05 Nov Next Time You Nominate Candidates…
Dear Political Parties,
Not all that long after your representatives, senators, and president who were elected (or reelected) in November 2020 were sworn into office, taken their seats, and gotten started—and your defeated candidates did the opposite—we saw that new hopefuls began talking about running in the next round of elections. They are rapidly throwing hats in rings now.
Principle Based Politics has been thinking about how you could populate our ballots next time with stronger candidates for federal offices. Candidates who make us feel proud when we fill in their oval. People who make us say, excitedly, when we get to future Januarys, “I voted for that candidate. That person is a strong leader. I feel so good about the direction our country will go now.”
Maybe we are idealists, but we think both of you will do your parties and followers a favor if you start by nominating candidates based on their principles, their policies, their proposals, and their ideas. No longer should you be able to count on the other major party nominating someone so disliked that all your candidate needs to be is less obnoxious.
Who Not to Nominate
Please don’t present candidates defined by what or who they are against (against illegal immigrants, against the incumbent…against the other party). “If elected, I will resist the other party, I will fight as the last line of defense against the ruination of our country by the other side.” No! Don’t bring us candidates who will thwart, roil, stymie, or block things. Instead, nominate candidates who will build and grow. We want candidates who are in favor of things, and by that, we mean in favor of things beyond attaining political power. Beyond winning. Bring us candidates who are for all Americans, who respect all people, who can empathize with all groups.
Extremists in your party will scream, but please ignore them and nominate center-leaning candidates who promote reasonable policies and ideas. By definition, most voters are not extremists.
Ballot ovals we look to fill are adjacent to candidates interested in reconciliation, not retribution. We, the voters, want vision, not vengeance. We want leadership, not lethal tweets. We want governing the country, not gutting the other party’s plans.
In the next presidential election, for example, at the top of the ticket find us a candidate who isn’t looking to undo the perceived wrongs of the past administrations. Put forward someone with a positive agenda.
In the next United States Senate races, don’t bring us candidates who will stubbornly oppose the president of the other party or shamelessly stand behind the president of their own party. Bring us Senate candidates who put America above retaining or regaining power.
In the next House elections, don’t nominate candidates who will devote themselves most vigorously to the cause of impeaching the sitting president. At this point, we don’t care if the other side did the same things to the past president, or if the (other) other side did it to your party’s president back in the 1990s. Our parents taught us that two wrongs don’t make a right. Forget past grudges, and move forward for the good of the country.
Bring Us Principled Candidates, Please!
We are no pollsters (thankfully enough), but we believe voters want to elect principles, not partisanship. Below is a list of the principles we hope to see from your future nominees:
Honesty. We want candidates who always tell the truth and are forthcoming with information.
Integrity. What is the right thing to do? They do it. They avoid hypocrisy.
Respect. What will cause Americans and the world to respect the United States of America? Make this a priority.
Understanding. With open minds, they listen, read, and learn before deciding.
Peace. Internally and abroad, these candidates will strive for tranquility and stability.
Service. “How can the government and I help the people?” will be their mindset.
Dignity. They act and treat all others as persons made in the image of God.
Stewardship. Government should be competent, efficient, professional, and effective. Candidates should demonstrate the ability to build a team to lead our federal government.
Justice. We must uphold the laws of our country, fairly and for all. All incoming office holders swear to do this, and they must have a track record of doing so.
In saying all of this, we are looking at you—caucus goers and primary voters. We are looking at you—party officials who control the nomination process. It is up to all of you/us to nominate good candidates. Make it an honor and a pleasure to vote in the next elections.
Very truly yours,
Quentin R. Wittrock, founder of Principle Based Politics.
Look for his posts each week, as this blog will explore and promote the idea of principle in politics, both as to individual elected leaders and our federal government as an institution.