Qualifications for President

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The necessary requirements are not stiff: “No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.” The sufficient requirement is that a person who meets the necessary constitutional requirements just mentioned receives an absolute majority (270) of electoral votes by presidential electors selected and determined by the laws of each state.

A qualification is “a quality or accomplishment that makes someone suitable for a particular job or activity.” There are no necessary or sufficient non-constitutional qualifications for becoming president. One need not have accomplished anything or be suitable for the position by any non-constitutional criterion. One need only meet the constitutional requirements stated above.  Any non-constitutional qualifications thought to be important are solely in the minds of the people in the parties who put up candidates, the voters in the popular elections, and the electors.

While this is all obvious, it is a problematic procedure. It reduces all knowledge in the selection process to a “point”, which is the final vote. Each step also collapses subjective knowledge into a point. Each step involves assessments by diverse individuals on unknown factors and unknown preferences with unknown weights, the result being to sift through candidates who compete with one another and to choose one. No one can possibly know or understand what the result actually means. Furthermore, these selection processes are all heavily determined by parties, ballot rules, convention rules, campaign contributions, ads, charges, lies, counter-lies, exaggerations, mis-statements, smears, emotional appeals, and so on that also are problematic.

What does an election like this really do? What does it really mean? How can anyone elected claim a mandate for any program or especially any policy under these conditions? How can anyone elected claim that a vote means approval of past policies? How can anyone elected know why he was elected? When all preferences and voters’ assessments of their own welfare are collapsed and homogenized like mixed nuts and fruits being diced and crushed and then baked into one cake, how can anyone elected even claim to know what’s in the public interest?

7:20 am on September 26, 2012