The Presidential Election Needs A Playoff


Day 1 of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland was an event befitting the 2016 presidential election — which is to label it a theater of the absurd.

Less than five months remain until voters decide whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will hold Office for the next four years, yet a common refrain from both sides of the political aisles suggests neither is the choice anyone wants beyond the candidates’ most dedicated supporters.

The 2016 presidential election is American politics’ version of the Bowl Championship Series, and especially 2008. Bear with me.

In 2008, Florida beat Oklahoma for the BCS championship, but plenty would willing contest the Gators’ claim to being the nation’s top team. They lost at home to Ole Miss — a quality opponent, but a home loss, nonetheless.

Oklahoma, meanwhile, emerged from the Big 12 on a technicality. The Sooners lost to Texas, which lost to Texas Tech. All three finished the regular season with a single defeat.

Conference tiebreaker rules sent Oklahoma to the Big 12 Championship Game, giving it the necessary boost to gain a spot in the BCS title game.

Did Oklahoma really deserve the shot ahead of Texas? Were any of the three better than USC, which dominated with a historically stout defense but lost a Thursday night road game, early in the year?

And what of Utah? The undefeated Mountain West champions functioned as the 2008 BCS’ Gary Johson.

Utah’s snub helped push a lawsuit to change college football’s postseason system. However, the 2008 season wasn’t the sole motivation driving sentiment against the Bowl Championship Series — it was merely the culmination.

In many ways, the 2016 presidential election feels like the culmination of an equally maligned structure: American politics’ two-party system.

The two-party system leaves voters with just two options at campaign’s end, much as the BCS did for fans. Even worse from the former, however, is that the choices are guaranteed to come from one of only two groups.

Imagine if the BCS guaranteed teams from only one of two conferences would play for the championship every season.

Scratch that. You don’t have to imagine too hard.


The football-watching populace overwhelmingly supported a playoff, and a Sept. 2015 Gallup poll reports a majority of voters want a multiple-party system. Given the climate of the current presidential election, I would not be surprised to learn that percentage has climbed exponentially from 60.

Whereas the College Football Playoff fostered expansion of conferences, reforming the two-party system requires breaking up the groups. The very vocal objection to Trump at Monday’s session of the RNC, and the vehement support of longtime independent Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries suggest America is ready for just that.

Of course, with more political parties, the nation runs the risk of a candidate winning national office with less than 30 percent of the vote, which begets gridlock and ineffectiveness. This problem plagues Italian government.

Thankfully, the College Football Playoff provides the answer.

The DNC and GOP split into two group, forming four, major political parties. Each party holds its primary without changing that format.

However, once each of the parties chooses a nominee, election day becomes election days. All four candidates appear on a ballot cast in early September.

The top two vote recipients in that phase move onto the final presidential election, held at the customary date in November.

It’s not perfect — neither is the College Football Playoff. But it’s a step toward a more balanced result.