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.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/stuart_benjamin/9/