• Bethany Z. Herbert

The President Test

I’m frustrated with politics.

Shocker, right? Who EVER gets frustrated with politics?

It's just that I caught part of a presidential debate the other day, and I was shocked at how all the lines they pulled from it were spoken as someone else was ranting about something else or trying to refute something else that was said. It was a wonder that anyone was able to understand anything. The poor mediator had his hands full trying to reign in the rambling argumentative chaos that was anything but a civilized debate.

That’s what got me thinking: Why isn’t there some type of presidential test to evaluate important characteristics that people should be concerned their president has? Anyone could still run for president, but anyone could also access the results of the test to see how a potential candidate ranked in things like diplomacy, character, and basic governmental knowledge tests.

This has surely been thought of before. Surely. But it doesn't seem to exist yet.

Anyway, while I was musing, I came up with some tests. I'm sure they need to be tweaked, but I think they're a step in the right direction.

Governmental/Constitutional written test

Seems like a bit of a no-brainer, but one that could potentially be very telling.

Presidential candidates must complete a written test that goes over how our government is set up. Questions would include details about the constitution, how the 3 branches of the government work, what each amendment means to them, etc.

Essay questions would be included, such as “Under what terms would you consider you had a successful/failed presidency at the end of your term if you were elected?” No right or wrong answer, but people like to review the answers of their candidates.

Debate test

My impression of a debate is: someone answers a question on an issue. Someone else gives their two cents. There’s a rebuttal back and forth. Next question. The last debate I saw was not a debate; it was an argument with everyone talking at once and slinging mud. In this debate, candidates get strikes for interrupting and mudslinging. Too many strikes, and their mike gets shut off for a penalty time. Three shut downs and they’re out of the debate.

Kid variation: The candidates visit a local school and conduct a simple assembly. Later, students from the debate class/team who were present at the assembly are paired with the candidate for their debate as an assistant. The pair go into a debate together. The candidate is expected to behave at least as good as the debate student, or else face embarrassment if they didn’t.


Presidential hopefuls meet with a representative of various countries, up to two times a day for two weeks, generally during mealtimes. The representatives later fill out a form evaluating the candidate’s demeanor, manners, conduct, and give thoughts on their overall impression of the person, as well as how they think they would do when conducting international relations.


Presidential hopefuls meet in a large room with representatives from various religions, movements, and political standpoints. In a slower form of speed dating, they interview and speak with each one at length, taking notes and asking questions. Each representative fills out a form detailing the type of questions the candidate asked, their level of courtesy and concern, and overall impressions.

Panelists might include: a staunch feminist, Republican, Democrat, Tea Party advocate, Muslim, Mormon, Catholic, Atheist, Black rights activist, policeman, etc.

Bonus points if they talk to the homeless person sitting outside.


All presidential hopefuls engage in some type of community service. They have a television interview that evening. Just as they are about to leave to get to their interview, they are asked, after several hours of labor already, to stay and help clean up or put the last few things away. Service workers report on the candidate’s reaction, work ethic, helpfulness, and whether or not they stayed to help, whether they were able to help with/without being late for their interview.


Tests would include basic fun ones like the color code personality test and the meyers-briggs test, but also include tests that could be administered by any psychologist to check for things like borderline-personality disorder, narcissism, etc. It might be necessary to have them conducted by multiple psychologists and drawn from random to attempts to avoid corruption, but it would be nice to know that there weren’t any glaring behavioral issues, as well as just knowing a bit more about how they work.

Any other thoughts for tests? What would improve these ones? What else would we need to know about a candidate to feel better about their presidency? I mean, there would still be rally’s and speeches and everything we have going on now, but maybe, just maybe, if there were a presidency test, the whole running system would have more of a foundation. Would you want to know if the candidate who's speech you appreciated failed the diplomacy test? Or didn't know anything about how our government functions? I realize that the candidates could and would act and put on a good face, but I suppose if they’re only acting diplomatic and polite, that’s still what they would need to to in an actual negotiating situation. I would love these to get fleshed out and put into reality someday. I’d love to log online and review the results of the written test or the thoughts of the representatives of the diplomacy test for any given presidential hopeful.

I can dream, can’t I?

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