We are spending billions of dollars, in time and resources to choose the president and the winner still will have no clear mandate as to which problem should be solved first or get the lion's share of our tax dollar.
Is it protection of peace, environment, or minimum human needs? Is it preparation of the young or advancement of the arts and sciences?
Maybe in addition to choosing the chief executive or representative, we should spend as much time and energy understanding and ranking what we wish that public servant to do.
Though a national "problem referendum" (maybe mid presidential term) the public could vote to rank objectives/problems for the government to address.
Not only would these referendums move half the electoral resources away from personality contests and partisan fighting, they would create a national teach in.
Each problem backer would be describing why his or her problem should be elevated above the others, how government actions implement its solution, and the spatial and temporal beneficiaries and payees.
Normally squandered election resources could be used to help people define issues, balance and compare them, and to understand how government behavior can and can not influence the problem's resolution.
The referendum could create a measure by which to rate performance of a legislature, executive, or even a single legislator.
And it would allow media to contribute to the national good - by creating an informed electorate. It would create a means for the public to create the future instead of only responding to the present.