How Should We Evaluate Presidential Candidates?

1 Timothy 3:1-7 – This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre [money]; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. 

The above verse applies to individuals seeking the highest office in a church – pastor – but the qualities required of a good pastor are likewise required of a good leader in general. I’ve heard the argument, “we’re not electing a pastor-in-chief,” and you’re right, we’re not, but I’d say most of society would speak fairly highly of the pastors they know. Pastors are all-in-all good people, who care about others and have good character-traits. Maybe we should use the above qualities when analyzing our presidential candidates as well – especially, if we call ourselves Christians.

Obviously, if you aren’t a Christian, or you whole-heartedly disagree with me on the above statement, then it’s a moot-point, but let’s move to the actual requirements.

Article II, Section II of our U.S. Constitution outlines the duties of the president. Over time, other duties have been added through judicial decisions, legislative acts, and precedent set by past presidents.

Rather than give you legalese to read, I found a simplistic list of presidential powers on Scholastic’s website (citation below):

  1. Chief of State
    • A.K.A. the pomp-and-circumstance aspects of the job, such as awarding medals, giving speeches, and serving as the face of the nation
  2. Chief Executive
    • Presiding over the many executive agencies
  3. Chief Diplomat
    • Speaking with other world leaders and conducting negotiations
  4. Commander-in-Chief
    • Leading the U.S. military
  5. Chief Legislator
    • Urging Congress to pass certain laws as well as using the power to veto or sign bills into law
  6. Chief of Party
    • Helping his or her political party receive appointments/elections
  7. Chief Guardian of the Economy
    • Focusing upon economic factors of taxes, unemployment, etc. and doing what he/she can to keep the economy running smoothly

As we look at the remaining 2016 presidential candidates, we should analyze each one on these criteria. I will steer away from giving you my opinion (most probably know who I’m for/against at this point, but that isn’t the point here.) The point is for each person to use the above list as well as his or her own political leans to evaluate the candidates. If someone cannot serve in one of the above roles in an acceptable capacity, we should disregard them as a serious candidate.

I’ve heard a lot of political pundits talk about the “one-issue voter.” This is a dangerous thought. We should never disregard six of the above criteria because we think a candidate would be superb at one.

Choosing a president is a decision that has lasting ramifications. For instance, Reagan was elected in the Eighties, but the affects of his presidency are lasting even unto this day. He appointed Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away this past week, as well as Anthony Kennedy, who is still a member of the High Court. With the risk of repeating myself, consider this decision prayerfully and diligently. We cannot afford to make a mistake here – it could affect our nation for decades to come.




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