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By Venu Palaparthi
[This is a satirical article. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental except in the case of a very famous former president and his impressions on cricket.]
Dear President Obama:
With the elections around the corner, here are five priceless lessons on how to remain in power for a second term (or, if you prefer, as many years as you want).
You should know your history, Mr. President. Cricket and US presidency share some historic connections. John Adams, the first Vice President of USA and our great nation's second President, told the Congress that leaders of simple cricket clubs were called "presidents." He argued that the leader of USA should be called something more grand like His High Mightiness. President Adams thought that the title of president was the "most superlatively ridiculous."
As it turns out, he did not prevail, the result of which is that you are called the President today and the title of His High Mightiness might rightly belong in cricket administration.
But I digress, Mr. President. Thanks to cricket, there may still be some other superlatively ridiculous stuff for you to learn about safe-guarding your presidency. Remember, they don't teach this stuff at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. So next time you play air-cricket with Brian Lara, don't forget to thank him.
Lesson #1: Don't hold an election that you cannot win.
It is better to postpone an election than let your opponents win. When in doubt, postpone. It also has the additional benefit of extending your term even if you were to somehow get defeated eventually.
Your constitution does not allow it? Don't let trivial things like the constitution determine how long you are in power.
Just tell people you are conducting a review of every voter's long-form birth certificate and vaguely suggest to them that all elections may be on hold until the review is completed. "This is simply not cricket," you say? This is cricket in your country.
Lesson #2: Know the outcome, then reverse engineer!
Everyone wants to win. But you are in power, so use it to your advantage Mr. President. Campaigns, manifestos, democracy - those are relics of a bygone era.
Focus on the outcome. Figure out who might vote for you. Then, make sure they are the majority. [For how, see Lessons 3 thru 5].
Reverse-engineering runs against the very spirit of democracy, you say? C'mon Mr. President. Don't forget that the only "spirit" you see in some of the world's biggest democracies is the "spirit" that flows freely come election time.
You say the international community would never allow that? Once again, look no further than cricket for inspiration. ICC, which is the international cricket body swears by "spirit of cricket," and has even enshrined it in the game's laws. But they simply are too preoccupied to care about things like election process, unless there were TV rights associated with it.
Lesson #3: Deny, disqualify, disregard!
Start with those red states, Mr. President. Deny them the vote. On what grounds, you ask? Be inventive Mr. President. May be they have not done enough to improve their real estate prices, their math scores, or perhaps a majority of their people haven't paid their taxes by April 15th. Figure something out that will get those states off the electoral map. Don't just stop with those red states. There are red zones in every blue state will soon be large enough to disrupt your influence.
You are afraid that your own government has had difficulty with these parameters at the national level? You are over-analyzing, Mr. President. Those rules only apply to the voters.
You are worried that roughly half the country might not vote? Draw some courage from cricket, Mr. President. A good two-thirds of USA's cricket leagues have been disenfranchised in the forthcoming election. It doesn't harm your electoral chances at all if you disregard those that are screaming their lungs out.
Lesson #4: Offer incentives to only those who have been granted the vote.
Here's a secret, Mr. President. Collect taxes from everyone, but offer rewards only to those that can vote. For better effect, make an announcement just before the election, so that it remains fresh in the voters' memory.
That sounds like a bribe, you fear? Let me clarify. When cash is offered by candidates from their own pockets in the developing nations, those are bribes. This is a tax-payer paid "grant."
To make it look even less like an inducement, tie it to something that looks like you care. Give every voting family a "math improvement" or "timely tax payment" grant. The beauty of it is that there is no cost to the exchequer.
Once again, look for precedents in cricket. One non-voting cricket league in your own region paid enough to fund grants for the three voting leagues.
Lesson #5: Never lose control of the final results.
Elections are never transparent, Mr. President. The votes are held in really opaque boxes. Elections are only transparent when they produce the right result. If you feel that the election is not going your way, block the results and announce fresh elections. Then get back to reverse engineering the desired outcome.
If the results have already been announced by over-enthusiastic election overseers, be comfortable in the knowledge that gerrymandering is not just a word in the dictionary.
You have a lot of options Mr. President. Like disqualifying entire regions and announcing redistricting reviews. If you have any questions on how to block nay-sayers from getting to vote, feel free to google USA cricket.
Follow these lessons and you will never bat on a sticky wicket.
Thank you Mr. President.
A cricket loving American.