Monday, July 24, 2006

Presidential Candidate Overview

Who is eligible to be a presidential candidate?

According to the Constitution, any native born American older than 35. You do not have to be a lawyer (thank goodness), or have previously held elective office.

Until the
12th Amendment, the President & Vice were the number 1 & 2 most votes in the Electoral College.

14th Amendment, abolished the three-fifths compromise and thus allowed "slaves" to vote and, I suppose, be elected into office.

Nineteenth Amendment gave women the vote and thus the ability to hold office.

However, until the past few years, to be a viable candidate, one needed to be a white,
Christian male. Preferably the candidate is over six feet tall, married, and has a full head of hair.

Functionally, to be elected president, you need to be nominated by one of the two major parties. No third party has won the Presidency (except when they actually became the majority party - see the transition from
1852 when the two parties were Democrat vs. Whig and in 1856 when the Whigs were outvoted by the Republicans, even though the Democrats won, and finally 1860 when the Republicans won and the Whigs were nearly non-existent)

Until 1968, the local and statewide political machines determined who would receive the nomination of the major political parties. After that point, the McGovern Rule was implemented by the Democrats, relying on state caucuses to determine delegates.

To be considered a viable presidential candidate you need to fall into one of three groups:

1. Current or recent elected official (usually a Governor, Senator or Cabinet Secretary)

2. Eccentric Zillionaire (e.g. Ross Perot)

3. Independent Celebrity from
movies or sports (e.g. Schwarzenegger for a governorship; not sure if this one applies outside of California, nor has it happened for the Presidency)

Realisticly, as a quick glance at the
list of Candidates for the Democrats and Republicans will show, the people I will analyze are from category 1. 2 & 3 will arise only as a sign of terrible times, and I don't need to predict that seriously.

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