Constitutional Requirements for Serving as POTUS

Yesterday was the inauguration ceremony for the 44th Presidential term. The occasion prompts me to write this post on the constitutional requirements for a citizen aspiring to serve as President. 

Those requirements are breathtakingly simple: “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.” Article II, Section 1, paragraph 5.

Born citizen of the US, at least 35 years of age, and must have lived here for at least 14 years. That’s it?! A quick look at 2010 estimates of age/gender distribution on Wolfram Alpha shows us that over 75 million men and well over 81 million women meet the age requirement. That’s 156 million people, or about half of our total population. Of course the data is not perfect or clean – it is just age and gender distribution of the population. Some percentage is not a U.S. Citizen (born or naturalized), may not have lived in the country for 14 years, etc. But the point is that A LOT of people are constitutionally qualified to serve. How we end up with an ostensible TWO candidates each election boggles the mind and will be explored in future posts.

Unfortunately, if you qualify and would like to run for President yourself, it’s not as simple as folks walking into the voting booth and writing your name in as their choice. We’re dealing with bureaucracy after all! As such there are legal requirements and compliance procedures that must be met and followed for those votes to be legally counted. The thrust of this blog/project is to document the process that qualifies write-in votes for a candidate to be legally counted. The candidate in question will be myself and to understand my motivation you can read my first post.

Ambition Should Be Made of Sterner Stuff

“Ambition should be made of STERNER stuff” – Shakespeare, Julius Caesar Act 3, scene 2, 91-94

Well now, how’s that for bold?! Not bold in the sense that old Bill wrote it, but in the way I’m using it to open my first post. And even more so in the way my Great Grandfather was inspired by the phrase to choose the name ‘Sterner’ at Ellis Island as a Swedish immigrant. He arrived with the family name Gustafson and, having chosen Shakespeare’s works to teach him English, announced STERNER when prompted for a NEW name in his NEW country.

Now how do I honor his bold choice and what does this blog have to do with it? To put a fine point on it, I intend to run for President of The United States of America (POTUS) in every election for the rest of my life. The election of 2016 will be the first in which I meet every constitutional requirement for holding the office of the Presidency. Before you dismiss this as fringe lunacy, read on and allow me to explain.

The political state of affairs in America is at an all-time low, with such ideological polarity and two-party dominance that I, like so many Americans, am fed up with the platforms supporting our two main parties. Every election cycle the predictable deception, pandering, and vitriol of both parties is on display for the American electorate. Intense effort is made by each party to differentiate themself from the other. And while they are indeed separated by an ideological gulf, the governing record of both in power is remarkably close in shoreline. So what appeared to be a stark choice during the election amounts to the same old governance we’ve all grown to loathe.

And around one year in advance of the quadrennial election, the voting public can be heard saying, in millions of conversations, ‘well I don’t like either party/candidate very much, so I will just vote for the lesser of two evils’. I demand we ask WHY we feel the need to settle for what appears to be the lesser of two evils. What compels us to buy into this manufactured choice? Is it because we’re so convinced the party most representative of our opposing ideology will govern as such? Is it because we’re so convinced that the party most representative of our favoring ideology will be so superior? I suggest yes on both counts. And I suggest we’re wrong in falling for this false choice. There must be a better way.

I have decided personally to no longer compromise my political beliefs; our government is one By The People, For The People. And as such my positions are just as credible as any other American’s, whether that American is carefully groomed for power by party elite or reduced to a statistical ‘voter’ by the same elite.

So I am beginning my own political experiment by running for POTUS myself from here on out. No more compromise, no more choices for the ‘lesser of two evils’. If on my deathbed I can look back and say that, politically, I always voted for the candidate who BEST represented MY beliefs, then I will be a satisfied man. Beginning now, that candidate is me. And if the only legally counted vote I receive in each election is my own then so be it. If it inspires others to make the same choice, then all the better. I hope my experiment leads their way or at least assists them in discovering great candidates organically.

I will use this blog to document my journey: obstacles, successes, failures, and frustrations. As I write this I don’t know if my name will legally qualify as a write-in vote – in my home state or others – in 2016. But I’m going to make one hell of an effort to make it so.

Thomas Jefferson expressed my motivation best when he said, “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it“. Our founding fathers set forth simple requirements for citizens aspiring to the office of the Presidency. Those requirements should make my quest a highly viable one, but what inconveniences I encounter along the way remain to be seen.

Welcome to my journey and thank you for your interest.