I’ve had a bunch of conversations in the past few days about whom to vote for in the primary this week. More interesting than the actual choices my friends are making (most are pro-Obama, for many it’s not even a question) is the reasoning they are using to make this choice.
- What do you see as the role of the President? Is it hands-on management of government, in-the-trenches compromise kind of stuff, or is to set a tone, inspire, and delegate a lot of the actual policy-making to those in your cabinet?
- How will the rest of the world perceive our choice? Can we repair our image and relations internationally by picking a candidate who is a symbol of sea-change?
- Who are the candidates’ advisors at this time, what are their backgrounds, what do they tell us about what the candidates are likely to actually do once in office? Haven’t we learned from the Bush presidency that you aren’t just electing an individual, you’re electing his or her entire team, for better or worse?
- Gut feeling, personal charisma, etc.
- Who is most electable versus the likely Republican nominee? (Though yesterday a friend who follows the race more closely than I expressed confidence in a Democratic win either way, which, if you agree, makes this question less important).
- The candidates’ stated views on the issues, and/or the organizations that support each candidate.
- Related to many of the above, here’s a view from The Nation.
I think it’s kind of fascinating to look at how people think through these kinds of choices, especially in an exciting race with a lot of momentum and two very interesting candidates who are not terribly different on many issues (though certainly not clones of one another, either). And I wonder to what extent we make our decision with our gut, then justify it.
(Note: Just for curiosity’s sake, since I know my choice next week, I took a bunch of issues quizzes – you can find several here. What I love is that the results are inconsistent. Gravel, Biden, Obama, and Clinton have all come out on top and I’ve taken six quizzes!)