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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to Evaluate Presidential Candidates

At Christianity Today, Amy Black of Wheaton College notes that voters and candidates cannot anticipate every issue that may arise during the next presidential term. Accordingly, judgments about character are important.
It is always a great challenge to discern the difference between genuine expression and calculated pandering. One way that may help minimize distortions is to consider the totality of the evidence. Evaluate the campaign as a whole by asking questions such as: What are the central themes? What kind of tone does the campaign set? What messages are repeated consistently?

Words are easy to script, but actions are not. Look to the candidates' actions over many years and see what patterns emerge. Is the candidate loyal and a person who engenders loyalty in followers? Do you see someone willing to admit mistakes and learn from them? After leaving jobs or positions, does the candidate appear to have left people and places better able to thrive, or do you see evidence of destruction in his or her wake?

After considering all of the evidence, ask one final question: If your life or the lives of those you love most were in peril, whom would you instinctively trust to respond with wisdom and grace?