Re-purposing: from ideological to cynical

I didn’t have to deliberate much to decide which piece I would end up re-purposing, because there was only one work that I, a. wasn’t sick of yet, and b. had a lot of possibilities.  It is a policy proposal I wrote for a political communication class, in which I argue the primary elections should be limited to ten weeks and that the order of the contests should be based on the state’s voter turnout.  The paper and subject has kept my attention and interest because it is reform I actually believe in, and it is pretty inconceivable.  While the opinion that this type of policy would ever be adopted may be a negative to some, to me it makes it more fun.  I don’t have to tone down the policy to make it more realistic, and I can be more creative with how such a policy would be received and lobbied for.  Though I knew this was the project I wanted to work with, I could not pin down what I wanted to do with, for I had so many different ideas swirling in my head.

Talking to classmates and Shelley helped narrow down the options and make my objective clearer.  What I realized was that many of the ideas I was considering  targeted a “general audience” and were relatively safe, like a Huffington Post opinion piece.  I really wanted to do something a little different and not something you would necessarily have easy access to.  I started thinking about the things happening behind closed doors, deals being made, fundraising events, and lobbyist lunches.  The real workings of Washington we only ever get to see when someone sneaks in a camera, i.e. the “47%” reveal.  As someone with a healthy sense of cynicism, I enjoy reading insider books and watching the dark politics in House of Cards.  From there I had to target the specific audience that would benefit from my policy proposal, and those with the power to insist on its introduction.  While in the original, academic piece I down play this opposition and offer counter evidence, with this policy a clear demographic would benefit.  With a shorter amount of time to garner name recognition, more experienced politicians with well known positions would be helped.  Basically the dreaded “DC Insider,” think John McCain rather than a grassroots Tea Party candidate. 

My original proposal was an academic paper written for my professor, but with the idea the audience was a legislature deciding whether to support the reform.  It has a formal, and at times slightly persuasive tone.  The purpose of the proposal is to prove there is a problem with the current primary system and this reform is the solution.  I suggest a ten week schedule with the order of the states being determined by the state’s voter turnout from the previous election, and progressively adding the number of contests each week.  By doing this, I argue the type of media coverage would improve, the parties would become stronger, and voters will be less apathetic.

The re-purposing will be a speech given to political insiders at a private lunch hosted by an organization lobbying for this reform.  The audience is the attendants who would benefit from the policy, including the Republican and Democratic party leadership, established politicians, and consultants specializing in campaigns.  The tone will be formal, yet I hope to find the balance where while written in the style of such a speech, it is somewhat satirical.  I plan on trying this by candidly explaining how this reform will solve many of the superficial problems of campaigns and politicians in order to persuade them.

I have found different models for I want the piece to come across, but its hard to know until I start writing it and fleshing it out.  But for now I’m just excited to explore the veiled, cynical part of Washington, an exercise that is generally not a part of the university’s political science courses.

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