Carly Fiorina is putting flip phone users on notice: You’re going to have to upgrade under a President Fiorina.
“How many of you have a flip phone?” Fiorina recently asked a town hall in South Carolina. A few people in the audience raised their hands, as laughter filled the room.
“It’s okay, but you’re going to have to upgrade soon,” she continued. “You have 18 months to do this.”
It’s all part of a vision the Republican presidential candidate has to give citizens a direct line of communication – literally – to the president. But the technology, Fiorina says, will only be compatible with smartphones.
“I will go into the Oval Office on a regular basis, I will ask you to take out your smartphones, and I will engage in a conversation with the citizens of this nation,” the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, who has seen her poll numbers rise following a strong performance in the past two GOP debates, tells the audience.
A President Fiorina would then ask citizens to take out their smartphones and open an app to vote in real-time polls about the biggest issues on her agenda.
“I will ask you, in the weekly radio address for example, do you think you should know where your money is being spent and go to zero based budgeting? Press 1 for yes, press 2 for no.”
The refrain has become common thread in Fiorina’s stump speech pitch. And though it sometimes evokes the laughter from the audience, it’s no joke to Fiorina.
Perhaps it is in part Fiorina’s former experience as the chief executive of a technology company speaking, but she believes such an app is not only achievable but has the potential to make the wheels of Washington move more effectively.
“This technology exists, ladies and gentlemen,” she says. “It’s vital to use it and channel the common sense and good judgment of the American people and put pressure on the political system to move, politicians move under pressure.”
The president-to-people app is one piece of Fiorina’s vision to restore what she sees as a lost “citizen government” – by which citizens are regularly engaged in the political process beyond Election Day.
“Given the numbers of people in this nation who are disgusted with the professional political class, the fact that 75 percent of people now think the federal government is corrupt, I think the American people are going to vote on these issues,” she said. “And it’s important because it means that the politicians, their elected representatives in Washington will understand that citizens are prepared to participate in the process and their government back."