Today I wanna unpack and explain how I chose a presidential candidate to support. And for me, it’s not so important that you choose who I chose, of course that’d be awesome, but I really do want you to choose somebody. Don’t allow special interest groups to choose for you. This election is too important, the stakes are too high, and Donald Trump is too evil for any of us to just sit idly by. As you may know, the debates actually begin next month, but the primaries are already fully underway. And I did something this year that I have never done before in my life, and I don’t regret it for a moment, I decided to choose a candidate and jump in head first early. I’ll tell you why I did that, and why I’d like for you to consider doing it – then I’ll quickly explain the 7 factors I look for in a presidential candidate.
I’ve volunteered and worked on and now helped to manage over dozen different political campaigns, but it wasn’t until the 2016 Democratic primaries that I learned a major lesson that I wanna share with you all this morning. As voters, we have a window of time where we are deeply influential in presidential campaigns and it’s before the voting begins in January. This January, when the actual primaries get started, the campaigns are going to be fully formed. And each candidate is going to be so focused on getting out the vote, that they really stop being good listeners. I don’t even mean that as a diss, it’s just true. But right now, and for the next 6 months before voting begins, the campaigns are desperate for volunteers, desperate for donors, and are more willing to listen than they will be at any other time in their political lives. And so I decided that this time around, instead of just sitting around and watching the campaigns during these 6 months, that I’d choose a candidate to support, and be deeply influential in their campaign – and I’d love for many of you to give it a try as well.
This is not a time to be a fly on the wall. You are going to look back on this election as one of the most important, if not the most important of our entire lives.
So let me tell you what I look for in a presidential candidate. And you don’t have to have all of the things that I look for, but I do want you to have your own rubric. Don’t just allow anybody else to choose for you.
- What have they been fighting for over the course of their entire political lives? Listen – every single candidate is going to have a great website and say great things in their speeches and on social media. But if you really wanna know what they’re going to fight for as President, the best indication is what they’ve fought for their entire political lives. What were the fighting for before they ran for President?
- Who do young people love? I am very, very concerned. Right now, young voters and older voters, are world’s apart in who they are supporting for President. And I am concerned because it’s normally the Democrat that young people support, and volunteer for, and are excited about who wins. In 2008, young voters chose Obama, and at first, older voters chose Hillary Clinton, but eventually came around to support Obama, but Obama’s campaign was fueled by the energy of young voters. I really, really think that the Democratic candidate needs to be someone loved by young voters.
- Who do current movements support? (Green New Deal, Medicare For All, Fight for $15, Justice Reform Movement, Black Lives Matter Movement, Immigration Reform Movement, Me Too Movement, Gun Reform Movement) – and all of these movements are organized and energetic. The worst thing we could do would be to choose a nominee who isn’t liked by any of those movements.
- Can they win the Electoral College? As much as we like to talk about the popular vote, the presidential campaign isn’t about that. It’s about winning the Electoral College. And Donald Trump won 30 states in 2016. That’s a lot. And we have to have a candidate who can not just win New York & California, but win Wisconsin and Michigan and Ohio and possibly even Arizona and Colorado. Can they compete in all 50 states?
I’ll close us out quickly this morning by going over the final 3 things I’m looking for in a presidential candidate – and all of them are important.
- Do they have a large base of donors that can fund a very expensive fight against Trump?
- Can they do large exciting events that build local momentum for voters? Because Trump crushes it in this department and I think Democrats better understand the power of large rallies to excite local voters.
- Do they contrast well against Donald Trump? Are their strengths his weaknesses. You can’t beat Trump playing his dirty games.
Shaun King: 7 Things To Look For In A Presidential Candidate was originally published on blackamericaweb.com