Two Steps
Logically Vetting the Candidates  
by Brad Sherman

Our Situation
     If you are reading this, you are probably not the average low-information voter. You care deeply about our nation and you know that the seriousness of this next election cannot be overstated. You desperately want to see the right person elected to the office of president.

     Yet everywhere I turn within conservative circles, I hear a deep concern regarding the potential and likely splintering of conservative support resulting in an moderate establishment candidate.  It seems to me that this concern is very real because, even among my close friends, there is a sharp difference of opinion on who to support. It is a helpless feeling.

     The need for true conservatives to rally behind a candidate early is perhaps more important this time than ever. Due to the schedule of caucuses and primaries, the choice will pretty much be made by the end of March next year. Therefore, I submit this article as an offering, hopefully to provide helpful criteria to use in choosing the candidate to support in.

Step One: Establish Your Short List
     This is where we use our list of non-negotiable principles. This is where we decide between those we absolutely cannot support and those we can. But keep our list of  criteria fairly short, remembering that there is no perfect candidate and there are several good ones. 

     There are several conservative score cards available, so I won't go into detail here. But here are a few general principles that Christians should consider:
  • Is the candidate a genuine Christian who will seek God for direction? We know that a spiritual revival is the only true answer to our nation's problems. We need a spiritual praying president.
  • Does the candidate understand the philosophy and purpose of government spelled out in the Declaration of Independence? The Declaration lays the foundation of government by pointing out that there is a God, rights come from God and the purpose of government is to protect those rights.
  • Does the candidate stand for life, biblical marriage, etc.? There are a few key issues that are simply musts for anyone calling themselves Christian.
Through prayer and personal honesty, create your short list.

Step Two: Vetting the Short List
    This is where we start to get a little more picky, but please, remain positive. We have a tendency to be led by our emotions more than we think; it is human nature. When our emotions lean toward a particular candidate, we tend to subconsciously look for points with which to demonize the others. Remember, your short list is a list of "the good guys." Here is a list of logical points to keep in mind:
  • Avoid General Labels. Listen carefully to the candidates, not the sound bytes and excerpts taken out of context that are circulated on the Internet.  Minor or misunderstood statements are often turned into general labels that grossly misrepresent who the candidate is.
  • Electability. Once the short list is composed, electability is a valid issue. Electability is a point that should not be considered when creating your short list, principle must trump charisma. But again, once the short list is composed, it is very important. Here are some points to consider regarding electability:
    • Is the candidate likeable and able to connect to people? Remember, most voters won't examine the candidates this closely and will be persuaded by sound bytes and heart tugs.  
    • Does the candidate possess good communication skills? This is partly natural talent and partly experience. It is essential.
    • Can the candidate handle the media?  This skill is largely due to depth of conviction and knowledge regarding the issues, and experience with the media. One major mis-step here and a good person becomes a bad candidate and can go down in flames.
    • Leadership skills. Does the candidate have proven governing/leadership experience? Remember, we are electing a leader, not a king or dictator.
  • General Experience. There is no substitute for a volume of life experience.

     If I told who I believe best fits this criteria, this letter would be perceived simply as a campaign tactic. So I will refrain from doing so. I simply pray that the Holy Spirit will in some way use these thoughts to help us find early agreement and choose a God-fearing candidate for president.

Sincerely for God and Country,

Brad Sherman


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