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Handout B: Sorting the Candidates (The Election of 1800)

Sorting the Candidates

The Constitution as originally ratified made no provision for sorting potential candidates for the presidency. This system worked well enough when George Washington was, without question, “first in the hearts of his countrymen.” After our first two elections, however, when Washington refused to run for a third term and several individuals all wanted to become President, selecting the President became more complicated.

PART ONE: Listed below are some reasons for having a candidate sorting process. Read them; add any which might be missing; and then rank them with #1 being the most important and #10 being the least important.

  • to give the general electorate the widest possible range of choice in candidates
  • to identify the most experienced candidates
  • to identify the wisest candidates
  • to identify the candidates closest to the principles of their party’s platforms
  • to identify the candidates best able to cooperate with Congress
  • to identify the candidates best able to cooperate with world leaders
  • to identify the candidates who want the office most
  • Other:
  • Other:
  • Other:

PART TWO: How well do political parties accomplish these goals?