It is refreshing to see the rich, powerful and popular people seeking the highest office in our land grovel. We watch in awe, if not amusement, as those familiar faces trudge through ice and snow in Iowa and New Hampshire, eyes red from lack of sleep, hoping to attract one last voter or caucus-goer. As entertaining as this quadrennial occurrence may be, don’t let the results from those two states sway you.
Despite all the close-up media coverage, there is only a relative handful of voters in those states who care enough to brave the harsh winter weather and the crowded conditions to rub elbows and eyebrows with the candidates and, chances are, you know as much or more about these folks as the people in Iowa or New Hampshire who had a “close encounter” with one.
Don’t listen to the pundits! Stop up your ears if necessary. Don’t rely on the polls! When the primary is held in your state, do your civic duty and vote for the candidate whom you believe will be the best leader for our country.
Your candidate should be forthright, honest, reliable and free from scandal. To vote for someone without these qualities is a terrible disservice to your country. Your candidate should not be expected to know everything about every issue – no one does. However, your candidate should be able to demonstrate the ability to get good information and make rational decisions.
Unfortunately, most people wake up from their political slumber one or two weeks before the November presidential election, throw up their hands and say,
What kind of choice is this? I don’t feel good about either candidate. It’s Tweedledum and Tweedledee. What happened?
In many ways, your vote in the primary is even more important than your vote in the general election. Don’t sleep through it. Make that vote count!
Your job is not to try to look into a crystal ball and decide who can beat whom in the general election. This is where we get off track. Your job is to select the best man or woman for the job: one who is honest, right on the issues about which you care most deeply and who will not be swayed by the political winds. Bear in mind, if there are two worthy candidates standing at the end, we all win.
There will be some compromises to be made in the general election, but you should not compromise on the candidate who gets your primary vote. If you cast a vote for the very best candidate, it doesn’t matter who is left standing. Your party will be stronger for it.
It is sad but true that less than half those eligible to vote actually show up at the polls in a general election, and the turnout for the primaries is about half of that. Unfortunately, most of the people casting a vote in the primary spend too much time listening to the pundits and not enough time listening to their gut.
With the internet, it is easy to do your own research. There is no excuse for anyone with a computer to be in the dark.
There are so many issues it can seem overwhelming, so pick the three or four most important to you. Mine are abortion, immigration, national defense and taxation.
I find that abortion is a benchmark issue. If a candidate will not compromise when it comes to the protection of the most weak and vulnerable among us, he or she is unlikely to compromise on other moral issues.
The lack of security on the borders and the flaunting of our immigration laws is a travesty. I do not want a president who winks at this issue and will offer amnesty (call it what you will) to those who break in line.
National defense is a priority and one of the legitimate endeavors of the federal government. We must have a military second to none and one that is not hamstrung by political correctness.
Finally, there is the issue of taxation and the role and size of government. Who is likely to increase taxes? Who is likely to cut the government down to size?
It’s easy to find out where your favorite candidates stand. Go to http://www.ontheissues.org and read their words. Also, there are watchdog organizations for most issues that have voting guides on their web sites. Happy hunting!
Make and keep this New Year’s resolution: I will do my duty in this primary and cast the very best vote I can!