Having trouble choosing the right political candidate? Maybe there are a few you are leaning towards, but something about them just does not sit well with you. For example, maybe one of the candidates you like advocates a push to solve global warming, but drives a gas-guzzling Hummer. So what exactly should you do?
Break it down
If you’re looking to choose the “right” candidate you should decide what exactly you are looking for in a candidate. This could depend on the leadership qualities of that candidate and the amount of experience they would bring into office. This could also depend on their position on specific issues that you care about and whether or not you see eye to eye with them on said issue. Both of those factors are very important, and you should consider the characteristics and leadership qualities that you want to see in a good candidate. Research the candidate and find out more about their background and experience. Are they honest, smart, and a good communicator? Those looking for voting records and political positions on specific candidates can check out www.votesmart.org to help make this decision process that much easier.
Leadership and ethics
Find out more about the candidate’s leadership abilities. How will you know if they work well under pressure and will be able to carry out their duties? Outside of researching their backgrounds and experience to find out how prepared they are for the job, also consider observing their campaigns. Does the candidate accept invitations to debate or to speaking engagements? Review the findings and watch the campaign develop. Your research should match what you see in the campaigns, and the campaigns should emphasize real issues that need to be solved.
Many candidates use radio, television, direct mail, pamphlets, flyers, and emails in their campaigns. Does the pamphlet that was put in your mailbox contain valid information? Read it closely and see if it mentions the candidate’s devotion to helping better the country. If their stance on family is also important to you— does their pamphlet or flyer tell you about their dedication to family values? Watch out for accusations about other candidates or false statements made that cannot be confirmed or denied close to Election Day. Television and radio advertisements are also highly popular, and a lot of candidates try to use them to their advantage. When watching ads on television or listening to them on the radio, ask yourself what you learned about the candidate.
Was the ad purely designed to change your emotional feelings towards that person? Or did the ad appeal to a certain group of people such as women or senior citizens? You can learn a lot about issues that candidates deem important just from a short ad on the radio or TV. Just make sure that you are aware of how the media may be trying to influence your decision or reaction towards candidates during a campaign. Direct mail and emails are generally used to send more personalized messages to groups of voters. Candidates may break their direct mail campaign down in such a way that women rights advocates receive a different message than other organizations or groups. This, of course, is hardly ever an accident.
You should also rate the candidate based on their ability to run a good campaign. Campaign performance can provide clues on how that candidate will perform once they are elected into office. Is the candidate accessible and regularly meet with the press to discuss issues and give their views and thoughts on problems? Does the candidate debate with opponents and put up good arguments? Good candidates also often give clear solutions to the problems they want to solve. Are these solutions apparent in their campaign? These are all important factors that can make a big difference on which political candidate is the right one to choose. However, you should always keep in mind that you want to keep an eye out for the candidate that you feel will change your community for the better, as well as states and the country as a whole.
Always weigh both sides of the argument, and view the alternatives. Listen and view issues from all angles and think about how the pros may outweigh the cons. In this way, you can be better prepared before an election season, making things a bit easier if you truly want to vote for the best candidate on the ticket.