In the midst of their circling dialogue a new fact emerged from guest Karl Rove, the former senior advisor and deputy chief of staff to former President George W. Bush.
The discussion was about the number of states in which candidates were required to turn in signature sheets in order to appear on the ballot.
What really caught my attention was the white board Rove was holding up that had the names of five or six states written on it.
Then he talked about the number of precincts and number of signatures required from each state that the candidates would have to gather before Monday, Jan. 9.
These would be the same candidates that just departed Iowa to jump into a short week of stumping before the New Hampshire primary.
While Rove did say things like “500 signatures are required in each of the 19 precincts and another 5,000 in XXX state,” the facts didn’t linger because the daunting glimpse into the realities of a national campaign just wowed me.
Wow again. While on the road for likely 16 hours a day, speaking in back-to-back townhall meetings, participating in organized debates and stopping in cafes, county fairs and numerous other venues, the candidates must additionally keep themselves apprised of the ballot processes, including timelines, of 50 different states.
While it’s not likely the candidates have the same opportunity we do locally — where you can just stand outside the post office and gather a signature from nearly every registered voter in town — it still means they have to coordinate a reliable volunteer or paid staff to meet those individual state mandates in their absence.
Talk about a juggling act! That sounds like one too many balls to keep up in the air at the same time.
Rove also said something to the effect that the lack of an official presence on a state ballot would negate delegate votes at the national party convention but the fact finding into that tidbit will have to wait for another day.
While I’m thinking, and from the mindset of a semi-retired journalist, I know there is no way I would consider walking a mile in any of the candidate’s shoes.
Campaigns are, idealistically, probably pretty darned good training for any person running for the office of president of the United States.
While keeping 50 state briefing books might be quite a task, it certainly doesn’t stack up to the heavy responsibilities and hourly tracking required of the commander-in-chief.
The process does, I would hope, teach the values of teamwork and trust, two traits we expect from our future leaders.
Even though it’s a job I can’t fathom anyone in their right mind taking on, I can understand at least three of the purposes behind the effort: thinking you can make a difference, meeting the traditionally taught value of public service above self and then, of course, owning for the term limit the chair to what is often referenced as “the most powerful position in the world.”
As to this current crop of hopefuls, we will each have to wait to see what the future brings.
They too, like the sitting president of the United States, will in time be judged by history as to whether they are marathon fit to care for the people of America or simply tottering on feet of clay.
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