Huge campaign spending and violence? Participatory application, the streamer aims for change.

Given the record amount of money being spent this midterm election season, mostly by political heavyweights, and with very real fears that any result of Tuesday’s tally could be challenged, however violently, is it surprising that many potential voters feel completely excluded?

It’s a problem that tech-savvy entrepreneurs and a board of political party members and independents believe they can solve by crowdsourcing problem ideas and candidates.

MainStream Nation has developed a new app for Americans active in the political process — and those who have just been disenfranchised — who want to see their own interests and narratives better reflected in national media, its creators say. That goes especially for what will soon be a preview of the 2024 presidential race.

See CNET’s midterm election coverage.

The app, which is aimed at registered voters, is a way to start a widespread discussion about candidates and issues. From there, the developers want more topics that respondents believe are important, and the people who can take action on those issues, featured on its streaming channel. (Learn more about who advises MainStream Nation.)

“Using technology that governments and Fortune 500 companies use to crowdsource ideas for new products, we are excited to launch our app for registered voters to post and rate their own candidates, issues and solutions to present in new streaming TV shows,” said Marinda Ragsdale, co-founder of MainStream Nation.

With the impact of social media, deeply partisan hardwired news, a growing number of celebrity candidates and information overload, Ragsdale thinks it’s becoming increasingly clear that entertainment and politics aren’t all that different. And while she’s as serious about democracy as the next voter, she thinks getting more voices heard could benefit from an “entertainment” aspect to the electoral process.

To that end, MainStream is developing a contest show for presidential candidates that it calls “president-elect.”

“Politics and entertainment are already interacting. Nightly contestant appearances, podcasts, even social media, and you could call it all entertainment,” she said. “We just looked at the overall landscape and we thought: Create a national spectacle by the people.”

For a candidate or issue to ultimately make it to an official ballot, it will need to adhere to the formal election process established by the Federal Election Commission, Ragsdale said in an interview. But this is the very beginning of the process, a return to a “for the people, by the people” mindset, and the need to provide candidates with the financial stamina to keep pace with the big interests, which have motivated the creation of the application and the Display.

A record $16 billion is expected to be spent midterm in 2022 by special interest groups and other backers of candidates and voting issues.

Moreover, the trend of harsh, even threatening responses to electoral processes in the wake of the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol leaves some voters wondering how free the traditional process is.

A couple from Mesa, Arizona, for example, were casting their ballots Oct. 21 for the upcoming midterm elections when they saw two people carrying guns and dressed in tactical gear hanging around the box. Maricopa County Depot. The armed pair left when police arrived later. And it wasn’t an isolated incident, as this GameSpot columnist writes.

App users are verified as voters through a partnership with ActiVote, an existing app that showcases important issues, polling locations, connections to elected officials, and key poll questions. ActiVote COO Sara Gifford said, “We are thrilled to be part of MainStream Nation’s launch and vision to help voters have a clearer and more direct influence in political media. .

“We don’t want the issues that we see on Facebook, Twitter. I don’t think it’s constructive,” Ragsdale said on a call with GameSpot.

In fact, Twitter, recently taken over by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, has undergone a top-down corporate change that has led to some abandoning the platform. In recent days, there’s been an about-face about the blue tick verification system by its new owner, who critics say had an interesting take on ‘free speech’ in its early days at bar.

Lily: Kathy Griffin launched Twitter as ‘free speech absolutist’ Elon Musk cracked down on parody accounts targeting him

When asked how MainStream would manage the scope of politics and topics, and to determine what language might be shared, Ragsdale said they will have to look at how to minimize blatant hate speech or calls for violence, but she added: “We’re not trying to control the process. Everyone has a chance to have their wants and needs heard.

When it comes to the pageant show, some of the “president-elect” work themes include: why can’t presidents pass a proficiency test? Why can’t they pass a lie detector test? Another sets up a “situation room” to test a candidate’s ability to handle a sticky security issue.

As Jim Ragsdale, co-founder and CEO of MainStream Nation, explained in an op-ed: “Voters use our app to ‘nominate’ candidates they want to compete in real-life challenges based on the issues that matter most. for them, and vote a contestant out of the show each episode until there’s a winner.

MainStream Nation app users verify as registered voters, then post their ideas for candidates or solutions to their top issues. Approved people can also give other users’ posts a 1-5 star rating, and the highest-rated posts become the source of contestants and content for the show and its challenges. Anyone can view content on the platform, but only users who verify as registered voters are allowed to submit and rate posts.

“Our users post anonymously and all comments on their posts are disabled. We didn’t want them to worry about being canceled or trolled for speaking their minds, so they post and score just like they voted at the ballot box,” Ragsdale said.

And while a winner running a full-fledged traditional campaign is still expected to generate fundraising assistance, the creators of the app and show believe that this head start and media boost will go a long way.

Is there a risk that the show’s winning candidate is just another spoiler candidate making the election process as confusing as it is right now?

Ragsdale explained that “without reforms like preferential choice voting in place, the issue of spoilers remains a concern.” But that, too, depends on the voters, he said.

“When do the majority of voters decide that the candidates they don’t support are the real spoilers?” he said. “Plus, if they really want reforms like these in our election, what better way to make them a national priority than to make them the highest-rated issues on the show?”

Huge campaign spending and violence? Participatory application, the streamer aims for change. – CBS