Sensible Systematic Candidate Selection
January 2, 2012
By Doug Edelman
We’re neck deep in the run-up to Primary Season. On the national scene, the Republican horse-race for the presidential nomination has been something of a circus. No less than half the field of candidates have had a turn carrying the banner of “front-runner.” This “flavor of the week” elevation and deflation of the candidates is exhausting both to the voters and the office-seekers. Voters are confused, and “undecided” garners more votes than any single candidate. Primary contests for House and Senate seats and even some lesser state and local offices have been no less contentious and chaotic. There must be a way to make sense of it all and select the best choice of candidate to represent our viewpoints!
In today’s educational and political paradigm, where certain people propose to indoctrinate you with what to think rather than train you how to think – and encourage you to do so; it is difficult to even set a criterion by which to analyze and evaluate the various options.
Therefore, I propose to do just that. I will not promote any particular idea or candidate over another here. This method will work for everyone regardless of your political ideology. It will help you analyze how well a candidate represents YOUR views and interests – not mine. And it can apply outside of politics. It can, for example, be used in hiring decisions when selecting between candidates for a job.
The candidate should be evaluated against the “6 Ps”: Platform, Positions, Policy, Plan, Past Performance and Personal Integrity and Character.
This will help quantify the major questions you need asked and answered: What are his guiding principles? What’s his philosophy? How will he approach implementing it? How’s he done in the past? Can I trust him? (Please assign gender neutrality to the male pronouns – it’s tedious to keep specifying him/her)
You want to understand the candidate’s philosophy, his strategic plan, and his tactical plan.
First, you want to understand where the candidate’s coming from. What’s his philosophy? His core values. What are the non-negotiables for him? What’s his motivation? Understanding his Platform and Positions will give insight here. What is he FIRM on, and where is he “squishy”? Is he uncompromising or pragmatic, and in his pragmatism, will he negotiate away your non-negotiables?
Next, you want to understand what he intends to do with that philosophy. What are the Policies he seeks to pursue and what is his Plan to implement them? Does it make sense to you? Does it seem workable to you. Can you support it? Can you understand it?
What’s the candidate’s track record? How’s he done at what he’s attempted before? As any investment’s prospectus will tell you “past performance is not a guarantee of future results”… however it is a pretty good indicator – especially when used to compare between the various choices!
Finally, character counts! As we learned from the Clinton Era, there are those who will support and defend an individual no matter what he does, as long as he espouses their political view. But if we, as a people, don’t hold our leaders to a certain standard of integrity and character, we will all reap the consequences. No matter how rhetorically “pure” a candidate is on the political issues of the day – if he will compromise his personal integrity, there is no reason to believe he’ll hold fast to a political philosophy and not sell it out for self-interest. Therefore, we must demand from our elected officials a higher standard of character.
Will there be a perfect candidate for you? Only if you yourself are running! Everyone has their own warts. Everyone will have some area of disagreement, whether philosophically, strategically or tactically. But you can analyze the field and put your support with the candidate who most closely represents your views and interests. This method will simply help you logically determine which of the available candidates is closest.
Once you make that determination, go all in. Support your candidate. Remember, however, that once the primaries are over and one candidate has prevailed, he may or may not be your first choice. If your candidate fails to win the nomination, don’t be a “sour grapes” voter and sit out the general election. Your second, third or even fourth choice in the primary still probably represents your interests and values better than the opposition in the general election.