It’s been difficult to predict anything in this topsy-turvy election season, but for those of us who care about the arts, culture, technology and freedom of speech at home and abroad, one constant has held disappointingly true. The way the people pursuing the highest office in the land talk about these important issues still ranges from hollow to downright cowardly — is there a sillier cliche in politics than the idea that eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts would make a meaningful difference in the federal budget?

So in an effort to re-frame the conversation, this week I sent the remaining candidates for the presidency this list of questions about the arts and culture, and how they intersect with everything from trade policy to care for wounded veterans. I developed these questions in consultation with my colleagues here in the Opinions section of The Post, and through conversations with arts organizations, free speech advocates, privacy scholars and even an expert on stolen antiquities. I’ve asked the campaigns to respond to these questions by April 15. We’ll publish their responses as they come in, along with profiles of the candidates’ records on the arts.

• According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2013, arts and cultural businesses were a $704.2 billion part of the American economy, and produced a $24.1 billion trade surplus. What policies do you think would best promote economic growth in this sector, and protect and expand this trade surplus, especially in light of continuing questions about access to the Chinese entertainment market?

• Should the United States have a foreign policy doctrine that determines how the administration responds when artists, writers and journalists are detained, executed or kidnapped by foreign governments? If so, what should that doctrine consist of?

• There are many different tools a president can use to make foreign policy; what role would informational efforts and public diplomacy play in yours?  What would your administration’s strategy be for programs like Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty and the Voice of America? What do you think is the role of the State Department’s under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs? What about the role of Goodwill Ambassadors; who do you think best represents America’s brand?

• How should the United States respond to Internet censorship by foreign governments?

• Discussions of education policy have often focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, as a set of core competencies, though in recent years, advocates, including the Congressional STEAM caucus, have argued that art and design should be added to this list. What guidance would your Education Department give states as they begin allocating funding for arts education, which is considered part of a well-rounded education under the Every Student Succeeds Act?

• Does the federal government have a role to play in funding the creation and performance of art, or in making art accessible to all Americans? Federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts currently stands at $148 million. Do you think that funding level is appropriate? What would you request in your first budget as president?

• What do you believe is the proper role for the Federal Communications Commission in a changing communications environment? Should it regulate online content? What is your position on the commission’s net neutrality regulations?

• In 2014, the European Union established a “right to be forgotten” for its citizens. Should the United States adopt a similar practice? How would such a right interact with the First Amendment?

• In 2019, copyrighted works will begin entering the public domain in the United States under the terms of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. Do you believe that the author’s lifetime plus 70 years is the proper length for copyrights to last? How would you balance the rights of creators and their families with the needs of archives, libraries and other artists who rely on material in the public domain to create new work?

• Do the voluntary content ratings systems adopted by the movie, music and video game industries give parents enough information to make decisions about what is appropriate for their children? If not, is some sort of government system warranted?

• One of the president’s roles is to host events that involve arts and entertainment. Who would you ask to sing the National Anthem at your Inauguration? Who would you choose to give a reading? Are there particular artists the First Family would invite to the White House, or arts you would draw attention to as president?

• A significant part of the presidency is communicating with the public, so how would your administration approach the media? Would representatives of the administration sit in on interviews between government officials and reporters? Under what circumstances would you initiate leak investigations? How would your administration handle whistleblowers? Will you allow news photographers the same access as official White House photographers?

• The federal government administers a large network of museums: the Smithsonian Institution. What will your priorities for the Smithsonian be during your time in office?