We will begin adding confirmed candidates over the next few weeks.
Where do I start?
While the swamp dwellers and their associates will try their best to avoid having any meaningful discussions about pretty much anything, you can force them back into focus by being prepared. Many are familiar with what is often referred to as the Farm Bill. Because of that name, most people think it is geared towards farmers. That is really not accurate.
The farm bill not only covers agriculture, it includes international trade, food and nutrition programs, rural development (including rural cities), food safety, conservation, marketing, and so much more. If you familiarize yourself with this monster sized document, you will be well prepared to hop into to the political fray at the next townhall. You will see that on the candidates websites, their platforms will often coincide with the Farm Bill. This is especially true of presidential candidates.
What follows is a quick highlight and then how I use this long document to make my candidate selection. Of course, there will be some other questions that I will be interested in, but these are the items that drive our communities and countries. These are the meat and potatoes of the day to day activities of politicians. Or at least they should be. (insert groan of frustration with politicians here)
The Farm Bill is divided into sections called Titles. Title 1 Commodities Title 2 Conservation Title 3 Trade Title 4 Nutrition Title 5 Credit Title 6 Rural Development Title 7 Research, Extension, and Related Matters Title 8 Forestry Title 9 Energy Title 10 Specialty Crops and Horticulture Title 11 Crop Insurance Title 12 Miscellaneous
I'm not going to lie. This takes a bit of work and tenacity. The Farm Bill is probably 700 to 800 pages long. You need to take your time and look it over. It won't be a fifteen minute deal. I will tell you what I do before I head to the voting booth.
Start by skimming over the Titles to get an idea what they are about. Then go back and skim more slowly. You will begin formulating your own opinions and questions on things by this point. Jot them down. I used to print the document out and then make notations, but that is a bit ridiculous at this size of document. Instead, download the pdf and learn to make notes and/or highlights as you go.
Next you will review candidates and their platforms. You will begin to notice the similarity between the candidates platforms and the Farm Bill. At this point you will begin to have a better understanding of what you are looking at. Go back to the Farm Bill and as you go through it, mark the name of the candidate who aligns most closely with your viewpoint. If you are savvy with Excel, you can set up a spreadsheet and get OCD about it.
Now you should have a reasonably strong grasp of the issues and what your opinions are. It will be much easier to understand candidates and to know what questions you have for them.
Get the pdf version printed and then go out to coffee with a couple of friends and go though it together. Make it a fun learning process for all of you. This also gives you the opportunity to discuss things that confuse you and to get different viewpoints and opinions. Don't get into a wrestling match over opinions, this should be an opportunity to see things from different viewpoints. You won't agree on everything. Trust me on this.
This years elections, and likely many to follow, are going to be brutally ugly. Mudslinging, personal attacks, wild accusations...it will be a made for TV drama played out daily. Our job is to keep the knuckleheads on task and make them continue answering questions. The more they try to deflect and avoid having to discuss the issues, the more we need to demand that they answer them. More than once. That way we can gauge the consistency of their answers. We want no useless fence sitters. We want answers. Real and complete answers.
I will begin adding candidates and state issues/ballot issues over the next several weeks as time permits and as the names are confirmed. I will try my best to provide as much info on each as I can. Of course, we both know that I am going to have an opinion to share as well. Hey, you can disagree. I won't hate you. :)
Armed with your new knowledge, together we can keep this election headed in the proper direction. Or at least try. Those mainstream "news" places are going to be doing their level best to create as much chaos as possible. We may need a strategy for them as well. heh. Maybe just ignore them and rely on your own research, townhalls, interviews, and past performance if they are an encumbent and let the chaos just pass on by. You know what is right for you, your family, and the future of your community. It certainly isn't likely to be what any outside interests will be screaming for. We do not need California, Illinois, and New York telling us who we are and what we need. They can keep their bankruptcy creating ideas and thoughts to themselves. They need to clean up their socialist, crime infested, high cost of living, poverty ridden sanctuary states before telling us how to run our state. The first time you hear a candidate say, "this is not who we are", you can be certain they are a part of the swamp. Pull out your nerf bat and play Whack a Mole with their campaign.