Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Virginia ballot requirements

The news that five of the seven Republican candidates failed to qualify for the Virginia ballot has elicited a fair amount of comment.   One angle is that the large failure rate told you the problem was the rules not the candidates.  This is a useful way to consider such things.  I once worked at a place that a 5 mile an hour speed limit and everyone drove 20 miles or so.  That was a good instance where behavior told you the rule was absurd (try driving 5 mph for any distance).

But in this case, the it’s a bad rule argument isn’t entirely convincing for the simple reason that this is the presidency we’re talking about.  The challenges ahead make following ballot requirements look like a walk in the park.

When I was attending Cornell’s business school one of the more memorable lectures was given by a guest economist.  The theme was that the school could teach anything so long as it was difficult.  The point being that from the potential employer’s perspective the value of an MBA wasn’t the actual business skills acquired but that it served as a filter, it was proof or at least an indicator that you could handle challenging work.  The same principle applies to the campaign, and five candidates just got an F.

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