Candidate Questions
Updated May 22nd, 2014

As you read each candidate's response, consider:

  • Has this candidate demonstrated a thorough understanding of complex issues?
  • Has this candidate demonstrated an ability to turn hopes into reality when there's strong opposition?
  • How might this candidate work with, or represent, others who have a very different perspective?
  • How might this candidate handle issues that no one anticipated before the election?
  • What could happen if everyone follows this candidate's example?
  • How is this candidate likely to vote on certain issues?

  • Some ways I respond differently to different people are ...
  • Dissenting opinions are/are not helpful because ...
  • I respect the opinions of others when ...
  • I trust people who ...
  • I accept something as true when ...
  • I accept the needs of others as equal to my own needs when ...
  • I'm confident I found the root of a problem when ...
  • When I'm "invested" in a particular proposal, I ...
  • If I notice a flaw in someone else's proposal, I ...
  • If someone points out a flaw in my proposal, I ...
  • I consider a situation "good enough" when ...
  • I reconsider past decisions when ...
  • I consider a dispute resolved when ...

The process below helps direct a discussion to facts and specific observations, which offer opportunities to find common ground and lay a foundation for further discussion. As we acknowledge the observations of others, they know we’re listening and we have an opportunity to see things we might have missed on our own. Sharing general principles offers additional opportunities to find common ground. Take the opportunity to learn about others who may have different principles or prioritize principles differently. After sharing and discussing facts, observations and principles, it’s easier to jointly explore specific ways to apply those principles to the facts and observations. Splitting concepts into facts, observations, principles, and application of principles takes longer, but creates new opportunities to find common ground, share ideas, and combine related ideas from several people.

  1. Choose a position you can summarize in a few sentences or less (just the position itself, for/against/evaluating ... , without any explanation or back-story), or a topic such as job creation, or the deficit.
  2. What facts or observations most influenced your position (just the facts, without any explanation or back-story)? For instance, many people are jobless, or al-Qaeda built training camps in Afghanistan before 9/11.
  3. What general principles and specific qualifiers could you apply to each individual fact, observation, or event? For instance, if you observed people starving in Africa, you might generalize "When anyone, anywhere is food insecure ... When U.S. citizens are food insecure ... When my own family is food insecure ... ". Think about long-term goals, not strategies or game plans. For instance, food insecure people should receive help with ...
  4. What specific solutions could apply the principles in step 3 to the facts and observations in step 2? This is where you consider specific strategies or game plans to meet the goals you mentioned in step 3. If assistance is desirable for food insecure people, what specific types of assistance would meet the goal? How might people receive this assistance?

Repeat as often as you wish for other positions.

Summarize common ground and differences between your answers and the answers of other candidates. If your positions on a specific issue don't match, try looking deeper at your facts, observations, principles, and overall approach to deciding what's true or when a solution is good enough. As you organize your response, consider how to help voters make an informed decision.