How To Become The President Of The United States
Let us talk about how to become the president of usa. When Barack Obama moved into the White House in January 2008, he became the 44th president of the United States of America. And despite the constantly shifting sands of global influence, the US President remains pretty much the most powerful individual on the planet. It’s a well-known truism that anyone can rise to this exalted.
First, a few formalities. According to the Second Article of the US Constitution, in order to become president you must:
Be a citizen born in the United States of America
• Be at least 35 years old (presumably the magical age at which you become imbued with wisdom)
• Have been resident in the USA or one of its dependent territories for the past 14 years.
If you still qualify, take a deep breath and ask yourself whether you really want the job – it’s not all about being driven round in limos and meeting celebrities. Consider how you’d feel having your life thrown open to minute inspection by press and your political opponents, living under constant heavily armed guard and having the final say on decisions such as whether or not to launch nuclear missiles – all for the relatively humble salary of US$400,000 a year.
If you still want the job, consider whether you fit the typical presidential profile. Every president so far has been a man – although Hilary Clinton came within a whisker of the Democratic candidacy in 2008, so perhaps times are changing. Harvard is the alma mater of choice for White House residents, and the average age of a president coming to power is just shy of 55.
More presidents have been registered as voters in New York than any other state (eight, to be precise), while eight were born in Virginia. Twenty-five have been lawyers by trade (the prime profession for aspiring presidents). Six were former career soldiers, while a further 25 had served spells in the armed forces. Fourteen served as vice president before moving up to the top job.
Once you start campaigning, you will need to be extraordinarily good at raising funds. According to some estimates, during the 2012 campaign Obama and his rival Mitt Romney spent almost US$6 billion between them. Primaries and caucuses to choose each party’s candidate begin in January in the year of elections. New Hampshire is traditionally the first to be held, and so generates massive media coverage. You don’t want to do badly there as it has a reputation for making or breaking a campaign.
Campaigning is exhausting and not a good fit with home life. You will need an understanding family who support you in all your goals. Alongside them, gather together a brilliant team of advisers, speech writers, media figures and strategists (if you have seen The West Wing, think of President Jed Bartlet’s killer team).
Bartlet’s killer team). Having secured your party’s nomination at the national convention, appoint a running mate who appeals to a demographic you don’t cover yourself. And remember, if you win but then die in office, they will take over – so try to make sure they’re at least mildly competent.
In the run-up to the November election, get used to kissing a lot of babies, pressing a lot of flesh and above all avoiding gaffes. In 1992, vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle looked very silly when he misspelled ‘potato’ on a primary school visit. George W. Bush made a career out of similar slip-ups (but still managed to get elected, of course).
However much it pains you, make friends with the media, and don’t have too much scandal in your background. In 1988 Gary Hart seemed assured of the Democrat ticket before allegations of infidelity with Donna Rice saw his campaign spectacularly derailed. That said, four years later Bill Clinton managed to shrug off allegations of an affair with model Gennifer Flowers. Clinton’s ability to rise above the rumours and innuendo also bears out a famous dictum: ‘it’s the economy, stupid’. This was an idea popularized by Clinton campaign strategist James Carville. Whatever else is going on, people tend to be most worried about the dollar in their pocket.
Ultimately, remember that you need a clear majority in the electoral college – not necessarily a majority of the popular vote – so be strategic on your campaign trail. In 2000 George W. Bush famously won with less of the vote than his Democrat opponent, Al Gore.
And don’t expect that life will get any easier once you’re in office. As Thomas Jefferson once wryly noted: ‘No man will ever bring out of the Presidency the reputation which carries him into it.