Saturday, January 23, 2016


I had recently written about my internal debate between Bernie and Hillary. I'm not the only one pondering that. Melissa McEwen of Shakesville described what she considers when studying candidates (and apparently does a much more thorough job than I do). She reminds us that these are her criteria and don't need to be anyone else's. Even so, they fit my thinking pretty well.
For example: I look at campaign staff, its diversity and its structure and its efficacy and its decency. I look at how candidates respond to crisis and criticism. I look at voter outreach efforts, especially to marginalized populations, where voters are disproportionately likely to be disenfranchised. I look at the precise language used to discuss issues of concern to me. I look at candidates' debating style, and how diplomatic they tend to be during debates and interviews. I look at their negotiating skills. I look at their preparedness and flexibility and versatility. I look at how capable they seem of being able to pivot, when they are proven wrong. I look at their willingness to be accountable for mistakes and fuck-ups and endorsements of shitty policy. I look at the quality of their apologies, and whether they are willing to apologize at all. I look at how much they value transparency.

This is not a complete list, but you get the picture. In addition to policy, I am keen to assess the attributes that I want to see in a president. I want a president who is competent, effective, unflappable, adaptable, accountable. Who knows when to stand their ground and when to compromise. Who understands that diplomacy and negotiation are huge parts of the president's job, and who is a solid diplomat and negotiator.

And I look for examples, on the campaign trail, of how a candidate might respond to something if they were president. ...
McEwen then provided an example. Over the last week and in connection with the Flint, Mich. water crisis the Dem candidates showed what they are made of.

Bernie called on Mich. Governor Rick Snyder to resign. Snyder has apologized and remains in office.

Hillary sent a few staffers to Flint with the message: What can I do to help?

McEwen wrote:
[I]t means something to me that Sanders responds like someone running for president while Clinton responds like someone who is president.
It means something to me too.

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