Requirements for presidential candidates

Can anyone run for president? Of course not. We need certain regulations which organize the legal requirements so that the right person is chosen for the head of the country. Such requirements for candidates are listed in the Constitution which makes the case clear.

The requirements include: being an American citizen born in the USA, being at least 35 years old, and living in America for at least 14 last years. One may wonder why it is so important for a future president to be the US resident for these 14 years. The answer is simple, if someone is to become the head of a country just has to know its problems, present affairs and issues well

However, immigrants cannot run for president, even if they have been living in the USA for even more than 14 years. Future American president must be the country’s citizen. A natural born citizen includes also people born abroad, but to parents who are American citizens. And in fact, only one parent can be American citizen to enable a person to become a candidate for a president. Ted Cruz is an ideal example here. He was born in Canada, his father comes from Cuba, but his mother is from Delaware and this made him eligible to run for president.

Other limitations

In 1951, the amendment which limited the presidential terms to two was ratified. After two terms, the ex-president can only become First Lady or First Man. It could have taken place in the case of Hillary and Bill Clinton if she had won.

Another limitation concerns presidents who serve without being elected (as it was in the case of Lyndon B. Johnson who became president after John F. Kennedy’s sudden death). In such a situation a person can be re-elected only once.

What is more, the Constitution gives the Senate the right to ban an impeached president from running for presidency again.

What else is demanded?

There are also requirements which are not legal. Some things have the power to influence the opinion of electorate about the candidates to a large extent.

The most obvious fact is that felons are highly unlikely to be elected. Generally, people observe a future president’s personal situation, whether he or she has a family, what his or her attitude towards significant issues (such as religion) is. Previous political or military experiences of candidates have a big influence on the public opinion as well.

Apart from this, there are qualities which help candidates – charisma, self-confidence, good public speaking skills. These often play an important role in the elections. Such traits helped for example, John F. Kennedy or Bill Clinton get the voter’s attention.

How about financial situation of a potential candidate? The truth is that to run for president one needs to either be wealthy, or have the ability to organize a lot of money for his/her campaign. The cost of the presidential campaign can reach as much as $1 billion. Money for this purpose usually come from fundraising, but only partially. A big part of it is covered by a candidate.