It is still a long way away before the General Election on November 3rd, 2020 and with the large amount of people expressing interest in forming exploratory committees or already running for President, it begs the question, should everybody run for President? And does everybody deserve to be President? There are very few requirements to be President:
One must be a natural born citizen (at least one parent must be an American citizen).
One must be at least 35 years of age.
One must be a resident for 14 years (an exception was given to General Eisenhower because had been fighting World War 2).
There are no other legal requirements to be President, however to consider running for President or other federally elected offices like Senator or Representative, having recognition and financial wealth (either your own or supporters) are essential. There is no other requirement to be President and so far, every person who has been the President, has had other political office at the federal, state, or local level, except one. I believe it is time to change this. There needs to be a stricter requirement before you can run for public office.
What kind of requirement should be necessary? One which doesn’t inhibit a person’s right to run for public office. I know, initially this kind of question then answer sounds counter-productive but, hear me out. The American public is severely lacking in knowledge on what exactly the three branches of government does, and I believe many of the elected officials are ignorant in the positions they are elected to, along with the responsibilities and duties of other officials. By tackling the issue of requiring beefed up civic courses on the responsibilities of the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative branches, we can help the people understand what happens in the American government. A more detailed series of courses would be offered to those seeking public office.
A properly educated electorate (and officials) should be capable then of making better informed decisions, but it is just part of the problem in our current political climate. The lack of a political education has hampered our system of government, but so has the belief that every multi-millionaire and billionaire should run to become President. You may be successful as a business tycoon who lends his name out to any property or make overpriced coffee which tastes like burnt beans on a good day, but it doesn’t mean you will even be a mediocre commander and chief.
Everybody deserves their fair shot at being elected to public office, and how to improve the situation and success rate of the non-wealthy, into office, is a subject for another day. Improving the quality of civic education is paramount because good majority of the politicians are either ignorant towards their responsibilities or blindly faithful to their party that they don’t care about the crimes and misdemeanors being committed. The Legislative Branch is an equal part of government, it is not subordinate to the Executive or Judicial Branches.
Is requiring a better understanding of the American political system enough? It may be to help the electorate make better informed decisions on who to vote for, but it won’t end the entitlement certain people feel about running for President. It has become accepted that presumed and actual billionaires have a right to run for President. Outside of being an alleged billionaire, the current occupant only had the legal requirements to fill the office. He lacked political knowledge, has a history of scorning policy, and not knowing diddly squat about anything, except how tooting his own ego.
Recently, Howard Schultz announced he was seeking to run for President in 2020, outside of making overpriced burnt coffee a supposed luxury, he has nothing but the legal requirements to hold the office. In recent days, Howard Schultz has proven himself beyond clueless on how the average American citizen and family struggles with every day issues like food, healthcare, rent, and student loans. I think everybody has the right to run for office, however, I think the higher up the socioeconomic ladder you are, the less relatable you are to the electorate. The majority of Americans live paycheck to pay check, and a large percentage of them cannot afford an emergency expense of $500. How does a billionaire relate to us? They don’t.
There is nothing wrong with a rich person holding office, and there are a lot of rich people who genuinely care about the less well off, and donate their time and money, and advocate for legislation which is favorable to the lower and middle-class citizens. However, most politicians who are well off do have skin in the game, they are not affected by the same issues as the working people. They do not understand the difficulty in affording healthcare, car payments, rent or mortgage, student loan payments, the cost of food, let alone the cost of trying to have a vacation. I’m not saying rich people shouldn’t be able to run for office, but I believe if the Representatives, Senators, and Presidents were more like the electorate, this country would probably be in a lot better of a place than it is now.