Note: As part of a (currently hypothetical) platform for John Fial as a candidate for the 2020 Democratic Nomination for President, this page serves as an FAQ page. For the other pages, see www.johnfial.com/campaign/
There are so many candidates, do you really expect to win?
The penetration of electronic communication almost directly into our modern minds should not be underestimated: anyone can become famous overnight. Of course, that is a major risk to both a campaign and a person’s personal character, if handled unwisely. Moreover, I must believe that existing Democrats and unregistered Americans will be attracted to the most historic, major ideas proposed within the party, namely, those of this campaign: relocate the federal government, write constitutional amendments, move the country forward towards the next century, and by doing so, act as a leader for our planet.
Finally, I hope that most Democrats understand this: none of the existing candidates who are U.S. Senators are likely to win against an incumbent President, nor is Former V.P. Joe Biden. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Congresswoman Gabbard, in my opinion, would have the best chance if nominated, but it seems very unlikely that they actually win the nomination, and even in that event, they are not campaigning on such grand ideas as this. The situation is similar for Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson, who also have great ideas and a diverse, more honest perspective. Many of these people could have won against 2016 nominee Donald Trump, but against an incumbent President — who, in our nation’s history, win reelection ~80% of the time! — most American voters vote in a completely different manner. From that perspective, then, the ‘obvious’ Sen. Sanders or Sen. Harriss would each be a horrible candidate for the party, pushing voters away — even if he or she changed to a more moderate policy platform! — and leading the President to win reelection by an even greater margin.
Why campaign? What’s your motivation? And why campaign as a nobody, as an average American?
I neither cared for both major candidates in 2016, but sadly, I did not vote in either party primary. Realizing that I would turn thirty-five years old (the minimum Presidential age) before the 2020 election, I wanted to take personal responsibility for myself in 2016, and began considering what I would personally campaign on. For more, see this brief essay: “35.”
Why not campaign for a lower, smaller, more local position first?
Two reasons — first, a disrespect for those who simply treat these lower offices as “career stepping stones,” and second, a desire to leave the White House before young children are teenagers or older.
What is your position on this-or-that-super-important-issue-in-the-news?
My major goal would be to attract the greatest modern minds to the Cabinet, administration, and federal positions to be able to focus on leading balanced, inclusive debates in Congress.
No current major staff / policy advisor on every single issue. I lean left on most issues, but not all, although not as far left as Sen. Sanders, for example.
Why begin so late? Why would you only begin an official campaign roughly a year before the election — only a few months before the first state’s Democratic primaries?
Two reasons, firstly, out of an ethical disgust at how extended these presidential campaign ‘seasons’ have become, and secondly, to reduce the strain on the personal lives of myself and (hopefully) future American nominees.
Today we spend roughly 18-24 months of the current President’s 4-year term on the process to find the next President…nay, merely the next President-ial nominee! Think about that: for almost half of any Presidency, a large portion of the country is deciding, stressing, hoping, hating, loving, planning, paying, requesting, and working towards the next President. I agree with the importance of planning and looking towards the future, but can we not, for most of the elected term, allow the individual to serve, whether performed well or poorly? If we do not support our elected leaders, let us disagree with them, compel them, debate them, challenge them, and more, but we should not campaign for their jobs from the moment each is elected. Personally I think the entire thing should take place in just a few months — six months, I think, is perhaps too long for a mere 4-year term.
And most of us know the real reason national elections are so drawn out: money for our media industries. Presidential campaigns, both before and after the party primaries, lead to more Americans — and foreigners, too — tuning in, reading, listening, talking, debating, sharing, liking, working, and engaging. This means significantly more money for cable news networks, magazines, other television programs, podcasts, national party committees, social media platforms, other organizations… and advertisers, advertisers, advertisers! We announce campaigns earlier and earlier not to mull around the issues for a longer period of contemplation, nor to allow sufficient time for ‘our message to reach the masses’ — that can actually happen quicker and quicker as we spend more time online — rather, simply to play into the hands of the media empire. “The others are going to announce soon, I had better do so immediately!” Or, “All the rest have already announced, it is almost too late, and I must announce earlier than originally planned!”
We subject both our lives and our limited mental attention — as both candidates and voters in general — to increasing amounts of time spend on these campaigns. Thus the second reason for a late beginning: the personal perspective and sacrifices involved, and the precedents long campaigns set in front of regular Americans. Beginning a campaign roughly a year away from the election allows a ~6-month national campaign if one fails to win the party nomination AND withdraws from the race (rather than campaigning as an independent) and a ~12-month campaign if one wins the party nomination. A yearlong campaign simply to get a job! Ridiculous! Still, a yearlong campaign for a national elected position is, I believe, a reasonable sacrifice to expect for such an important position. But I feel for these candidates who announced 18-months or 24-months prior to the election, or Andrew Yang’s ~3-year campaign, or John Delaney’s and incumbent President Trump’s near 4-year campaigns! All but one will lose regardless!
I do not believe most of these already-popular or already-in-Congress individuals should campaign, let alone (in the case of Senators) be permitted to legally do so. The longer the campaign period, the greater the strain on one’s personal life, the greater the risks to one’s career and finances for the candidates and those around them, and the greater other risks, as well. Extended campaigns lead to the further exclusion of normal Americans attempting to campaign. “You have to be rich to be President.” “You need to already be in politics for many years.” “You already need to be famous with a large following.” “You must have the right connections in government, the media, and other industries.” Many of these sayings do represent general patterns, but neither are they rules, nor should we allow them to become the norms.
Nay, we should shorten our presidential campaign seasons, and for these two reasons, I would announce roughly a year away.