I've always thought that American Idol would be a good model for our presidential election process. Really. In the last several seasons, there are have been more votes cast for American Idol contestants than are normally seen in a non-presidential year election. OK, so some of those are multiple votes from the same people. In fact, I confess to having voted at least 50 times for Bo Bice in the great Bo / Carrie showdown of 2004 -- I'm still not sure what it feels like to vote for a winner on Idol.
Well, the good news is that MySpace and Mark Burnett (known by some as the "father" of reality television), are teaming up to present a program on MySpace/YouTube called "Independent." The guist is that contestants will submit audition videos on YouTube outlining why that should be president. My Space users and TV viewers will choose from among those candidates and each week, viewers will vote on new missions that players much accomplish related to issues raised by the MySpace community.
The winner will earn $1 million to spend on launching a new political party, donating to a political cause or entering the US presidential race -- which should last them 1/2 week :). To date, it's the most pop-culture application of "people-powered politics" I've seen. For another approach, check out the website U4prez