Fan Friday—How to Vote in the Presidential Election

I’m certainly not going to tell you for whom to cast your vote, and I’m not going into the logistics of how to actually go and vote. What I’m trying to do here is narrow down the reasons to vote for a candidate. Or not.

In order to serve in the position of President of the United States, a person must meet certain constitutional requirements. Let’s assume that both qualify here, since they do.

*Note: third-party or fourth-party candidates will not be included here, only because we all know that any will be unlikely to win. It’s not impossible, just unlikely.

Here are the qualities that I think are necessary:

Leadership ability

Good character

Sound morals

Hmmm. Maybe I SHOULD consider third- and fourth-party candidates . . .

These are my top three. Should I have a dilemma in choosing, I would consider other issues as well. Please read on. It certainly looks as though it’s coming to that.

A good leader oversees the big picture, the whole enchilada; a good leader doesn’t need to know how to do every job, but does need to know how those jobs work in order to ensure that everything is achieved. A good leader must know when to ask questions and be willing to learn; a good leader must be able to delegate to competent people, but be willing to step in when things go south. A good leader must be of good character, or all his or her good intentions will fall by the wayside and nothing will ever be accomplished.

Qualities that show good character are honesty, integrity, humility, and respect. Many others could be added to this list, others that I’d consider secondary because, if one has these, one would exhibit those. Things like kindness and tolerance go hand in hand with respect.

Sound morals are often laughed at these days, but are still important, even if one doesn’t quite realize what morals are. I wouldn’t vote for a candidate simply because of his or her professed religion or piety, but morals are, after all, based on religion—yes, whether or not you believe this. Read the Ten Commandments. Pretend it’s merely literature, if that makes you feel better, and spend some time thinking about them.

Pay particular attention to these:

Do not murder

Do not commit adultery

Do not steal

Do not lie

Most people believe these, yes? These are morals; these are part of one’s character. These are things to which a good leader ascribes.

[insert brief lesson on Christianity] A Christian is forgiven. Most candidates claim Christianity at one time or another. However, being a Christian means asking God for forgiveness and repenting. Repenting means you will try your best not to do [insert sin] ever again.

And sin itself means this is impossible—you might well commit this sin again. But because you are a Christian, you will try as hard as you can NOT to do it again.

Think of it like this: you are on a diet, which makes you a dieter. As a dieter, you are not allowed to eat a dozen cookies, but you do it anyway. Does this mean the diet failed? No. You failed, but you vow to avoid eating a dozen cookies the next day. Some days you succeed, on others you fail, but it doesn’t mean you’ve stopped dieting.

So when a candidate claims Christianity yet shows no or loose or questionable morals, you wonder about his or her morals and, by extension, his or her character. And this is where it gets tricky, because a Christian will strive to be, well, perfect, even though it’s impossible because of sin.

This is where you must examine your candidate of choice and determine his or her motivation and contrition. No one is going to have perfect morals (or character, or leadership). This doesn’t mean you would choose the least objectionable candidate, but it might mean exactly that if you’re unable to determine if your choice possesses these three traits: leadership, character, morals.

Now that we know what we’re looking for, how do you decide if the candidates possess these three basic qualities?

You look at their leadership records—no, it doesn’t have to be in politics, but there should be some leadership experience. Scroll back up and look at the definition of a good leader.

You look at their character. Read that again too.

You look at their morals. Ditto.

Where do you find the information? You read between the lines that the media feeds us. All the media, not only the major networks. And not only the rabble-rousing sites. You have to look at both, and you have to think. You can’t just have a knee-jerk reaction to whatever sensational story of the day is trending.

Has Clinton or Trump been in a good leader in their chosen field?

Has Clinton or Trump shown good character?

Do Clinton or Trump possess morals?

These may or may not be yes or no questions—you have to research, and you have to think.

Look at their platforms. Don’t worry about the details—what the candidate has actually done, to the minute detail; exactly what he has promised during a campaign? Look at the top three, leadership, character, and morals, in respect to this.

For instance, Clinton’s top three issues on the list are fair tax, addiction and substance abuse, and a workable economy. Has she shown leadership, character, and morals as they relate to these?

Trump’s top three positions on the list are cybersecurity, veterans’ affairs, and trade. Has he shown leadership, character, and morals as they relate to these?

Let’s go a bit further down the lists:




Campaign finance reform

Campus sexual assault

Climate change



Tax plan


National defense



Foreign policy/ISIS

Do you see a recurring theme? Aside from the fact that Clinton’s list is in alphabetical order, her issues are more personal; Trump’s seem to have a national, or big picture, theme.

That, it seems to me, is one of the key differences between parties. Democrats want to fix people on the micro level, Republicans want to fix the country and the people will sort out the rest.

On that basis, and those who know me won’t be surprised, I’d go with the Republican candidate.

And then we’re back to those top three qualities . . .

I did go to the candidates’ websites and found some interesting things.

Both seem to want many of the same things and actually hold the same opinions on the issues, but differ in how to achieve these things.

The websites themselves are arranged similarly, but here’s a big difference I found:

While Trump’s page on his tax plan give a list of changes, Clinton’s tax plan reads more like a blog post/media announcement with links to interviews or speeches she’s given. I’m not sure if it’s the male/female dynamic or party differences. I just found it interesting, either way.

So I’m not going to tell you how to vote, or which way to lean, but I do think it all comes back to those three qualities: leadership, character, morals. And of course, either candidate may possess or have done or be pushing for something that is a deal-breaker either way, regardless of anything else.

This election is so tense, so acrimonious, so _____ [pick any negative word], that nearly everyone has severed some kind of relationship over it. But in just a few days, it’ll all be over but the shouting. And shouting there will be, on one side or another. Maybe both. Is it really worse than any other election since the advent of social media? Hard to tell. And I’m not willing to do the research on that!





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