How Pokémon Go Can Win The White House

As I sit and watch the political ping-pong, zing across the inter-webs like so many Sneetches, I have done my level best to stay out of the fray. If the experience of my forty-seven years has taught me anything, it is that another’s point of view has never been swayed by a single pithy comment, image of Willy Wonka or rapier-like jab.


This has never been an effective persuasion tool.

No matter how smart you think you are, and no matter how clever your delivery; odds are at least one-third of the universe thinks you (and your opinions) are equivalent to the hind-end of some slovenly livestock.

I watched as the field of Republicans devoured each other like Uruguayan rugby players stranded in the Andes. The last one standing is certainly not the finest choice, but only the best at not losing; which is not the same thing as winning.

I watched as the assembled Democrats each struggled to get a foothold on a cliff face where one candidate, in particular, seemed to have advanced knowledge of all the right locations to grab. Another made great progress in the effort, only to have his cleverly placed and popular hands repeatedly trod upon by those espousing neutrality.

The Internet is awash in quotes and memes decrying the sad state of our country and I can honestly say for the first time in my life… I am at a loss.

I feel like I have traveled a long, hot road with little water and no food, only to come up over a rise to find a rotting opossum on one side of the road and a rotting raccoon on the other. My body screams “you must eat something” but my mind is making the argument for starvation.

What does any of this have to do with Pokemon? Forge ahead gentle reader, forge ahead.

First of all, let me dispel the accuracy of a phrase I hear all the time… “two-party system.” In the United States of America, our political system supports an infinite number of parties. Most Americans believe that Democrats & Republicans are all we have ever had, you know like Coke & Pepsi or McDonalds & Burger King. All those other weird parties we see on the ballot every November may as well be an RC Cola, purchased at a Hardees.

We do not have a two-party system.

Furthermore, since we do not have a two-party system, candidates for any office who belong to a party other than Republican or Democratic should not be referred to as “third-party.” Anyone on the ballot belongs to the party they belong to – no numerical labels necessary.

In fact, in addition to Republicans and Democrats, major party candidates for president or vice president (by that I mean one of the two main contenders) came from the following parties:

  • Federalist
  • Whig
  • Free Soil
  • Anti-Masonic
  • Liberty

I will grant you since 1856, the winner of the White House has been either a Democrat or Republican with the runner up being the opposite – but that doesn’t mean it has to stay this way. The modern age has ushered in an unprecedented wave of disruption and our political inertia is ripe for a wholesale re-vamp.

Honestly, anyone who believes the White House can only be won by a Democrat or a Republican is as about as astute as a record company executive in 1998 saying, “This whole MP3 thing will blow over – people will always want physical CDs.”

On July 6th 2016, a tiny, unknown game developer called Niantic, released Pokémon Go. If you don’t know what Pokemon Go is, then you may be literally been living under a rock.

In the space of one month, in the USA alone, this game went from not existing to something between twelve and twenty million daily players.

Is it a fad that will die off as quickly as it appeared? You bet your ass it is, but that’s not the point.

The point is that in 2016, we have the communications infrastructure in place for something to go from a simple idea, to a multi-million-person sensation in mere days.

So, what does Pokemon Go have to do with our mediocre options to lead our country for the coming four years? In a word… plenty.

Let me briefly state something. I have no intention of trying to sway you in one political direction or another. My goal here is to simply show my fellow countrypersons how they need not accept what they are being told by the two dominant parties and the media.

There are two additional, serious, organized choices for president, that deserve your consideration. They are:

Libertarian PartyGary Johnson & William Weld


Green PartyJill Stein & Ajamu Baraka

Now – before all you statistics wonks get your respective panties in a wad – please do not tell me, “A vote for a minor-party candidate may as well be a vote for the opposite of what you want.” Furthermore, do not tell my how the loss of Bob Dole to Bill Clinton in 1996 was caused by all those who voted for Ross Perot. That might have been true then, but if you think about how far we’ve come, in so many ways, in the last two decades, you’ll see how thin that argument is today.

I’m not telling you what to think, but rather to stop drinking at the trough of, “the way things have always been” and actually take the time to really review your options.

Before you weigh-in on the next water cooler, or Facebook conversation about the 2016 race for the White House, take thirty minutes and engage in the following exercise.

Take a letter-sized piece of paper, and divide it into four even sections. The, go to position or issue page of each of the following (listed here alphabetically by last name with links):

Hillary Clinton

Gary Johnson

Jill Stein

Donald Trump

For each candidate, take 7.5 minutes and try to jot down three things you agree with and three things you don’t. I’m not saying you’re going to change your mind about anything, but you will be better informed and that is never a bad thing.

However, it is possible within the privacy of your computer screen and that single piece of paper, you will discover better options than what the media and conventional thinking are offering you. If you find that to be the case, share your findings with your friends and encourage them to undertake the same exercise. The Internet and Social Media are capable of much more than cat videos and memes of Kermit the Frog drinking tea.


