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Twelve ways to measure every political candidate

How do you decide who gets your vote?

That's a relevant question here in Michigan and other states where voters will choose candidates in a primary election on Tuesday, August 3.  Our ballot in the Great Lakes State will include candidates for everything from county commission, the Michigan House of Representatives, the Michigan Senate and for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Voters are sick of campaigns filled with eyewash

I think most voters would rather stick their fingers down their throats and vomit in the toilet than face another round of political candidates who all seem to say the same thing. 

But the stakes are high right now for all of us with all three levels of government.  The local, state and federal government are linked together like never before in our history.  Decisions to be made in the next year or two will directly affect us, our children and our grandchildren.

What they decide will affect your and their ability to get a job, get an education, live in a local area where there's money to pay for services like adequate police and fire protection, get health care when you need and have enough food on the table.

So what should you do?

Expect to be frustrated with how they respond

First, you need to know that the effort will produce frustration that won't be satisfied easily.  Why?  The effort requires getting candidates to open themselves to open conversation where they disclose about themselves and who they are.

And just about ten out of then don't want to do that.

Here's 12 qualities and skills that every candidate should have and should be able to answer or demonstrate that they possess it.  How do you get them to answer the questions to show where they stand on the 12-point scale?  I will write about that in an upcoming post.

Here's my list of 12 qualities and skills that every candidate should have and I will talk more about each one in coming days.  You need to determine where they stand in these areas:

  1. Honesty--When they say something can you trust that they are giving an honest answer that's not twisted or turned and that's complete?  Can you rely on what they tell you?
  2. Listening--Do they truly listen to you when you are talking?  Do they reflect back to you what you are saying and do they ask questions?  Do they seem interested?
  3. Transparency--This is a biggie too.  How open are they about their strengths and weaknesses?  Can they talk about those moments when they made a bad decision and talk about it openly?
  4. Communicate--With the current death spiral of most newspapers, this is more important than ever.  Can the candidate communicate in their own voice what he or she is doing and feeling?
  5. Learning--Most elected jobs, particularly the ones you will be voting on in August have a high learning curve.  If somebody is learning disabled or not motivated, then they are cheating the people they represent.
  6. Motivated--Make a judgment about what motivates them to get out of bed every morning and why they are running for this office.  Is it the money?  Prestige?  Are they bored with their present lot in life?  Trying to escape a spouse they don't enjoy spending time with?
  7. Sacrificing--Can they do something, give up something just because they want to and do it without expecting publicity and adulation?  Just about every special interest group in Lansing gives out multiple plaques to "legislators of the year."  Why?  Guess.
  8. Humility--This is important.  Can they put their constituents' needs ahead of their own and not expect anything in return.  Do they or will they send out news releases every time they help an old lady across the street?  What do they grab credit for?
  9. Compassionate--Do they sympathize with people and their varying situations?  The old?  Young?  Abused?  Victims?  Is it sincere?
  10. Principled--For many these days being principled is synonymous with being a crackpot.  Don't buy it.  Everybody operates on a set of principles.  How do they define right and wrong?  Ask and find out.
  11. Vision--Do they have a vision for the area they want to represent and for the state?  How do they visualize the future, short-term and long-term?  Ask them.
  12. Responsibility--When they make a mistake, do they take responsibility?  This includes some personal failing or a bad decision like drinking too much and getting caught.

As a voter, don't let candidates off the hook.  They want to come to your door and have you remember their name and that they are for more jobs, better schools, safer neighborhoods and health care. 

Grab the bull by the horns and start asking questions. 

Are there others that you have? 

Our government won't change until we get beyond the level of campaign literature and other eyewash in selecting candidates for whom we are going to vote.