Candidate Selection Checklist

Part of the Politics For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Because you've only one vote to cast, your candidate choice is crucial. How do you know what to look for in a political candidate? Do a little research to help you get to know something about each candidate and use these useful tips:

Things to Look For

  • Does the candidate appear intelligent, or is he just filling out the suit?

  • Is the candidate qualified for the job?

  • Does she have the education and experience to handle the job?

  • Do you agree with the programs and ideas the candidate has proposed?

  • Are you comfortable with the groups and the individuals who support the candidate?

  • Can you trust the candidate?

  • Does he pass the elevator test? (If an elevator door opened in front of you and getting on meant you would ride alone with the candidate, would you get on?)

  • Is the candidate a leader?

  • Does she have ideas of her own?

Things to Watch Out For

  • Candidates who make appeals to your emotions — not to your intelligence

  • Candidates who identify problems — but don't propose realistic solutions

  • Candidates who offer simple, no-sacrifice solutions to complex problems

  • Candidates who talk exclusively about hot-button issues such as race, immigration, the flag, English as the official language, and class warfare, but not about such issues as taxes, health care, and the budget

  • Candidates with shady dealings in their backgrounds

  • Candidates who tell you what they think you want to hear

  • Candidates who use negative campaign tactics to give you a false impression of the competition

How to Supporting Your Candidate

  • Volunteer your time — contact voters, organize events, distribute literature.

  • Contribute money or help the candidate raise money.

  • Urge others to support your candidate.

  • Remember to vote for your candidate on election day.

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