These Are 6 of the Most Important Issues When Vetting Political Candidates


One of the most important civic duties that Americans have is voting in both general and local elections. Candidates, particularly for federal office, receive a lot of media attention. It is easy to get desensitized and stop paying much attention.

However, the issues at hand will directly or indirectly affect virtually everyone in a given community. Voting is how people make their voices on these matters heard. All elected officials play an important role in the community and the creation of new policy.

Citizens have a duty to do due diligence and make sure they vote for the person who best reflects their personal values and beliefs. When vetting candidates for public office, you should consider their positions on several key topics, including:

1. Economy

One of the most important questions in any election is how the results could potentially affect the economy. In the United States, unemployment rates skyrocketed due to the coronavirus pandemic. They remain high, so people are more interested than ever before in how candidates plan to drive job creation.

You should also consider how candidates feel about taxes, what their plans are to increase or decrease them, and how they see their proposed changes affecting the budget. If someone suggests cutting taxes, that candidate should have a plan for readjusting the budget accordingly. If a candidate would increase taxes, the question then becomes what the community will gain as a result.

2. Environment

An issue that has become increasingly important to voters is the environment. You should know how candidates feel about measures to protect the environment and their stance on issues like global warming.

Any candidate should have a clear stance on energy policy, but it is also important to look at any history of resource-management decisions. Everyone has their own individual stance on how important environmental issues are to them. It is critical to determine which candidates align best with your personal vision for the future of the United States.

3. Civil Rights

For many people across the country, civil rights are an extremely important political issue. In current politics, the concept of civil rights applies to many different issues, from the definition of marriage to voting rights (especially for people who have been convicted of a serious crime).

Many other issues may be of concern depending on communities with which you identify, and these issues are often very divisive. For that reason, you should pay close attention to the stance that political candidates have on issues you believe are important.

While clear divides exist between people who lean liberal and those who lean conservative, you may be surprised by the stance that some candidates take. For this reason, you should not make assumptions.

4. Drug Policy

Not long ago, most politicians were expected to take a conservative stance on the criminalization of drug trafficking and use and to support aggressive enforcement of drug policies. However, the debate about the decriminalization or legalization of cannabis continues to evolve. Politicians will play a key role in how this situation plays out in the coming years.

You should ask candidates how they feel about this issue and why. People may support decriminalization or legalization for a number of reasons, from economic to social. The same is true of people who do not think decriminalization or legalization are warranted. Understanding candidates’ motivation for a particular position can tell you a lot about how they conceptualize the world.

5. Education

In any election, education is an extremely important issue. In the past 100 years, many different models of education have been piloted in the United States. The various states still differ in terms of school options.

In recent years, substantial debate has taken place around the issue of student loans and the possibility of making higher education free, at least for students at state schools. Politicians should have clear stances on these issues, as well as an overall opinion about educational funding in the United States.

Some people argue that a much larger portion of national and state budgets should be earmarked for education, while others advocate for maintaining the status quo. Some politicians may even push for lower funding for American schools. Decide where you stand and find out what your candidates believe.

6. Governance

While it may seem strange to think about a politician’s stance on governance, many people have pushed for change, especially in recent years. Many issues related to legislative processes, states’ rights, and government size have been raised in recent years. Also, many questions about the election process itself have come up, especially in terms of redistricting, campaign finances, and the utility of an electoral college in modern times.

Elected officials make these policy changes. It is important to know what they think about current political practices and how they might want this to change in the future. Most politicians will have clear stances on issues related to governance and it pays to read up on them to make sure they advocate for her and implement the changes you desire.

Published by Rachel Lader

Rachel Lader recently completed her Juris Doctor (JD) on a scholarship at New York Law School. While earning her degree, she participated in a study abroad program at Birkbeck, University of London. Complementing her education, Rachel Lader has worked in multiple internships in the legal sector.

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