Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Subject Category

Law | Politics | Public Law and Legal Theory

Abstract

Presidential candidates compete on multiple fronts for votes. Who is more likeable? Who will negotiate more effectively with allies and adversaries? Who has the better vice-presidential running mate? Who will make better appointments to the Supreme Court and the cabinet? This last question is often discussed long before the inauguration, for the impact of a secretary of state or a Supreme Court justice can be tremendous. Despite the importance of such appointments, we do not expect candidates to compete on naming the better slates of nominees. For the candidates themselves, avoiding competition over nominees in the pre-election context has personal benefits—in particular, enabling them to keep a variety of supporters working hard on the campaign in the hope of being chosen as nominees. But from a social perspective, this norm has costs. This Article proposes that candidates be induced out of the status quo. In the current era of candidates responding to internet queries and members of the public asking questions via YouTube, it is plausible that the question—“Whom would you nominate (as secretary of state or for the Supreme Court)?”—might be asked in a public setting. If one candidate is behind in the race, he can be pushed to answer the question—and perhaps increase his chances of winning the election.