A Guide for Candidates for Engaging the Issues

Based on five years of observing the patterns of discussion associated with public policy issues of concern to Rhode Islanders, I’d like to offer a short list of principles that candidates and activists, first-timers and others, may find useful when bringing their ideas to the public…
1. No issue is as complex as someone whose objective is to prevent you from offering reasonable input will try to make you — and the voters — think that it is.
2. Statistics and rankings are not the final word on a subject, but meaningful numbers change for a reason. So make sure the numbers you choose to explain yourself with are the meaningful ones.
2A. There is no fundamental law of the universe that says Rhode Island has to be near the bottom of a list of state rankings. That Rhode Island is so often at the bottom of such lists is an indication of things that need to be changed, not that Rhode Island is doomed for all time.
3. Advocating “raise taxes and expand bureaucracy” is no more or less nuanced a solution to a policy issue than is advocating cutting taxes and cutting back bureaucracy; you are not required to “prove” that we don’t need a tax increase or a new spending program any more than a tax-increase or spending advocate is required to “prove” that we do.
3A. But you entered your political race to win, not to tie, so make sure you can explain why your position is superior to that of your opponent’s, and not just a reflexive mirror image.

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Monique
Editor
11 years ago

“is no more or less nuanced a solution to a policy issue than is advocating cutting taxes and cutting back bureaucracy”
The fact that the goal of shrinking government is not a nuanced stance does not make it wrong.
(Very good list, Andrew.)

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