2000pres Mr. Gilsdorf
FreshPond Education  
Who Would You Vote For?


Presidential Election -- Pick your candidate and be prepared to support your choice. Base your choice on your understanding of the issues, the candidates stand on those issues and why your candidate of choice best represents you.

In a few weeks, America will be having a Presidential election. This is a time for all citizens to pick a person that they feel will be a good (even great) President. Although the process of picking a candidate to fill the position of President is an important task, it is the same process that we use to select people for all elected offices, from school class representative to state governor. Choosing the right person to represent you and your beliefs should not be done hastily. Politicians would like you to get to know them but they do not have the time to stop by everyone’s house and sit down for a real long talk about their stands on all the issues. (That is not very realistic, now, is it?) So, they spend lots of money trying to get their positions across to millions of people at once by TV and other media. The problem with that is that they have to try and convince as many voters as possible with each presentation. So, their standpoint may not be very clear, the message may be vague because they are attempting to appeal to many voters at once.
You may have heard the term “sound bite.” This was coined because a candidate is trying to summarize a big idea in as short a time as possible. This doesn’t really give you much understanding of how the candidate came to their particular belief on what can often be a very complicated issue. This short sound bite becomes even harder to relate to when you add in the confusion of negative, counter-advertisements that spend much of the time mud-slinging and bickering about who is lying and how the opposing candidate has misrepresented the other’s stand on an issue. How do we sort out the truth about positions and beliefs of our candidates in this type of environment?

The Task

You have several smaller tasks that you must complete to reach your final goal of selecting the Presidential candidate that best represents you. Before you can select a candidate, you have to first decide which issues are the most important to you. Are there some that are more important than others? Next, you have to find out where the candidates stand on these issues, not just what they say but try to find out why they have chosen to be for or against an issue and how this translates to actions they may have taken that might have an impact on citizens like you. Dig deep into a politician’s history and belief system to find out how they developed their stand on the issues.
Once you have compared the candidates, then you can explain how you came to this decision. You must present the findings of your research in a persuasive essay that compares your beliefs to that of your “chosen” candidate as well as why other candidates did not appeal to you.

The Process

Make a list of eight issues that are important to you (try to make four of them issues that you think are considered “national issues”). Then write a supporting explanation about why these issues are important to you. As you develop each issue, try to define yourself as for or against each of the issues. (Pro or Con) Hint: If you are completely stuck creating your list of issues you can go to the first two websites on the list of online resources below.

2. The next step is to research the candidates on these issues and find out their stand on the same issues that are your key issues. (Are they pro or con?) Briefly describe their stand and how they came to it. Was there an influence or event in their life before or during their political careers that made them believe this way? Use the list of Web sites below

3. Which candidate do you like?

4. Which candidate is most aligned with your beliefs on the four chosen issues? Are some issues more important than others? Are there any issues that are so important that you would vote for a candidate based only on that one (or two) issue(s)? Explain.

5. Who will you vote for? Take the notes from the above questions to create a five-paragraph essay explaining who you will vote for and why, addressing at least three of the issues that are important to you. Be sure to compare the candidate’ stand versus yours on the issues, explain which are the most important to you and where you and your “chosen” candidate agree and where you disagree (remember, it is not likely that you and your candidate will agree on ever issue.)


Being an informed citizen and voter is a vital part of being a member of a democracy. When we choose not to participate in elections we really have no voice in how our government makes laws that will affect us for years to come. Often many people feel that their vote does not count, or that it will not make a difference anyway. Even though it may seem that the control of our government comes from the people with the money, who give to the politicians in hope of getting some favoritism, this could not be further from the truth. Those politicians could not get into office with out the votes of the people like you and me. We have a choice to keep people that we do not trust out of office. But we must vote. When many people choose to vote together they can create change. When many people choose not to vote they can also create change. If you do not vote you cannot take credit for what is created. Voting is one of the great rights as well as responsibilities come with being part of a democracy.


You will be evaluated on the thoroughness of your research and persuasive quality of your essay. It also needs to be clear who your candidate is and how well you researched and compared your candidate to the other candidates running for President. Your teacher will provide the criteria that you specifically need to follow.
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Last updated  2008/09/28 08:05:35 PDTHits  197