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Clayson: Six rules for avoiding bad politicians
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Clayson: Six rules for avoiding bad politicians

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Politicians never seem to grow up, so my Six Quick Rules for Avoiding Bad Politicians is just as relevant now as it was in previous elections.

Rule 1: Be extra careful with a politician who promises to “fight.”

Who are they fighting against? Typically, they are promising to fight the people who are not immediately at their rally, but the same ones they will need to get the resources to get elected. It is hypocritical and really quite nasty if you stop to think about. If all your candidates promise to “fight,” go with the one who doesn’t use the term often.

Rule 2: Stay far away from politicians who need to separate voters into groups, especially if they then turn one group against another.

Unlike the politicians who make themselves rich by winning elections, most wealthy people (around 80%) actually earned their wealth. In the same light, using racial and gender stereotypes to advance a campaign is morally and pragmatically wrong. This applies to white males as much as to any other group.

Rule 3: Avoid the candidate who can only survive in a very cold and negative world. If a candidate cannot win unless the economy is going to hell, run away. This is especially true if the candidate nudges and pushes a downward economic spiral for their own election benefit.

I like Bernie Sanders personally, but he can only win if things get bad.

Rule 4: This is one of my favorites. If a candidate has “a plan” and keeps talking about “the plan” be wary. Having “a plan” means nothing in the real world, except the candidate doesn’t have a clue, or he or she isn’t about to tell you what they really want to do.

Rule 5. Can the candidate talk without using the word “I” multiple times in each paragraph? Anyone who gets serious about running for the President of the United States will have an ego that would fill Iowa several times over. Many times the candidate actually begins to believe their own propaganda, or believe that what they can do if elected is so important that everything else is only secondary.

When they start talking about the jobs they will create, and the harmony they will bring to the nation, walk out; the candidate is either a snake oil huckster, an egomaniac, or in need of stronger meds.

Rule Six: Never ever vote for the candidate who uses the phrase “fair share.” If you wonder why this is a scam, ask the candidate to define it. You will find that they don’t have a clue what the “fair” is in their own statement. They only know that someone else is going to get hit to supply the resources to buy your vote by giving you something at a greatly reduced cost.

A favorite tactic this cycle is the candidates promising to make “big” businesses pay their “fair share.” Don’t be taken in by this. First ask yourself why they are not currently paying their “fair share.”

Then follow the money. Along the way forget about the cartoon of Scrooge McDuck with his vault full of gold and jewels and ask a basic question. Where do the “big” businesses get the money to pay their taxes? Yup, from their workers and customers. A business tax is basically a tax on labor and a sales tax. The charming pol who wants to “fight” so that “big” this or that will pay their “fair share” is a con, or too naïve to ever be elected.

Can we find a moral and honest politician? Of course, but it appears it may be difficult this time around.

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Dennis Clayson is a business professor at the University of Northern Iowa. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not reflect those of the University of Northern Iowa.

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