In the next few days, the United States will elect the 45th President of the United States (POTUS). With near complete certainty, either Hillary Rodham Clinton or Donald John Trump will be sworn in on January 20th following eight years of President Barack Hussein Obama II’s tenure in the oval office. The nation, and the world, have watched the debates, listened to the pundits and seen the television ads. And while many of the U.S. voting population feel strongly for one candidate or the other, the reality is that the election will likely be determined by the many who remain undecided.
Over the past two years, I have been asked directly or indirectly by thousands of potential voters who they should vote for. My answer has, I hope, been consistent through these countless speaking engagements, discussions and social media exchanges. It is more important how you vote than who you vote for.
How to Vote Like It Matters
Rule #1. Be Selfish. Ensure the person you vote for will make the best decisions for you, your family and the country. Whether the person looks like you, talks like you or claims your political party is inconsequential. What is consequential is how that candidate will keep you safe, improve the economy and make your overall quality of life better; or at least not worse.
Rule #2.Treat your presidential voting privileges as if you get to choose the next Chairman of the world’s biggest organization. Of course, it is your right as a voter to select a candidate based on genuinely unimportant factors such as gender, skin color or the political party a particular candidate is currently associated. But if you are serious about selecting the best candidate for the job, you will treat your vote as if you are on the Board of Directors of the world’s largest corporation about to select the world’s most influential Chairman of the Board.
Rule #3. Know the job requirements for the President you are about to hire. Now that you have decided to treat your voting duty in a business-like manner, what is the job description for the position of President of the United States? The narrative is found in the United States Constitution, Article II. It’s easy to find and important to recognize that the job requires bestowing upon this person the power to serve as Commander In Chief of the Armed Services; hold the power to make treaties with other countries; appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Judges of the Supreme Court along with numerous other responsibilities that shape the future of our communities and way of life. Specifically, the President:
- Shall serve as Commander In Chief of the Armed Services and the militia of some states when called into service by the United States;
- May require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices;
- Shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment;
- Shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;
- Shall, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law:
- Shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
- Shall from time to time give to the Congress Information on the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;
- May, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper;
- Shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers;
- Shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
Rule #4. Know how the President may be removed from office. Fundamentally, a President may be removed after four years if s(he) is not re-elected; after eight years due to term limits or after impeachment and conviction. This is important as there is both a defined timeframe for serving in office and leading the country, and limits on what a president can and cannot do in carrying out their duties. Specifically, Section 4 of Article II of the Constitution states that “The President (and others) shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Section 1 of Article II limits each presidential term to four years. And Article XXII states that “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.”
Selecting your next President. So now that you have decided to selfishly treat your voting privilege as a business leader who is selecting the next mega leader who will best serve our great nation; and you know the requirements of the leader you are about to hire and how that person may be removed if they don’t perform properly, it is time to select your next President. One way is by placing a quantitative measure on your qualified assessment. The following grid may help:
So please don’t vote with your heart. Rather, vote but based on thoughtful analysis. Put another way, would you retain the most personable doctor to help you maintain your health or the most capable? Merit still counts and the responsibility—and privilege—for selecting the leader of our country rests on our shoulders…let’s think clearly, assess objectively and use criteria that ensure the best choice for our future.
Dr. William J. Parker III is an award winning author who holds a PhD from George Mason University's department of molecular and microbiology and an MA from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He co-authored the book, Jihadist Strategic Communication: As practiced by Usama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. His latest book, Guaranteeing America’s Security in the 21st Century will be released December 7, 2016.