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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Over the past few weeks, it appeared as though Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were about ready to channel a Mortal Kombat-level deathmatch over each other’s qualifications. The fire may have subsided, but many voters, including us Alligator staffers, still wonder: Is either Sanders or Clinton truly qualified to be president? Better yet, what does it mean to be “qualified”?

We looked it up, and according to every source we could find, including the Library of Congress’ website, the only three qualifications for the presidency are as follows: One must be 35 years of age or older, a natural-born U.S. citizen and a U.S. resident for at least 14 years. By these standards, really anyone could be president. Now some of you might think, “Well that’s fine and dandy, but experience is really the determining factor.” Not necessarily.

Ronald Reagan didn’t enter politics until he was 55, following a career in acting and television hosting. Yet Reagan is easily one of the most memorable presidents of recent history; a particular party even lauds him as the best we’ve had. On the other end of the spectrum, Richard Nixon walked in with an incredible amount of governing experience. Yet, when push came to shove, Watergate happened and now many look back on him with disdain.

We’ve disregarded experience for charisma and likeability before. Now, as the 2016 primary season draws to a contentious close, we the people need to make some important decisions.

In the event the GOP is tasked with appointing a new nominee at a contested Republican convention this July, or let’s say Thursday’s Democratic debate in Brooklyn, New York, gets so lit from the amount of shots fired and shade thrown that Sanders and Clinton are forced to suspend their campaigns, we need to start thinking of candidates who can step up to the plate. Remember, the candidate must be “qualified.”

How about Mark Ruffalo? Not only does he fit the three requirements, but he also has firsthand experience with keeping us safe from actual illegal aliens as The Incredible Hulk. When Dwight D. Eisenhower described the presidency in 1955, he argued, “No man on earth knows what this job is all about; it’s pound, pound, pound.” Well, can you think of anyone who pounds better than an angry, green and half-naked Ruffalo himself?

Or what about a tree? In terms of being 35 years or older in age, any tree by the Reitz Union North Lawn, for instance, is far more qualified than any candidate we have. Think about it: Trees are the classic American story. From humble beginnings, starting off with nothing but dirt (or soil), they rise from the ground up while maintaining deep roots in neighboring ethnic communities. And they bring that fresh outsider’s perspective voters love, literally: They’ve been outside all of their lives. Not to mention, they have yet to take a single cent from Wall Street or Big Pharma  —  maybe a little bit from Big Ferna.

All this to say, the media’s “he said, she said” over this qualifications issue was unnecessary. Clearly, both candidates are qualified: turn the page, next chapter. Besides, at the end of the day, we all really just want to see Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert descend from the heavens and save our political system. #StewartColbert2020

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