How to Pick a Candidate Worthy of Your Vote, in Four Easy Steps

  1. Look Within. Ask yourself: What are my core values? If I were President, what positions would I hold? What would my priorities be? Be honest. If, say, self-enrichment and personal convenience is the most important thing to you, own it. If taking care of others is most important, own that. If spending your money on weapons to hurt and kill people you’ll never meet is paramount, acknowledge it. If spending your money on providing a dignified life for your neighbors is your priority, say so. Know thyself before voting.
  2. Turn Off Your TV. The less propaganda you consume from MSNBC, FoxNews, CNN, etc., the less prone you are to being brainwashed by a persuasive blowhard wearing make-up. Watch them only if you want your point-of-view to be consistently affirmed and other views consistently denigrated. These corporate-funded entertainment programs are virtually useless to critical thinkers and highly useful as self-perpetuating echo chambers.
  3. Read. Not the Opinion Page. Not “expert analysis.” Read each candidate’s position on the issues that matter to you. Read what they say. Learn about their policy, not their personality. Do not allow someone allegedly smarter than you — Sean Hannity, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews — to explain and interpret these policy positions. Understand what the candidate publishes and figure it out yourself.
  4. Identify the Candidate Most In Line With Your Values. These days, every candidate is a brand or flavor, so it’s pretty simple to make an accurate connection. (Looking at each candidate’s donor list is a good place to start; e.g., a candidate funded by billionaires is probably not sympatico with a voter who values curbing greed.) When you identify the candidate whose positions and policies are most aligned with yours, you’ve found the candidate worthy of your vote.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       At this point, you may safely disregard the cynics — including the ones on TV — who have the audacity to tell anyone they’re “wasting a vote,” or that a particular candidate “can’t win.” After 2016, it’s probably more accurate to say “anyone can win — even a misogynistic reality TV buffoon who appears to know very little about anything except his appetite for attention.” Democracy works best when each of us votes according to our sacred principles. Know yours and the choice is easy.

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