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Unpublished Paper
“Mr. Presidential Candidate: Whom Would You Nominate?”
ExpressO (2008)
  • Stuart M Benjamin, Duke Law School
  • Mitu Gulati, Duke Law School

Presidential candidates compete on multiple fronts for votes. Who is more likeable? Who will more effectively negotiate 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. The importance of such appointments notwithstanding, presidential candidates are not pushed to name their prospective appointees, pre-election. In other words, we do not expect candidates to compete on naming the better slates of nominees. For the candidates themselves, not having to compete 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. We propose that candidates be induced out of the status quo. In the modern era of candidates responding to internet queries and a public asking questions via YouTube, it is plausible that the question – “Whom would you nominate (as Secretary of State or for the Court)?” – can be asked in a public setting. Maybe, if one candidate is behind in the race, he can be pushed to answer the question.

Publication Date
August 12, 2008
Citation Information
Stuart M Benjamin and Mitu Gulati. "“Mr. Presidential Candidate: Whom Would You Nominate?”" ExpressO (2008)
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