It worked to make Carrie Underwood country music's top star, so doesn't it make sense to use the American Idol model to pick a president? That's the thinking behind Votocracy.com, a new social media presidential election game that could have a significant impact on future elections.
"Are we serious? Sure. Are we having fun? Yes," says cofounder Bryan Lee.
Here's how it works: Candidates are nominated on Votocracy.com's Facebook page. Primaries will be held next year in every state and eventually one candidate from each state and the District of Columbia will be chosen via Web voting.
The 51 will then go on a reality TV show next summer modeled after American Idol, where the public votes to keep their favorites in the competition. The winner will then be given some money to actually campaign, though he or she won't be on the official 2012 presidential ballot. [See a slide show of GOP 2012 contenders.]
"We need to get a lot more people engaged," Lee tells Whispers. "Our mantra is more voices, more choices."
Candidates pay $99 to run, and Votocracy.com provides the platform for uploading position papers and campaign videos.
Lee's group is also negotiating with cable channels and networks for a reality TV show. "There's a lot of interest," he says.
Lee adds that he doesn't have an idea yet of what type of candidates will emerge, and isn't sure if actual candidates will sign up to run.
But he did call President Obama the ideal type of "everyman" that Votocracy.com is trying to get interested in running. As a candidate in 2008, Lee says, Obama "was someone people connected with."
And, he adds, "Obama can run" in the Votocracy.com challenge.