Candidates, Activate!

As the formal primary election campaign begins, one thing one may have noticed is the number of forums and events that bring together candidates to talk. Most of it for the “top tier” races, like Governor, has been focused so far on the Lieutenant Governors’ race. In fact since the Democratic Party convention in May, the candidates have been on stage, talking, at least three times since.

These forums so far have unfolded predictably. There is the introduction of the candidates, and a short one or two-minute introduction of the candidate themselves. This is followed by a series of questions which, depending on the moderator, allows the candidates to ask each other a question, or at least rebut statements made by the candidates to each other.

The moderator of course tries to keep time and, depending on the audience, you hear the reactions from them upon the ending of a candidate’s statement. Then there is the final statement of which the boilerplate phrase “please vote for me” is uttered.

All nice, all civil, all very predictable.

While it might work for the Lt. Governors race, because there are four candidates on the Democratic side and no one has a “lock” on the primary, the Governor’s race is a bit different. We have right now, according to Predictit, an online prediction market that offers exchanges on political and financial events, pretty much saying that Green has a lock on the nomination.

So going through the same rigamarole of forums, while both Vicky Cayetano and Kai Kahele try to derail the coronation that seems to be taking place, it might not do much overall.

But maybe if it were livened up, these could become a must-watch event.

ONE OF THE THINGS this blogger likes to watch is “BattleBots”. BattleBots is a robot combat competition that takes place in an elimination-style tournament. Designers build, operate, and battle their destructive robots until a champion is crowned. Right now, it’s broadcast on the Discovery Channel, and is only on during pre-determined seasons, the 2022 season just ending a couple of months back.

BattleBots logo
PC: 2020 logo of BattleBots for season 10
Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

There are two features to this show. First, the commentators and the ringside introductions of the robots on the BattleBots floor. The current commentators, who do play-by-play as well as player analysis, are done by two gentlemen, Chris Rose and Kenny Florian, who provide interesting perspectives in a plain language sort of way.

Second, and what this blogger thinks is the key to the show, outside of the robots going after each other and destroying everything in the BattleBot arena, is the person that introduces the competitors, Mr. Faruq Tauheed.

If you want to see what he does, check out this video of one of his many introductions to the robot competitors.

Now think about this as a concept for at least one, if not all of the forums for the Governor, especially for the Democratic candidates. You get the crowd all livened up with the pre-show done by the commentators, and then you hear the booming voice of Faroq come on and introduce each of the candidates.

Now as a pathetic example of even trying to equate to what Faroq and his team do, this blogger did come up with a bit of a script that could be followed, again, bringing life to this forum.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s Governor debate time!

The first candidate! He’s an X-Gen born in New York but made Hawaii his home. Don’t let the name fool you, he has a stethoscope made of gold. He told you about COVID, and also of other things, but he also eats with chopsticks, and that is kinda keen. Give it up for JOSH GREEEEEEENNNNN!

The second candidate, came to Hawaii, hung out with Elvis, started a laundry business, and lived at Washington Place. Her husband is Ben, and he ran things before, but now this Boomer wants to see how it is to win gold. Welcome Viccckyyyy Cayetannooooooo!

And the third candidate: He flies on big jets, and protects the heartland. As a Congressman, he tells us he has done all he can. He is an X-Gen who now wants to come home and has made a decision, to go for the gold. Its Kaaaaiiiii Kaheleeeeeeee!

Of course, the format would probably be more in line with the traditional “ask a question, have everyone answer one by one”. But hear this out: Wouldn’t it be more fun to watch how each candidate goes after the other? A suggestion would be for the moderator to say to them all “first topic, homelessness. Aaaand go!” Then watch each of the candidates talk over each other and see who controls the room during that time. There would be a timer on it, say 5 minutes. While it might not produce any new policy, at least you could see who of the three is willing to keep to the subject, versus just attacking the other person for their actions or inactions.

One last thing that might make this even more interesting. When the candidates are introduced and their face is on the TV screen, to list out their top 10 donors to their campaign. And if they have one, show the logo of the company that donated.

That, in itself, would be worth the price of tuning in.