A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

April 22, 2007

Democracy, French Style

I confess, I heard about this topictl on NPR, but it was by a rather Conservative commentator.

In France the elections are run in two phases, a 12 candidate free for all, and my hopes is on the guy who is showing his dog all over the place, and then a run off election.  The voting has begun, and it is with interest that I will watch these elections when the two finalists are announced.   The first phase is kind of like the first show in one of those reality shows where they knock off a whole bunch of the losers in one swoop.  After that, the two finalists duke it out.  However, it is the process as a whole that interests me.

In this current election there are 12 candidates and there are some interesting rules concerning the campaigning.

1 – All candidates must receive the exact amount – to the second – of air time in the news and in scheduled programs.

2- Negative campaign ads are considered highly irregular.

3 – No ads may run 48 hours prior to the election.  Nor may any polls be released.

There are more, but I have to admit that this doesn’t sound too bad.  I understand that there are problems with the first rule.  Minor candidates get the same air time as the major ones, which may muddy the waters.  I guess the French figure that their people are smart enough to figure out the fringe from the mainstream.

With rule two what would movements like MoveOn.org or the Swifties or the other groups that thrive on negative ads and try to muddy the water by slander rather than substantive issues based dialogue do with this rule in American politics.  Don’t get me wrong, dirty campaigns are as old as the 1828 election where Ole Mrs. Jackson was dragged through the mud as well as any modern day candidate ever could have been.  However, wouldn’t it be refreshing to just hear talk about the issues?  Yeah, I know the First Amendment.  I also know that policy constraints limit all of my “rights”.

The third would knock out the last minute surprise.  Such as the DWI in 2000, which did impact the outcomes.  Again, the idea is that let’s clear the air and let the people reflect and then vote.

I’m not sure I fully agree with it, but this is certainly food for thought.  I know it will never happen  here.  Too bad that some of the concepts couldn’t be considered.



  1. I’ve always thought run-off elections are a nifty idea as they keep third-party candidates from interfering in the final outcome after it has become clear who has a realistic chance of winning. I would rather like to see America adopt something like that into our system.

    But as for the campaigning restrictions, no, I wouldn’t be too crazy about those and neither would most Americans as you rightly observe. The McCain-Feingold Act is controversial enough.

    Comment by hydralisk — April 22, 2007 @ 9:40 am | Reply

  2. CFR didn’t go far enough, that’s the problem with it.

    Comment by avoiceofreason — April 22, 2007 @ 5:42 pm | Reply

  3. It would be difficult (though perhaps not impossible) to sell me on that.

    Comment by hydralisk — April 23, 2007 @ 9:45 am | Reply

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