As you read each candidate's response, consider:
- Has this candidate demonstrated a thorough understanding of
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
not strategies or game
plans. For instance, food insecure people should receive help
- 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.