It’s Time To Start Vetting Political Candidates – On Your Own

( – If there’s one thing the American people have learned in the wake of the elections of progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and notorious liar former Rep. George Santos, it’s that the two big parties don’t do a fantastic job of vetting their own candidates. Granted, the DNC and the RNC have a lot on their hands, and so do the local party chapters, which are responsible for handling debates and primary challenges. But that doesn’t mean these candidates have to get away with it.

Whether it’s an extremist candidate edging their way into national politics on a platform that appeals to the very real concerns of American voters and taking advantage of the desperation of the country’s dwindling middle class or a flat-out fraudster making up credentials and lying about his professional history, dishonesty in politics causes a cascade of problems for the American people. Not only do voters lose trust in the big parties, but unqualified people stand in the way of legislators getting important work done.

So what can be done? Well…a lot! Every American voter has the power to get candidates, and sometimes all it takes is a Google search. And it’s not just a matter of ensuring candidates are who they say they are. Sometimes it’s about making sure a candidate is right for you.

As we head into yet another round of national elections, here are some simple tips to help you get candidates running for office in your town, city, county, and state.

  1. Check their references!

If a candidate says they went to a particular college, then do what any employer might do: call the college! If a candidate says they worked for a particular charity or organization, conduct a Google search and see if there is any evidence to back up their claim.

Catching candidates in a lie is easy thanks to Google, and even easier when you take a moment to contact organizations and individuals they claim to have worked with yourself.

  1. Attend campaign events.

Sometimes it’s not just about ensuring candidates are who they say they are, but making sure their values represent you and your community. The simplest way for you to ensure that a candidate shares your values and that they aren’t simply saying the right thing is to attend a campaign event. Go to the rallies, attend the debates, and take a moment to talk to the candidate in person.

Every serious candidate will give you an opportunity to talk to them and ask questions, and this is your chance to really get to know them. And, if you can’t attend the event in person, you can catch them online and follow up with an email to their campaign team.

  1. See Their Answers is one of several websites that provide detailed information about candidates’ positions on Big Answers. Use this site and others to see where a candidate stands on the issues that matter to you. This particular site, which is operated by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, does a fantastic job of tracking claims, statements, and promises made by candidates all over the country.

  1. See their voting record.

Don’t forget that every incumbent candidate is best judged on their voting record and not on the words that come out of their mouths!

Check any incumbent’s voting record at And if their words don’t match their actions, why not hold their feet to the fire with a call to their office? It’s your right!

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