Frank Bruni posed an interesting idea last Wednesday: Donald Trump has forcefully demanded that Hillary Clinton take a drug test before seeking presidential office. Maybe she should, but Donald Trump should be subjected to a few tests himself.
First among Bruni’s proposals is a citizenship test. In order for someone to become a naturalized citizen of the United States, they must pass an examination testing basic knowledge of the country. One might reasonably question whether most born-citizens would be able to demonstrate sufficient knowledge for such an exam. Regarding a question related to the number of representatives in the House, he playfully inserts, “We could give him hints: your number of wives plus 432. The amount of federal income taxes you paid in 1995 plus 435.” Although partially made in jest, perhaps the author has a point. Donald Trump has not demonstrated a proclivity for fact-checking, and a test of his basic civic knowledge might be revealing. After all, do we want someone to have our nuclear launch codes if they can’t explain what the Judiciary Branch of government does?
Candidates have traditionally released their tax returns while running for office. What if Donald Trump released his credit score? He has driven multiple businesses to bankruptcy, and his business practices do not exactly present a spotless record of success. As the author asks, could he even qualify for a low-limit credit card?
As previously stated, much of the piece’s suggestions (such as Rorschach, Vision, and Lie-Dector tests) are made tongue-in-cheek. However, they do pose a very serious question: To what extent should candidates for the presidency be screened? It is, after all, among the most powerful positions on the planet. Should additional measures be added to ensure candidates’ qualifications? Should existing qualifications be removed or modified? How can we ensure that our potential leaders are as suitable for the job as they say they are?