The Importance of Why

In our state, local candidates have an early-January deadline by which to declare their candidacies for the 2016 election. In a small town, there’s bound to be some curiosity about who’s running.

That curiosity, however, is merely a superficial – and often personality-driven – concern.

It’s not who, but why someone seeks office that matters.

Why does someone want to run, and what will he or she do if successful in a race?

Candidates focusing on who (on themselves or rivals) consign themselves to a weaker position: the strongest candidates are those who focus not on themselves but on their ideas.

That’s not just happy talk – the principled candidate, where principle is more than a few vague words – will typically go farther, and weather the journey in better, than someone who’s mostly interested in being seen, having a seat at the table, being an adult in the room, whatever.

An adult in the room : is there any ambition more insipid and condescending than that? Every candidate who runs is of age to run, and to promise that one won’t throw food or have tantrums is a poor campaign platform. The very least one should be is one among many adults in the room. If that low standard seems a lofty goal, then one simply has no genuine grasp of lofty goals.

A candidate should advance a platform of ideas and plans for the accomplishment of those ideas.

Who‘s running?

No, the proper question is why someone is running.