How to Judge a Candidate

2016 Presidential Election

Step 1: Decide what you look for in the candidates

Candidates can be judged by their positions on issues and leadership experience.

Decide what community and national problems you care about and want the government to address

Examples could be:

· human rights

· restoring the middle class

· strengthening education and school systems

· war, the issue on ISIS


Decide what characteristics you want in a leader

Examples of this could be how the leader handles organization and communication, and if they appear honest and intelligent

Step 2: Find out about the candidates

Find out who is running for president. Use www.votesmart.org as a good reference to look at the candidates' ratings. In 2016, these are our top two candidates and a few of their ratings:


Jeb Bush:

· Experience: Governor of Florida 1998-2006, chairman of many committees, Secretary of Commerce, State of Florida 1987-88

· No ratings/records are available yet

Hillary Clinton:

· Education: Low ratings from the American Library Association, but high ratings for supervision and (language) development

· Human Rights: high ratings for support of gay rights

· Experience: U.S. Senate 2001-2009, Secretary of State 2009-2013, U.S. president candidate 2008

Step 3: Gather materials about the candidates

www.livingroomcandidate.com is a good website to website to compare and social media and network ads about your specific candidates


Example: When looking at the commercial differences between Obama and Romney in the 2012 election, both presidents tried to be very sympathetic and mostly positive. Romney had a few negative responses as did Obama, but each commercial proved a point.

Step 4: Evaluate candidates’ stands on issues

Keep specific details together on what these candidates’ beliefs are

These details will prove an overall impression of the individual candidate


-Jeb Bush will gain/lose votes due to his family tree, and Hillary Clinton will gain/lose votes because she is a woman.

Step 5: Learn about the candidates’ leadership abilities

  1. Look at the candidates’ background and experience (www.votesmart.org) Do they seem prepared for their position?

  2. Observe the candidates’ campaigns

  3. Review everything you researched. Are the candidates good leaders and experienced?


(Previous Experience Below)

Jeb Bush:

  • Governor, State of Florida, 1998-2006
  • Candidate, Gubernatorial, Florida, 1994
  • Chair, Bob Martinez Re-election, 1990

  • Secretary of Commerce, State of Florida, 1987-1988
  • Chair, Republican Party of Dade County, 1984-1986
  • Hillary Clinton:

  • Member, Democratic Policy Committee
  • United States Secretary of State, 2009-2013
  • Senator, United States Senate, 2001-2009
  • Candidate, United States President, 2008
  • First Lady, President Bill Clinton, 1992-2000
  • First Lady, State of Arkansas, 1978-1980, 1982-1992
  • Step 6: Learn how other people feel about the candidate

    1. Seek out other peoples’ opinions

    2. Learn about endorsements

    3. Look into campaign contributions

    4. Look up and surveys/polls that the people as a nation have taken


    3 different opinions and choices on candidates:

    1- Hillary Clinton: her stands of human rights

    2- Jeb Bush: the country was in a better place when Bush was president

    3- Hillary Clinton: she has more experience and less family influence


    Also, due to the election still being fairly new, the endorsements and campaign contributions haven't officially been stated because the election/campaign hasn't officially begun.

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    Step 7: Sorting it all out

    Review all material gained so far. Can you make a decision?


    I have chosen Jeb Bush for my vote so far. I know that Ted Cruz has recently joined the Republican presidential race so according to my steps, I should research him also. I chose Jeb Bush because during the time when the Bush family was in office, our country was doing better as a whole. I actually talked to my parents and this was a big deciding factor that made me realize Jeb Bush would perhaps be better than Hillary Clinton. I think many people will be opposed to a woman running for president and I feel that she could really effect our government and change our standards. I'm not sure how to feel towards that yet!

    Before You Go:

    See through distortion techniques that politicians use.

    Definition: changing the minds of the voters with persuasive techniques

    Common Techniques:

    Name calling

    Spreading Rumors

    Passing the blame

    Making promises they can’t keep


    Evaluate candidates’ use of television and media-

    Pay attention to the use of social media and advertising, this can change your mind or way of thinking about a candidate.


    This step is closely related to step 3. Often times commercials and advertisements will create new emotions for the voters to change their thinking about the opposite candidate, such as, Romney's fire back commercial against Obama stating that business are ours and they do not belong to the government. We make our own living and we don't need the government's help. This is just one view from a man who started his own business and stated he would vote for Romney due to Obama's criticizing words.