Instead of electing the President, have Congress pick the President and Vice-President. Every other Congress, once Congress takes the oath of office, the first order of business will be to select a President and Vice-President. Both houses must reach a 3/5s supermajority vote on the same pair of candidates.

This won't necessarily stop people like Barack Obama or Donald Trump from becoming president, but it will have several definite benefits:

  • It would stop the billion-dollar charade that the presidential campaigns have become.
  • It would make the process less of a popularity contest and more of an actual job interview.
  • It would increase the possibility, which is currently small if not nil, that the President and Vice-President would be of different parties. I can see this happening as a matter of the bargaining done to arrive at a President/Vice-President pair that can get a supermajority in both houses.
  • It could make the Vice-President relevant. Barring another amendment changing this, the Vice-President is the President of the Senate. Also, Congress, having chosen the Vice-President, will surely expect the Vice-President to provide useful service to the country. It is highly conceivable that Congress, knowing it has the power to choose the Vice-President, would come up with specific responsibilities for the office.

Drawbacks

If one party has control of both houses of Congress, the President chosen will surely be of the same party. I changed the proposal from majority vote to 3/5 supermajority vote to ameliorate this somewhat, but this is a valid concern. The good news is that the party of the President tends to lose members in the even-numbered Congresses.

This rule will surely make it more difficult for a person of strong personal belief or ideology to take the office. Some people would view this as a drawback, while many will view this as a plus rather than a minus.