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The Last Candidate Standing

by James N. Watkins

Posted: September 1, 2019

Are you already tired of teh 2020 election?…

I am!

Let’s have America’s national elections staged as a reality TV show! How ’bout America’s Got Candidates, The Amazing Political Race, Keeping Up with the Kandidates, Dancing with the Issues or Survivor: Electoral College? Or better, yet To Tell the Truth.

And the best part? It would run only from September through November during “sweeps” every four years! Here’s how it would work:

“Live from the nation’s capital, The Last Candidate Standing. Thirteen weeks! Twenty candidates! But tonight, just one president-elect!”

Yep, let’s put all the wannabe candidates for president in that Big Brother house in Hollywood—and then lock and bolt the doors until the September before the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. There would be some real advantages to elections conducted as reality TV.

We’d have to listen to their political pontifications for only one hour, one night a week for thirteen weeks! (Enduring the past year of constant campaigning was nearly enough to make me move to a remote island where I would survive by eating Madagascar hissing cockroaches.)

For each episode, candidates would have to successfully perform tasks to stay in the running: balancing a checkbook, finding a job for a homeless stock trader, and negotiating a win-win settlement in a messy divorce case. If they can’t perform these tasks, what business do they have with the Federal budget, the job market, and keeping Iran from nuking the Free World?

Candidates, of course, would have to answer the requisite trivia questions:

What is the capital of Libya? a) Tripoli, b) Tripwire or c) Tryptophan

The best way to stimulate the economy is a) tax cuts for the poor, b) tax increases for the rich, c) amphetamines for everyone.

Your stand on same-sex marriage: a) I’m for it, b) I’m against it, c) I can go either way (wink).

Next would come the immunity challenges. After living off the government payroll and enjoying political perks, maybe a dose of The Real World would be the best thing for presidential candidates. How ’bout giving them each a $1,500 Social Security check and make them find decent housing, medical insurance, and an affordable cell phone plan. Let’s see them live on ramen noodles and off-brand macaroni and cheese The possibilities are endless!

The weekly tribal council would whittle the number down to one Republican, one Democrat, and one Independent “wildcard.” Those who can “outwit, outplay, and outlast” would go on to the two-hour finale on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Voters at home would text REP, DEM or IND, call 1-800-VOTE-NOW or login at

Then again, the people I want to win reality shows never do, which just goes to prove:

  1. TV reality shows are not really “reality.”

  2. Political campaigns are not really “reality.”

So, maybe The Last Candidate Standing isn’t the best suggestion for election reform. Instead, as a member of the electoral tribal council, you and I have to make some difficult decisions. Here’s how I evaluate contestants—sorry—candidates:

Christian values

Where do candidates stand on biblical issues? Not simply one or two “litmus test” issues, but everything from Genesis to maps. Matthew 25 provides these “planks” in Jesus’ platform:

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”

And don’t forget the “Golden” campaign promise!


Just because candidates profess to be Christian, does not mean they are capable leaders who can effectively champion Christian values. One of my denominational leaders warned, “A Christian Bozo is still a Bozo.” One’s faith is certainly an important consideration, but not the only one.


Are candidates’ lives consistent with their professed beliefs? Or will they do or say anything to get elected?

Not all candidates on the ballot may shine in all three categories, which forces us to pray for discernment and wisdom in choosing the best from the given choices. So, turn off the reality show that this year’s campaign has become and tune into God in prayer before you vote for the last candidate standing.

I’m Jim Watkins, and I approve this message.

Copyright © 2003, 2012, 2019

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Jim Watkins is a humorist, author, and speaker who says of himself that he "loves God, his family, writing, speaking and Chinese food—in that order"

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Posted: September 1, 2019

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