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Old 06-08-2016, 10:50 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
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History is totally equivocal on this question.

Herbert Hoover was considered by many to be the best qualified person in the country, maybe of all time. FDR was considered to be a political lightweight, with a pleasant personality and a second-rate mind. Nobody cared that Woodrow Wilson was an avowed racist. Dwight Eisenhower was the most popular person in the country but had no political experience.

Was Alf Landon a good candidate? How can anyone tell? He had no chance against FDR. What about Charles Evans Hughes? Al Smith? Thomas Dewey? Adlai Stevenson? Weren't they all qualified by all normal standards?

That's just the 20th century. The 19th century was even more erratic.

And all that sidesteps the issue of our not having a clue who the party bosses would have settled on in the past half century since the modern system has been put in place. Would any of them have won? Yes, by definition. Does that make them better? How would we know? There's no way to compare.