The travesty and peril of the Donald Trump presidency tells us there is something fundamentally wrong with the way we pick our political leadership. We are all aware, I hope, of the shoddy election system that can put a fool or potential tyrant in control of our government.
No need to go into details of the corruption of gerrymandering voting districts to allow minority candidates to win federal representative elections, of the unreliable voting machines, the discarding of valid votes, the suppression of voting rights, the heavy influence of campaign money in elections. This article is about the eligibility and selection of candidates for president and Congress. It summarizes previous articles.
The constitution imposes no qualifications on the experience and character of the candidate, other than age and citizenship. This, theoretically, would allow virtually anyone to run for president. In the early years of our nation this was not an issue because there was a very small pool of educated and qualified men having leadership potential. I presume no farmers (except gentlemen farmers) or laborers would have been interested in the job.
The world today is entirely different, highly technical, diversified and complex. We would expect the president to meet the highest standards of leadership to guide the country through difficult challenges. In the professional worlds of science, medicine, corporate business, law, and academia, high hurdles of education, experience, talent and success are normally set for advancement. In the steps for advancement in academic fields, increasingly difficult tasks and tests must be performed successfully.
Nothing like this applies to the choice for, perhaps, the most critical job in the world: the leader of the most influential nation on Earth. No serious psychological evaluation is required, which likely could reveal dangerous symptoms of personality. There is no thorough official public investigation of the candidate's history concerning his moral integrity. No intelligence test is required, in lieu of a lengthy career of significant accomplishment and public service, that might indicate a low potential for competency. Certainly, there are many highly qualified people for the job.
Of the various steps that could be taken to re-direct our declining democracy, cleaning up the corrupt electoral process - in particular, the selection of candidates - would be the starting point. This cannot be realized without a constitutional amendment defining a uniform and trustworthy electoral process. We are years (centuries?) behind in constitutional amendments needed to keep Democracy alive and well in present times.