What type of experience makes a candidate more Presidential?
This election cycle is proving to be considerably contentious; it’s hard to deny that fact. So far we’ve seen members of the same party going after one another on both sides of the aisle. It won’t be long before the field is whittled down to two, one from the right and another from the left, slugging it out in front of a nation that has instant communication at its fingertips in a way it never has had before, to prove who is more Presidential.
People “live tweet” debates, post memes on Facebook and form instant opinions about candidates and their platforms from ten second clips on cable news stations. While it may be en vogue to jump on any bandwagon that comes up with the cleverest quip, caption or put down, one has to wonder if any of the blustering and nonsensical pot shots are doing any of us any favors. You might think–Those politicians are all fake and deserve whatever they’ve got coming to them. Let them tear each other to shreds. Who cares?
The truth is, we should all care. We should care a great deal about who we put in the office of the Presidency. Four at least the next four years the direction of the country will largely depend on who sits behind the big desk in the Oval Office. So, if we step back from what Ted Cruz said about Marco Rubio in the last debate or what kind of wall Donald Trump says he’s going to build with China’s money, we might be able to see through the smoke screens and actually make some informed decisions about who is the most qualified. If we also listen carefully and fact-check the records of the democratic candidates, as well, we can judge for ourselves whom we trust most to hold the highest office in the land.
There has been an argument going on for some time in this primary, mostly on the right, about whether a governor or a senator is more qualified to up their pay grade to the post of President. Now that is actually a topic worth debating, as both have their own advantages and disadvantages. A business tycoon born with a silver spoon in his mouth would certainly not be someone qualified to enter the argument, but times certainly have changed. Everyone wants to be entertained, after all.
Looking at Presidential qualifications seriously, however, and tracing our country’s history, we find Presidents from both sides of the aisle who had cut their teeth on both the Senate floor and the governor’s mansions of several different states. So, who would be more qualified for the position of President? Are governors more prepared to take on the task, or do senators have the experience necessary? It’s a very good question and a consideration to be taken seriously.
If we look to the Historical Rankings of Presidents of the United States, which are rankings put together based on surveys of academic historians, political scientists and popular opinion, we find that, quantitatively, there really isn’t much of an edge that can be given to one over the other. It is often the particular time in history or the individual himself that determines his place and status. However, looking at the question qualitatively, each position has its advantages and disadvantages, but in terms of qualifications, it’s a bit of a coin toss.
A Governor can claim an advantage when it comes to executive experience. Working in a microcosm of the national governmental structure, a Governor has to know how to work with the state legislature to get things done. Governors must exercise the executive power in their hands in a very similar way a President would, while at the same time persuading law makers to work with their policies.
At the same time, a former Governor entering the White House can boast no foreign affairs experience and coming into Washington will be seen as an outsider, not necessarily prepared to do the job on a national level.
Senators, on the other hand, are used to working by committee, giving and taking on contentious issues. They have experience passing legislation and working the ins and outs of the federal legislative process. If a Senator is elected to the Presidency, he or she will have the experience of dealing with a larger number of national issues than a Governor would. Filling cabinet positions and making other appointments might be easier for one experienced in Washington.
Where a Senator may have a slight disadvantage is the lack of executive experience that a governor would have. Wielding the power of the Chief Executive is no easy task, and someone with that kind of knowledge could prove quiet effective.
Either way we decide to vote, it makes more sense to judge a candidate on their qualifications and actual experience in politics than whether or not they have used other people’s money to build lavish hotels or talked to someone while operating on their cerebral cortex.
We all say we want a change in politics, that we’re sick of the same old thing in Washington. Of course we are. But no one wants a former mechanic, fresh from his garage to administer their chemotherapy. It’s not about social class; it’s about qualifications, and the way things are in our world right now, we need the most qualified candidate in The White House. That, in and of itself, is Presidential