Author: sarahwornow7

Candidates Running for Presidency Must Have Been Elected to a Public Office


CON (3 arguments)

Definitions:

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, an “Elected public official” is a person elected by a vote of the public to hold an office created by the Constitution or laws of a state.  This definition would not include military service as a “public office” but would include small elected offices such as County Coroner or School Board Member.

1. Presidents who have not held public office have been rated as some of our most successful Presidents.
Warrant:

Dwight Eisenhower never held public office before becoming President and is regarded as one of the top 10 Presidents of all time. According to the Schlesinger Poll of presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower was nominated as the 10th greatest president by presidential historians and scholars.  Prior to his presidency, he had no experience as a politician and had never been elected to a public office. However, Eisenhower obtained a truce in the Korean War and worked to ease the tensions of the Cold War during his terms as president. Not only that, but the economy boomed in the late 1950s, growing by 37% under his leadership. At the end of the decade, the median American family had 30% more purchasing power than at the beginning. Inflation, which had wreaked havoc on the economy immediately after World War II, was minimal, in part because of Eisenhower's persistent efforts to balance the federal budget.

Impact:

If we have had this limitation in the 1950s, great presidents like President Eisenhower, would never have been president.  This could have potentially changed the outcome of wars and the economy for the worse.  

Sources:

The White House

2. Requiring Presidential candidates to have held elected public office is Unconstitutional and not worthy of an Amendment to the Constitution.
Warrant:

The Framers of our Constitution did not want this limitation on our Presidents, and our Constitution has served our country well for 230 years. 

The founders of our country did not want to discourage any potential candidate for presidency because they knew that truly great leaders come from all walks of life.The Founders understood that we need to keep our election system open to anyone who could be a great leader.  Indeed, the Constitutional Framers did not put many limitations on who could run for the office of the President, only age and residency requirements.  The Constitution says: “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.” So even in the Constitution, there is no mention of the requirement to be an elected public official OR even to have any prior experience in anything at all.

Impact:

This minimal candidacy requirement has served our country well for 230 years and should not be changed now. The PRO will have to prove that the results of non-publically elected officials are so bad that you would go through the full extent of amending the Constitution.

Sources:

The US Constitution, Article II

3. A requirement like this would ruin our democracy.
Warrant:

Part of democracy is being allowed to vote for whoever you want. If we limit the people you can vote for, we are taking away the people’s freedom of choice which is an important part of our democracy. There are people that think presidents should have been elected to public office before, and those people can vote for candidates who have been elected to public office. However, if the majority of the population votes for a candidate that has not been elected to public office, that candidate should be president, since that is the way democracy works. We shouldn't discriminate based on gender or race, and we shouldn’t discriminate based on prior experience, because no one can know ahead of time whether someone has enough experience and will be a good president or not. According to The Atlantic Magazine, starting in 1996, presidential candidates with more experience consistently begin to lose.  And that makes sense: As voters have grown angrier with government, they have become more receptive to outsiders. Republicans, in general, are especially angry with government, so since 1980 their presidential candidates have had, on average, three to four years’ less experience than the Democrats’ candidates.

Impact:

By making this requirement a law, we are discriminating against those who have not had previous political experience.  We are also discriminating against those  with other areas of leadership and expertise (such as business or the military) to run for president.