I’m going to lose some friends over this blog, but I hope that many of them will understand what I am saying and change what is going on in this election. I may get kicked out of the Republican Party locally. No big deal. But it is time for some tough love for candidates.
I went to a Candidate’s Forum the other night to hear the Republican County Council candidates address questions from the audience. It was organized by the Republican Central Committee and… well let’s just say it was uninspiring. It was sort of like having Neville Chamberlain show up when you needed Churchill during World War II.
I have some friends who are running and I truly admire their guts in putting themselves out there as candidates during these contentious times. Hey, I’m not running for a variety of reasons, one of which is that I like having freedom of speech to say things the way I see them in the way I want them said.
But, based on this forum only two or three of them convinced me that they WANT the job much less can DO the job. And whoever set the format of this night and rules did NOTHING to help these candidates as all.
So let’s start first with some tough love for the organizers of the candidates’ forum.
- Don’t spend the beginning of the evening virtue signaling. It’s a waste of time and annoying. Unless you are going to have a moment of silence for every population that is caught in war or violence, don’t do it for one.
- Make sure the moderator has access to the questions prior to the start so he can read them clearly. Whether it’s the handwriting of the questioner or the reading skill of the moderator, stumbling one’s way through questions is not a good look and it is confusing.
- Make ALL candidates answer ALL questions. The format of candidates raising their hands to answer the questions they wanted to answer allows some candidates to hide their weaknesses and others to monopolize the night. Force them to answer in a different order each time. Listening to a candidate agree with another candidate or repeat his/her answer is not productive.
- If the crowd wants a certain question answered and all the submitted questions have been used, then let the candidates answer that question. It’s not up to the moderator to decide that he doesn’t like the question and won’t let it be answered.
- Stop protecting your candidates from “spies” from the other side because you don’t want answers used against them. This just makes your candidates weak. Sooner or later, they will have to stand in front of lefties and answer questions.
- Supply microphones that work.
- Know your audience. These are tough times which require tough questions.
Now for the candidates.
I know you are nervous. Many of you haven’t spoken publicly since High School, if then. But, you are running because of what YOU can offer. Remember that when you speak. So, here goes.
- Do your research. Understand what people are worried about right now. When I hear that a candidate’s main pressing issue this year is finding a new office for the Sheriff and the Health Department, it’s clear that candidate hasn’t been talking to people in the county. Yes, people want to support law enforcement. No, they don’t care which building they are housed in unless that building is falling apart. As for the Health Department, they care even less about their physical office. People are worried about inflation, high energy costs, good jobs, high taxes, the education their children are getting, law enforcement, government accountability to the taxpayers, maintaining the quality of life of our county and maintaining their Constitutional rights. And, sorry guys, the statue on the Courthouse lawn is gone. If that is the only thing that fires you up, you are in trouble.
- Know the issues. Study how things currently work and THEN propose answers. Saying “it’s out of our hands” over and over doesn’t cut it. If it’s out of your hands and you have no ideas how to fight that, why are you running?
- Don’t contradict yourself. How many times do Democrats do this and we jump all over them? It’s the same even when Conservatives do it. (By the way, we are not stupid. Don’t tell us you have done certain things when you haven’t or that you are against something you have publicly supported.)
- Show some personality, some passion, some willingness to do battle. We are in a war right now and we need someone who will fight for us. You don’t have to be a raving lunatic, but you need to inspire people, not lull them to sleep. We don’t have to agree with you all the time, but we need to know you will stand for us.
- Be yourself. All the data, figures, degrees, platitudes, etc. don’t mean a THING if people can’t connect with you somehow. Winston Churchill was not a bland personality. Many people didn’t like him. But in a time of crisis, he was able to connect with them as a LEADER. One candidate made a comment that he was not a politician, that he was who he was, and he cared about this county. People can connect with that because they believe he will fight for them.
- Take off the RINO muzzle. Party leaders are just that, party leaders. They are NOT candidates. Some of them have NO idea what the regular people want. They just want to manage and control the party and make sure no one says anything slightly controversial. They are political beings and quite frankly that’s not working right now. We need warriors, not clerks.
- Remember WHY YOU ARE RUNNING. I watch “Bar Rescue” while I work. It’s a show about a Jon Taffer who goes to failing bars and helps the owners run them so they actually make money. After he reams them out over all the issues in their business, he then sits with them and asks them, “Why do you do this?” They usually have answers such as, ” I want to provide for my family,” or ” I want to leave something for my kids,” or ” My Father owned this bar and I want to honor his memory.” Upon hearing that answer, Jon says, “You need to remember that every day and FIGHT FOR IT.” It’s such a great motivation. I know most of you up there and I KNOW that you want to run to make things better, to save our country, to fight for our rights.
I would never have known that about most of you based on that forum. If you want to connect with people, get back the fire. Remember who you are and why you are here. Don’t be afraid to show that fire to people, regardless of what you are told by political managers. Some of you say, ” I have to get elected first before I can do and say what I want. “
A little secret, if you don’t show who you are, then you will never be honest. You’ll get elected and be no better than all the jaded politicians in Annapolis and Washington D.C. because you will NEVER stop lying to yourself and your constituents.
Like I said, this is “tough love.” I give like others have given to me from time to time. You decide what you want to do with my advice. It’s up to you.
I know you can do what you need to do, just do what you know how to do.
**Side Note** I know some great people on the Central Committee who work very hard and do the right thing. I know they are NOT “politics as usual” and are not responsible for muzzling candidates. To them, thank you for fighting to prevent mediocrity.
3 thoughts on “Tough Love for Candidates”
Wow! This is spot on and such excellent critique. This is must reading for all the stakeholders in our elections. Very well done. I’m going to print this one out and pass it around with your permission.
Thanks for the suggestions, Jan.
I’d like to add that some politicians will not show up to speak to their constituents. They run from questions and meld into the “Let’s just get along” group as the world is on FIRE!!!
People who are running are to be commended; however, if they are running for the “position and status” quit now.
We need people running who will listen to everyone. Stop playing “I’ll do it after I am elected.” We need to know that you can face the fire.