This is part 1 of a two-part series on the 2016 United States Presidential Election. To read part 2, click here.
I know I said I wasn't going to get all serious in this blog, but with Super Tuesday approaching I felt it was prudent for me to cover my thoughts on the current race for Supreme Leader - I mean President - of the United States. I have been following Presidential elections since Clinton was running against Bush Sr. when I was 10 years old. In 34 years of life, containing 24 years following politics, that include 6 different presidential elections, with 12 different primaries, I have never seen an election that made me as sick to my stomach as this one.
Neither side of the aisle is putting up anything that resembles a competent candidate, and both sides of the aisle are putting up candidates that are crazier than they are unqualified (I'm looking at you, Bernie Sanders). I know that's a bold statement, and I know that all you people feeling the Bern are going to get your government issued panties in a bunch, but let me explain my reasoning.
Maybe it's that I'm getting old, or maybe it's that I'm a middle-manager now, but I have come to view a Presidential election as a very long, very stressful, very annoying job interview. When interviewing anyone for a job you should look at the prior work history of the candidate to determine if they have previously demonstrated the skills required to perform the primary function of the job they are applying for. If they haven't, you shouldn't really waste your time bringing them in for an interview (at least not with a job as high-risk, high-stress as Leader of the Free World).
So with that in mind, let's explore the candidates remaining in this election through the lens of a hiring manager looking through resumes.
Leading off is famed neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson. Here we have a man whose claim to fame is that he successfully separated conjoined twins who were joined at the head. It is reported that those twins did not fare well after the surgery. But hey, at least they were separated, right?
The Pros: He's completed multiple advanced degree programs. He has held a job that requires critical thinking, an ability to remain calm under pressure, and to make life or death decisions on a daily basis. This is a promising start.
The Cons: Oh wait. He's never held a political office at all, let alone one that requires knowledge of foreign affairs, making military decisions, and complex economic forces. Not exactly the kind of resume you want in a Commander-in-Chief. NEXT!
Next up to the plate is former First Lady/Senator/Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton. This is a woman who has been involved in law and politics for all of her life.
The Pros: She has held a number of jobs in the federal government and is married to a former President. She has foreign affairs experience, legislative experience, and her closest mentor is a former President. Of all the candidates still in the running, her resume is definitely near the top of the pile.
The Cons: The only real hole in her resume is a lack of any executive offices held. She's never been a Mayor, or Governor, or run her own business. People underestimate the importance of this experience. I promise, it's pretty critical. Regardless, her lack of experience is not exactly a deal breaker (especially since her Husband has a LOT of executive experience), but this is definitely a strike against her.
Batting third, Texas Senator, Ted Cruz. A fairly successful lawyer before becoming a Senator, he has only really been involved with Politics since 1999 when began working on the George W. Bush campaign. I was surprised to learn that he's only 45 years old. He looks much more... old and stuffy.
The Pros: He's a sitting U.S Senator with a Harvard and Princeton education. He also worked in the Attorney General's office under George Bush's first term, so he's got some Federal government experience.
The Cons: He's only been a Senator for 3 years and he held no other elect office before that. He's never held an executive office, and he's never even run his own business. He's also never served in the Military, although he has served on Senate Armed Services committee. His resume would definitely earn consideration for Vice President, but as a Presidential candidate he needs much more seasoning.
The cleanup hitter on this team is Ohio Governor, John Kasich. Kasich is a career politician with a degree in Political Science and experience as both an executive and a legislator.
The Pros: He was U.S. Congressman for 18 years, a banker for 7 years, and has been Governor of Ohio for 5 years. This is about as well rounded of a Presidential resume as you're going to get. This is the first person I am calling to schedule an interview with. Hands down.
The Cons: Remember when I said he was a banker? Well he was a Managing Director at Lehman Brothers when they went bankrupt. He wasn't running the company or anything like that, but he was there and he got a big bonus despite them going under. That's a little fishy. He's also got about as much Military and Foreign Policy experience as my 5 year old Godson. Actually, my Godson watches a lot of Marvel movies. He might have more experience with military tactics.
Batting fifth is Florida Senator, Marco Rubio. The youngest candidate in the race. He's a career lawyer and politician. He also taught Law at Florida International University.
The Pros: He served 9 years in the Florida House of Representatives, and has been Senator of Florida for the past 5 years. This puts him well ahead of his only contemporary in the race, Ted Cruz, as far as experience goes. If you have to pick one of them, this is the one you pick.
The Cons: He's never held an executive office, he's only got 5 years of total Federal government experience, and it's unclear whether he can even spell "Military." Also, he's from Florida. Being from Florida is just a general black mark on anyone's resume. (Sorry, Nick but you know it's true)
Luckily for me, alphabetical order leaves the two nut-bags for last. Batting sixth in the lineup is Vermont Senator, Larry David - errr, I mean, Bernie Sanders.
The Pros: For starters, he served as Mayor of Burlington, VT for a number of years. We like executive experience. He's also been a U.S. Senator for 9 years. In total, he has 35 years of experience as an elected official. On paper this looks pretty good. But if you did a little deeper you find something else.
The Cons: So yeah, about that experience... For one, Burlington, VT has a population of around 40,000. Not exactly the same scale as running an entire country. That's like hiring the manager at a successful McDonald's to run a $4 billion company. Apple and oranges. Also, his political career started in 1981 but he graduated from Chicago University in 1964. What was he doing for 17 years, you ask?. Well, besides trying to promote the Socialist movement, he worked a number of jobs (e.g. Carpenter, Teacher, Writer) with very little long-term success. If I bring him in for an interview, we're definitely discussing this gap in employment.
Last but not least, at the bottom of the order, we have Donald Trump. A business man, a reality TV star, and someone with zero experience in law or politics. I feel like this is exactly the person the Electoral College was designed to prevent from becoming President.
The Pros: Realistically, there are no positives on his resume. None. Nothing about his actual work resume says that he would make a good President. The fact that he has been the CEO of many companies would ALMOST be a positive, but...
The Cons: ... he's had to declare bankruptcy FOUR TIMES. I'm not naive, so I understand that this was just a ploy to reduce the amount of debt he owed. I also understand that you could make the case that declaring bankruptcy was a good business move. That doesn't matter, though. You can't declare bankruptcy on a country, so by his resume alone, I have no confidence in his ability to actually run anything. If you can't make money on a Casino, how can you expect to fix the economy?
So where does this leave us? Seven resumes, with three truly viable candidates, that's where. If I am a the hiring manager tasked with hiring the next President of the United States of America, I am walking over to the shredder and I'm sliding Cruz's, Carson's, and Trump's resumes right into the machine. I would definitely WANT to shred Sanders' too, but (A) it'll be fun pissing off all those Bernie Fanboys/Fangirls when I explain why he should never be President, and (B) I like balance.
In part 2 of this series, I will explore the 4 candidates that i would bring in for an interview (Hilary, Kasich, Rubio, and Sanders) and explain why none of them inspire anything even remotely resembling confidence in their ability to run the United States.