How much fun would Pokemon Go be, if there were only two kinds out there to catch?

Twenty million people are running around our great nation trying to “catch em all.” Don’t we, at the bare minimum, owe the process of electing our next president the same effort?

A measurable percentage of Democrats are not convinced Hillary is right. An equal number of Republicans are not pleased with Trump. As an independent, I can tell you I’m not comfortable voting for either.

If enough of us have the guts to consider a different choice, and back it up with a vote, then we actually have a chance at not putting a (Poké)monster in the White House. From where I’m sitting today, it looks like we’re going to get one either way. That is unless you heed and share my words… if you’re as fed up as I am, GO!


Copyright © 2016 – Stephen S. Nazarian – All rights reserved

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7 thoughts on “How Pokémon Go Can Win The White House

  • as a young person who will have to live with this election for the rest of her life, i ask that the voting public look at other possibilities!! this article rocks dad:)

  • As an independent who prefers to vote for the person who best reflects my own ideology regardless of party alignment, I must say that your article is incredibly refreshing. I am especially concerned about the dehumanization of our fellow countrymen – the villification on “party X” and the blind faith in “party Y” that I even find among the most thoughtful persons I know. Every four years it seems as if Hitler and the Antichrist have reincarnated and penetrated the political discourse.

    During a daily scheduled argument with my wife the other day, I tried to extol the virtues of voting according to conscience first rather than strategy (like, say, #IguessI’mwithher). We owe it to our democracy whenever possible to flex our freedom to express who we believe is the best candidate and not simply the least bad one.

    Then again, if we never settle for good enough, she probably wouldn’t have married me in the first place.

  • I don’t think technological advances will allow for a viable third party candidate. However, a radical change in how we count and represent votes will. Third, fourth, and fifth parties are only relevant in countries that have a system of proportional representation. (These types of democracy also happen to coincide with parliamentary systems where party allegiances are much stronger.) As long as the United States maintains a “first past the post” system, all the Pokémon is the world will not overthrow the current regime.

    The lack of third party viability has never been held in higher relief than in this election cycle. For all intents and purposes, Trump and Sanders have waged third party candidacies from within the two traditional parties. They were forced to hijack their respective parties and pull from the fringes. This is especially the case with Trump. Proportional representation would allow for people to gather at all points on the political spectrum (for better or worse) and vote in their interests at every level of government. New parties would form from the fringes of the exiting ones, which is where Sanders and Trump found most of their support. Moreover, new parties with more nuanced interest groups and advocates would find purchase in the political landscape. Each vote would not only be counted — but also represented.

    • So many people are fed up with the “politics as usual” state of our government. They decided a vote for Trump or Sanders was a vote against the establishment they no longer believed in but with the security of staying within the party they know. Unfortunately, I fear that will not be enough to elect the third/fourth/fifth(etc) party candidate that this country desperately needs. Perhaps, that will change in future elections.

  • I only wish everyone would understand this! I too am an independent surrounded by far left democrats or far right republicans. I have struggled for years trying explain to family and friends what you so elegantly written!

  • I love the idea of a diversity of candidates and choices.
    As you know the founding fathers never anticipated political parties. Washington warned against them. The first parties emerged out of factions (Federalists and Anti-Federalists).
    However, quickly, a two party system did emerge. While the names have changed over the years (i.e. Jacksonian Dems vs. Whigs), for the most part the majority of the votes in each election have gone to candidates in two parties. The election of 1860 was a notable exception, when the country was very divided. But generally, in the “winner take all” Electoral College system, I’m not sure that having three or four parties is really viable.
    This year, I think Hillary Clinton represents the best option. She has the domestic and foreign policy experience and has demonstrated an ability to work with political leaders in America and abroad. She is smart and has a deep understanding of policy.
    I actually think the Democratic party represents the most innovative and progressive choice…their platform is the most far-reaching and inclusive I have ever seen. Senator Sanders is to thank for much of this.
    I don’t think Jill Stein is a serious option. From her stand on vaccines to her VP’s recent comments about President Obama, I have trouble taking her seriously.
    I think Gov. Johnson has some positives, and I’m all for reigning in spending, but I don’t support the widespread legalization of marijuana and I think he is wishy-washy on climate change. Most concerning is the libertarian stand on issues such as abortion, which appear to push “privacy” rights to the state level. Given the recent Supreme Court case about Texas, I don’t think reproductive health would fare well in the hands of many southern states. And we sure know that Civil Rights wouldn’t, based on past history.
    Charlotte, take another look at Secretary Clinton. I think that she’s a smart and thoughtful person with a 40-plus year commitment to equity, women’s rights, and children’s health. She’s not perfect, but on the whole she’s be an amazing President.
    Anyway, I am organizing a mock debate an election at my school on November 7 so we will see what the students have to say about each of the candidates. I’m open to hearing more.

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