting/entertaining/conflict-encouraging contestants but add the safeguard that each contestant must be approved by the campaign of the candidate they support.
Once selected, the contestants would be put in situations where they would have to explain and defend the records, policies and positions of their candidate. And the field should not be limited to supporters of Republicans. Supporters of President Barack Obama and any independent or third-party candidates who officially enter the race should be included too. Now we've got us a show!
Instead of a two hour debate consisting of 60 or even 30 second micro-answers, there would be 12 weekly episodes with tasks that include holding a fundraiser, producing a positive campaign ad, producing a negative ad opposing another candidate, etc. Throw in some town hall style meetings, a crisis management challenge and campaign event planning that targets a specific voting block. The last task would give the finalists an opportunity to convince a room full of undecided voters to pick their guy (or gal) in a mock election.
Of course the candidate supported by the winner of The Political Apprentice wouldn't get a tangible prize but they might get a few more points in the polls. And the viewers would definitely learn a thing or two about all of the candidates, those who support them and American politics.
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