FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Presidential Aptitude Examination

Our system of holding Presidential elections every four years has much to recommend it.

As soon as an individual becomes a candidate for the highest office in the land his or her background is scrutinized by the press and s/he is tested in a variety of public forums. Nevertheless, candidates are not required to take a written examination that would provide voters with important additional information regarding their aptitude for the job. We propose they be given such an examination.

The exam might be called The Presidential Aptitude Examination and it would test each candidate’s knowledge of history, economics, science and other subjects as well as her or his analytical ability and ethical judgment. In order that all candidates would have an opportunity to take the exam it would be given once every year and more often during a presidential election year.

The exam would be a multiple choice test modeled on Civil Service Examinations, Graduate Record Examinations and other standardized tests and vetted by a committee of scholars of all political persuasions. Then no candidate who refused to take the exam and have her or his scores made public would be a credible candidate for President.

No doubt the most controversial part of the Presidential Aptitude Examination would be the section that tested ethical judgment. But experts in psychometrics should have no difficulty in devising a Situational Judgment Test which would allow voters to clearly distinguish each candidates approach to ethical issues such as the right to life, gay marriage, and torture and to thereby place them on a spectrum from conservative to liberal or rank them according to whatever other scale is most important to them.

In short, the Presidential Aptitude Exam would provide voters with an objective measure by which to evaluate candidates. The New York Times quoted John McCain as declaring at a rally in Orlando, Florida on Monday, January 28 that he has “the knowledge, the background and the judgment” to take on the challenge of Islamic extremism. The Presidential Aptitude Exam would help voters determine the validity of that statement. Mitt Romney says he has a better understanding of economics than McCain. A test would enable us to determine the accuracy of that claim.

People regularly joke about George Bush’s lack of intelligence and Hillary Clinton’s lack of ethics yet millions of people voted for Bush in the last Presidential election and millions more are ready to vote for Clinton today. Of course the reason may be that voters do not accept a comedian’s characterization of a candidate as fair. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that if a clear metric existed which allowed voters to determine a candidate’s aptitude to be President of the United States we would be less likely to end up with a President who lacked the knowledge, intelligence or ethical judgment required for the job.

Paul Cantor is a professor of economics at Norwalk Community College in Connecticut

Roger Sparks is a professor of economics at Mills College in Oakland, California

 

 

 

 

 

April 19, 2018
Ramzy Baroud
Media Cover-up: Shielding Israel is a Matter of Policy
Vijay Prashad
Undermining Brazilian Democracy: the Curious Saga of Lula
Steve Fraser
Class Dismissed: Class Conflict in Red State America
John W. Whitehead
Crimes of a Monster: Your Tax Dollars at Work
Kenn Orphan
Whistling Past the Graveyard
Karl Grossman - TJ Coles
Opening Pandora’s Box: Karl Grossman on Trump and the Weaponization of Space
Colin Todhunter
Behind Theresa May’s ‘Humanitarian Hysterics’: The Ideology of Empire and Conquest
Jesse Jackson
Syrian Strikes is One More step Toward a Lawless Presidency
Michael Welton
Confronting Militarism is Early Twentieth Century Canada: the Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Alycee Lane
On David S. Buckel and Setting Ourselves on Fire
Jennifer Matsui
Our Overlords Reveal Their Top ‘To Do’s: Are YOU Next On Their Kill List?
George Ochenski
Jive Talkin’: On the Campaign Trail With Montana Republicans
Kary Love
Is It Time for A Nice, “Little” Nuclear War?
April 18, 2018
Alan Nasser
Could Student Loans Lead to Debt Prison? The Handwriting on the Wall
Susan Roberts
Uses for the Poor
Alvaro Huerta
I Am Not Your “Wetback”
Jonah Raskin
Napa County, California: the Clash of Oligarchy & Democracy
Robert Hunziker
America’s Dystopian Future
Geoffrey McDonald
“America First!” as Economic War
Jonathan Cook
Robert Fisk’s Douma Report Rips Away Excuses for Air Strike on Syria
Jeff Berg
WW III This Ain’t
Binoy Kampmark
Macron’s Syria Game
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
Katie Fite
Chaos in Urban Canyons – Air Force Efforts to Carve a Civilian Population War Game Range across Southern Idaho
Robby Sherwin
Facebook: This Is Where I Leave You
April 17, 2018
Paul Street
Eight Takeaways on Boss Tweet’s Latest Syrian Missile Spasm
Robert Fisk
The Search for the Truth in Douma
Eric Mann
The Historic 1968 Struggle Against Columbia University
Roy Eidelson
The 1%’s Mind Games: Psychology Gone Bad
John Steppling
The Sleep of Civilization
Patrick Cockburn
Syria Bombing Reveals Weakness of Theresa May
Dave Lindorff
No Indication in the US That the Country is at War Again
W. T. Whitney
Colombia and Cuba:  a Tale of Two Countries
Dean Baker
Why Isn’t the Median Wage for Black Workers Rising?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
C. L. Cook
Man in the Glass
Kary Love
“The Mob Boss Orders a Hit and a Pardon”
Lawrence Wittner
Which Nations Are the Happiest―and Why
Dr. Hakim
Where on Earth is the Just Economy that Works for All, Including Afghan Children?
April 16, 2018
Dave Lindorff
President Trump’s War Crime is Worse than the One He Accuses Assad of
Ron Jacobs
War is Just F**kin’ Wrong
John Laforge
Nuclear Keeps on Polluting, Long After Shutdown
Norman Solomon
Missile Attack on Syria Is a Salute to “Russiagate” Enthusiasts, Whether They Like It or Not
Uri Avnery
Eyeless in Gaza   
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Then, Syria Now
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail