OPINION: Here’s how to pick the next president

Scott Rainey

Scott Rainey

Several Democrats have already announced their candidacy for the 2020 election, and many more will likely join the primary race soon. It goes without saying that ideology is an important thing to consider when deciding who gets your vote. But if you want to pick from a pool of people who all generally have the same ideological standing, there needs to be more scrutiny placed upon the candidates than how left-leaning they are or how militant their stance on a single issue is.

Many people simply vote for the candidate they like the most. Elections often feel like popularity contests with people scoffing at voters who choose their candidate based on likeability instead of other qualities they deem “more important.” However, it’s important to consider because a sitting president has to meet with other heads of state, negotiating with allies and enemies across the globe.

Although ideology and likeability are important aspects to consider, the most important is the candidate’s ability to make tough decisions informed by his or her ideology, values and political instincts. Once someone becomes president, they have to make incredibly difficult decisions every day about a myriad of things we couldn’t begin to understand. He or she will have plenty of advisors with their own biases breathing down their neck, explaining to them why they should do this or that. They have to decide what kind of agenda they want to push, whether or not their adversaries will agree to compromise, and how to deal with global issues they will inherit when they step foot into the Oval Office.

For example, when President Obama decided to raid a compound that possibly harbored Osama bin Laden, he had to listen to all of his advisors and cabinet members, digest the information in a matter of days and consider the consequences of such a large operation. This included the lives of the Navy SEAL team, the blowback if it was successful, the blowback if it was unsuccessful and the political embarrassment they’d face if they did nothing and bin Laden was indeed in the compound. That kind of decision-making ability is critical for a sitting United States president to have.

Your vote is your vote. It’s possible that you will decide who you’re voting for the minute you see the line-up of candidates. But I urge you to vote for the best decision-maker. If they show that their decisions are informed by their values, and that they will put forth effort to understand complex problems, then you’re voting for the right person to be president.

Scott Rainey is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected]