by Jon Perkins
Widener University Political Science Major
The current system of electing presidents in America produces good executives. A modern election properly tests the ability and character of a candidate. The system provides a large sweep through the candidates’ histories, finding any skeletons, and requires both major candidates to have a few qualities that are also needed to make a good president. There is some room for improvement in the system, mostly in the selection of party nominees.
The current election system is a long and drawn out affair. Starting the November before the election, the entire race lasts at least a year. This allows all the news organizations to have plenty of time taping and researching the several candidates that try the system. News channels get excited during national elections and scrutinize or adore each candidate, depending on their orientation. Though the news in America can be very biased, there are many news organizations. This allows people to get news from several sources and find the truth they want to hear. All the organizations will also jump on any candidate’s story if they find something that wouldn’t make a good president. Those candidates that are considered the front runners are always under the greatest scrutiny. Soon after Herman Cain became the presidential front runner, the news organizations quickly found out about his sexual abuse violations. John Edwards was to be the 2008 presidential nominee, until the National Inquirer found out about his mistress. Even the presidents elected are found to have a few stains, like Obama’s ties to his old, Black power preacher. The news organizations thoroughly vet every candidate and help remove candidates that would not have been good presidents.
By the time a major candidate receives their party’s nomination, they have shown several characteristics. Each candidate shows they have organizational coherence, message delivery, party unity, coalition expansion, and political renewal. Each of these qualities reflects the six Greenstein qualities that determine how successful a president will be. Organizational coherence shows how well the candidates can manage both their businesses and their party. The candidates have shown that they can properly run and profit from their original job. They also show that they can organize at least part of their party to help them get nominated. These reflect the organizational capacity of a person. Organizational capacity is how well a president can set up his staff and cabinet, which is like running a business or running a campaign team. It also reflects political skill, how well a president can gain supporters from the populace and the other politicians. The ability to organize a party’s politicians in their best interest shows that the candidate can deal with other politicians.
Message delivery is the candidate’s ability to effectively communicate a coherent set of ideas for governing. This is the same as effectiveness as a public communicator, which is how well a president can communicate to the country. It takes a candidate with at least decent speech ability to make it to the presidential nomination. Message delivery also shows vision, how well a president can make logical and workable plans and goals. A candidate must go on many debates, even before they receive their party’s nomination. There they give and explain what they want to do as a president.
The third quality needed to win the nomination is party unity. This shows that the candidate can rally most if not all of his/her party. It’s proven by the nominee winning the nomination. This quality reflects political skill. Party unity requires the candidate to find support in both the regular members of the party and the politicians that are also in the party. Party unity is the same thing as political skill, but at a smaller scale.
Collation expansion is the ability of the nominee to gain support from outside the party. Since all elections are decided by the moderate votes, this quality is important for election. The quality is also like political skill. It’s more like political skill than party unity, since the nominee has to show that he can gain support from the other members of the political community. It shows he can work with other side.
Political renewal is the party’s ability to field other politicians who will entice their supporters and show off future candidates for the nomination, especially if the current one fails. This can also help the nominee by giving him support by popular political figures in his/her party, and gives him/her a selection of helpful Vice Presidential running mates. This can show the nominee’s political skill, his/her ability to gain support from politicians and voters. Having the support of a popular politician can easily gain large amounts of his constituents to your ticket and your agenda.
When the final two candidates are chosen, both are good presidents since they both passed the tests of the primaries. Though both are good candidates, they don’t have to be the best one from the primaries. The selection of a nominee has to pass the two previous tests, but only past not excel. Then to win the candidates must slug it out with the money they can find. This allows people who can easily find or raise lots of money, Romney, to get ahead of people who may deserve the nomination more, Ron Paul. How elections are funded and unregulated allows not the best candidate, but the best money maker with the largest super PAC. This also comes with candidates having to get support from people or organizations that would have agendas different to a president’s. Campaign funding is something that needs to be changed to create better and fairer elections. Another way to create a better selection of nominees for the presidential election is to involve more Americans. A little more than half the people vote in the election and less in the primaries. Banning negative political ads and supporting another major party would help increase voter participation. Negative ads and actions by politicians are disliked by the general public and push them away from political participation. A third party, one that would be the more moderate of the three, would give people more choices in candidates, and would allow people who don’t side with the current parties to have a party that’s more suited to them. The current election system is good, but it could and should be improved.
Presidential elections are won on three things; President’s or previous president’s job approval rating in July, GDP growth in the first six months of the election year, and the number of consecutive terms a party has held the office. High approval, good economy, and having less than three consecutive years in the office will give the current holding party the advantage in the election. If you’re not liked and it’s a bad economy then you won’t be elected, and Americans like to switch up the office after a while. With only two choices, the people will either keep the team that’s doing well or switch it out for doing bad. Elections are also determined by the moderates, because the conservatives and the liberals will vote in their expected parties. Since both the left and right are about equal, the remaining middle picks their candidate. The current system maybe predictable, but it works, and the presidents it has given us have done their jobs. The current electoral system is good for picking good presidential candidates.