Sunday, January 17, 2016

How to Choose a Presidential Candidate

Now that 2016 is here, it means many things. For those of us who are 18 years old and older, legal residents of the United States, and registered to vote, the time has come to choose a presidential candidate, who could potentially be our next commander-in chief. As the old cliche goes "This is the most important election you will ever vote in." The truth of the matter is that every election is the most important that you will ever vote in, because every 2 years (and every day) we are faced with this decision: Am I okay with the current direction of my country (state, county, district) or do I think we are headed in the wrong direction and it is time for a change? My MTC branch president stated on my last Sunday in the MTC "Elders, you can't complain if you don't vote." So, don't buy into the idea that your vote doesn't matter. If it didn't, would candidates spend millions of dollars trying to persuade you to vote for them?

This article is not to tell you whom you should vote for; that is a decision that you alone should make. It is to tell you what you should do before you make a decision on a candidate. Many voters, after a candidate has been elected, become surprised at the candidates actions. This is because they did not do the proper research on the candidate and only followed soundbites of commercials. Do yourself a favor and become an informed voter. I will list 3 ways that you can do that here:

1) Become acquainted with what you believe. It will not matter what others believe if you yourself do not know what you believe. Discover what your core principles and beliefs are, and then see how they align with political ideology such as conservatism, liberalism, libertarianism, socialism, centrism, etc. It may be that you align strongly with one of these ideologies, or it may be that you are a mix of several of them. That is fine; many people find that there is something in one or more ideologies that suit there beliefs. Once you understand where your philosophical belief and commitment is, it will be easier to understand where you would align policy wise. A good resource for figuring out your political ideology would be this quiz, which is non-partisan and covers a variety of issues.

2) Find out what the candidates running believe. Do not trust what others have said about them, go to their websites and do the research to find out what their agenda for America will be should they get elected. Do not be superficial either; beyond what they believe see if they have fought for what they believe. It is is easy to believe something, it is considerably more difficult to stand for something. Since I am writing this on a Sunday, I will use a religious example to support my premise. Many of my friends who are religious outside of Utah say that they strongly believe in God and Jesus, but fail to attend church on Sunday. Thus their belief in not reflected in their conduct. Likewise, although a politician may say they believe in something, it is far more important to see what he/she has done with that belief. As St. James puts it "Faith without works is dead."

3) Read Article Two of the Constitution. This is the article that lists the powers of the chief executive. The reason you need to be very acquainted with this article is because when you are researching candidates, it would be extremely helpful to know whether or not they understand what their job entails, and if their promises can match reality. You will find that while the President of the United States is supposed to be a strong leader, the constitution does not give him the power of an all-powerful king. Often a candidate will say "If I am elected I will..." and your question should be "If elected, would you have the power to do that?"

While there are numerous other aspects of being an informed voter, if you do these things you are off to a great start. Remember, this is the most important election you will ever vote in, and it pays even greater dividends to society and yourself if you are an informed voter.


  1. I love that you get right back to the Constitution and use it as a part of the job analysis. Solid points, all.

  2. Good points here. Informed, rational voting is far more important than reactionary, emotional, crowd-driven voting.

    1. Indeed it is. Although with Donald Trump as the front-runner, the general public begs to differ.