Belmont Club

The Content of His Character

The Herman Cain controversy is heating up. PJMedia has found sources who claim that “a female employee of the National Restaurant Association told associates she had been brought by Mr. Cain to his Crystal City, Virginia residence where she alleged ‘he had taken advantage of me.'” The quest to determine what really happened is based on the idea that knowing a Presidential candidate’s character matters. Character flaws are magnified by power; therefore what a candidate is like when he has the upper hand is a matter of public interest.

Most candidates are probably flawed human beings on close inspection, including the Democratic candidate sitting in the White House. Everyone deserves to be evaluated as he really is and then the voters can choose the lesser evil or the best man; the maximin or minimax of our imperfect world. And to help people do that, some developers are building a Voter Guide application based in Ballotpedia. It is still in Beta, as explained here but it already works with real data.

It is described as ” an interactive way to make and save a sample ballot of upcoming elections. Take it a step further and share the details with your friends or print it as a reference for election day.” Right now it only contains live data for the New Jersey general elections which will be held next Tuesday, but in a very short while it ought to contain data for all the coming elections in 2012.

The idea is for the voter to see who is running in the election in his zip code. Plug in your New Jersey zip code and see who’s running. Links to every candidates website are available via Ballotpedia by clicking on the candidate name to assist in making a choice.

After a voter has selected a ticket, he/she can share it with the public or just his friends. The application allows the user to invite friends from Facebook or by sending email invitations to people he knows. A special kind of user, known as an endorser, will soon be added to the Beta. It will allow an official endorser for an organization to create a sample ballot and share it with their members. In that way people can share their views about candidate — and a candidate’s character.

That way people can share their views about who is maximin and who is minimax.

The purpose of the beta is to identify which software features users like or dislike while being fully functional. It won’t answer the question of whether a candidate, like Herman Cain, actually did this or that; or what the content of his character is. Those issues are debated within the news system.

But once an individual voter has made up his mind about which candidate he likes, there should be a way to capture that inclination and describe it to his friends. Martin Luther King spoke of a mountaintop from which the Chosen People could descry the Promised Land. But mountaintops were not only a place of vantage from which to see but also a high place from which the sights might be proclaimed.

Today’s mountaintop is the Internet. The hope is that the Voter Guide site will perform both functions. It will allow potential voters to “see the promised land” of the candidates and turn to their friends to tell them what they’ve seen.

Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $3.99, print $9.99
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