Now I am probably not the first person to ever come up with this election-altering idea.
There has to have already been at least one pigskin-lovin’ politico who, possibly while simultaneously watching ESPN and a cable news network at their local watering hole, has already popped off this ode to common sense at no one in particular:
We should demand presidential candidates take the Wonderlic Test.
For those of you who don’t spend your early spring fastidiously evaluating 18 to 22-year old athletes, the Wonderlic Test is a simple yet telling short-form cognitive abilities test that everyone from BP to the United States Armed Forces has used when evaluating potential employees but which is most famously used by NFL teams, who have their draft prospects take it in advance of the NFL draft.
As the Wonderlic website explains:
“Testing provides the most objective measurement of an applicant’s knowledge, skills and abilities.
[Our] measurement provides an accurate and fair means to compare different applicants to each other and to the requirements of the job or program.”
Based on another test called the Otis Self-Administering Test of Mental Ability, the Wonderlic was developed by E.F. Wonderlic in 1936 to measure general cognitive ability in the areas of math, vocabulary, and reasoning. It consists of 50 questions that get more difficult as one progresses and test-takers have only twelve pressing minutes to complete it.
(Eldon F. Wonderlic once attested in a 1939 article that “the length of the test was made such that only about two to five percent of average groups complete the test in the twelve-minute time limit.”)
Take a stab at a few questions…
The Wonderlic has been peer reviewed by the American Psychological Association and has scored a .94 and .87 on the reliability scale, and though it’s still up in the air as to how much a Wonderlic score can predict on-field success in the NFL it is nevertheless a valuable piece of information for one to have when one is trying to compare multiple candidates for possible employment.
All things equal, wouldn’t you be more inclined to sign the punter who was the only player to ever receive a perfect score?
Presiding over the other side of the bell curve, you curious schadenfreudists you, is Maurice Claiborne, who got only four questions correct.
On a related note, Wonderlic Inc. claims a score of at least ten points suggests a person is literate.
On an unrelated note, how badly do you want to see what Donald Trump would get on this test?
We’ve already demanded Elizabeth Warren tell us exactly how much money she made via the private legal work she performed over three decades.
We’ve already demanded Pete Buttigeg disclose who exactly his clients were when he was employed by the occasionally-shady management consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
We’ve already demanded Bernie Sanders explain to us how he recently amassed a net worth approaching at least $2 million (“I wrote a best-selling book. If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.”), and we’ve already demanded to know just how much Joe Biden’s family profited off his various political offices.
Hell, we’ve taken our demands to see President Trump’s tax returns all the way to the Supreme Court.
So why not demand these possible leaders of the free world take twelve minutes out of their campaign schedule to objectively demonstrate their cognitive abilities?
As Eldon’s descendant Charles Wonderlic told FiveThirtyEight:
“This is really [just] saying, ‘How quickly does your brain gather and analyze information?’”
And it’s not like the results would be the be-all and end-all of the election process; much like it isn’t in the NFL. Morris Claiborne, with his 4, still got selected in the first round. Tony Romo, with his 37, still went undrafted. Like George Young, the late New York Giants general manager, once put it to the Philadelphia Daily News, “The Wonderlic gives you an area to investigate. If a guy doesn’t have a good score on the test, you don’t say he’s not smart. But you go in and investigate and find out [why he scored low].”
Besides, you totally know Mayor Rhodes Scholar Pete wants to see how he stacks up against your standard geologist…
For Lady Liberty’s sake, if the Wonderlic Test was good enough for the late, great Tom Landry during his successful attempt to rescue a flailing, directionless America’s Team, it is darn sure good enough for us discerning citizens attempting to rescue a flailing, directionless America.
In fact, I challenge any true patriot reading this to take this unofficial version of the Wonderlic — see if you can top my Calvin Johnson-tying score of 41 — then try and tell me you’re not at least curious as to how the current litany of presidential candidates would do on this thing.
And if a Tom Landry reference doesn’t motivate you, then I should just quit right now…