A Candidate’s Personal Life

r168575_629636.jpgWe are now less than two months away from the U.S. presidential election and the media (newspapers, television and radio news, Internet news sites) is full of stories about each of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates. In addition to media scrutiny (close examination), each of the two major political parties — the Democrats and the Republicans — are working hard to dig up dirt (to find secret and damaging information) on their opponents (someone you’re competing against; rival).

I think everyone would agree that if a candidate had done something criminal (against the law) or even unethical (morally wrong) in his or her business or work, that it would be relevant (important) to how voters vote. However, what about events in their personal lives, events that are not related to their work or public service? If the candidates or a member of their families had done something shameful (causing shame or disgrace) or questionable (not certain of the truth), should that affect voters?

Tell us what you think and why.

~ Lucy


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20 Responses to A Candidate’s Personal Life

  1. Serge (from France) says:

    Thank you Lucy for this vote. I nearly got angry when I heard the news about Pavlin’s daughter pregnangcy: in my opinion, things like these should not been underlined by the media – but I guess this can be considered as criminal or unethical for some people.

  2. emiliano says:

    No, by all meanings, as Jesus told us 2000 years ago when an aduterer woman was presented to him “the one that has not any sin may throw the first stone”.
    I think just the same….Is there anybody that has not a sin along his/her life?. NO.
    So, private life doen’t matter to be a good president, and it is what really important to me.He/Her has to be inteligent, nice, smart, honest, ethical, a good administrator, and so on, a good person, a human of course with some private sins as everybody, and it is not my business to judge those sins.
    I should be funny to elect a silly saint……, so good person, without any sin….but silly by all means.


  3. Ricardo says:

    I think you have to think twice before voting in a candidate that you don’t know very much, especially his/her personal life. To make sure you’re going to choose a good candidate it’s essential to know deeply the candidate and to know their life trajectory.

  4. Mehdi says:

    Hi Lucy!

    I’m in Iran and here I don’t believe that the presidential candidate are subject of research for the wrong and bad things in their life, and I think if it was like that all the candidate are going to be ashamed about at least one of the memebers of their family. I want to say that the only important character for candidates should be themselves, imagine you are a well educated person and are really ready to have a very important job but you have a bad brother, now you all answer me that AM I NOT CAPABLE TO BE A PRESIDENT BECAUSE OF MY ABILITIES?

    Thank you all

  5. Ghasem says:

    Because everybody has their own believes and behaviors that doesn’t affect other people. I think everybody has done something in his/her personal life that some other poeple may think that it is wrong, but it is not related to them and dosen’t make any harm to them. So, this should be considered as a private issue. The typical of these behaviors is the pregnancy of Sara Palin doughter!! I think this is a problem inside their family and is not related to American presidential election. (eventhough, I wish Barak Obama to win this campaign).

  6. Rodrigo says:

    I think that politics is very dirty everywhere and an example is precisely this matter, if a candidate has good trajectory in his/her career, why personal life, family or relatives problems should affect?, voters must focus in the career, working background, experience (if it is succesful or not), opinion and plans how solve the important matters that affect your country or your community (cases of majors, governors,legislature, that’s the key to make a decision, and not consider the gossips (even if it’s true) of personal life which can distort making a proper decision, it seems that the States are not an exception in this issue.
    The political campaings in Venezuela are a garbage disposal due to the insults candidates say to each other.


  7. akiuki says:

    Well my first thought is that personal matters should not be taken into account for the election, but having said that what do you think if their personal events were in contradiction with statements they are posting in their election’s program? Integrity is relevant.

  8. Luisa says:

    In my opinion, the events in their personal lives are irrelevant in political matters. In contrast, to do something criminal or unethical will be very relevant for voters and for the country. The personal matters are used only for damaging strategy, and I desagree that.

  9. BibyHanhNguyen says:

    I agree with Emiliano ‘s opinion. Every human can be made mistake at least one time in life. So I think we should admit their ability, what they can do for your country in present and future and the media should not dig up dirt their private life. Besides, their demerit and mistake in past are not against law and unethical can be overlook.
    Have a nice day.

  10. smallpig says:

    I think personal life matters, if it may create conflict of interests. For example, if the candidate has many affairs, there is a chance that someday in his term he may get threatened by an aggressive mistress who uses the relationship as a weapon to seize power. Or if he has family members or friends in the gang society, one should question whether he will offer benefits to these people by using his power in the position. I don’t say these personal issues will 100% lead to an untruthful president, and sometimes it does not matter if the president can handle it well. Like Bill Clinton, he was kind of joke for his affairs with that assistant Monica, but it did not undermine his track record in his presidency.

  11. elcomandant says:

    I think in your survey, would be another possibility. “It depends”.

    In my view, the voters have to distinguish between personal life’s acts that they can influence in the political behavior, or not.

    For instance, if a candidate has been caught with a woman who isn’t his wife, or his father is alcoholic, or his son is a bad student, or he is divorced, this candidate would be able be a good President of some country, if the rest her behavior is enough honest, of course. I think, this can happen to anyone, either male or female.

    However, If the candidate in your previous personal life he evaded his taxes, or he made a contract of employment illegal, or he cooked the books, or he embezzled money, it is clear that this candidate won’t be surely a good President of any country.

    Worst of all this are the people think that whole of politicians are corrupt, I think so, then they vote always the same political party. Besides they usually hate the other people they vote the opposition. I don’t do this.


  12. DEN (from Russia) says:

    It is a very interesting to read the opinions wrote above. Most of the readers, as I see, think that private life is not a subject for public discussion. I agree with this but only partly. We call private life so because it is our personal life and the facts of this life can be the subject matter only if we want to discuss this publicly. So people have the right to live their own life avoiding public discussion.
    But public person, especially the presidential candidate, is the other thing. Let’s see occasion with the pregnancy of Sara Palin’s daughter. She talks about family values publicly and that she will support them as a Vice-president of the USA. In the case of being citizen of the USA, I would like to ask about these values. Are American family values illegitimate children and adolescent pregnancies? If not (I am sure that not), Sara Palin is a hypocrite. And it is good to know about this when she is only running for a Vise –presidency.

  13. Ghasem says:

    Dear Den from Russia,
    If you have a look at the results of this poll, you could see that the most (61%) of the readers do agree that the private life is a subject of public discuusion. I, again, disagree with them. Also, Sarah’s talk about support of family values is not in contrast with her doughter pregnancy. Her dogther hasn’t done anything illegal and his child won’t be a illegitimate child, because they will get married and her child’s father is determined !

  14. emiliano says:

    I have been two or three days thinking about this matter, also talking with my wife about her opinion, and may be she is right about some other questions she told me.
    It is important that these public people have ethic in their private life, of course, and just do and live in the way they talk about and preach other’s life.
    In few words “I do in life just what I say” and if this isn’t so, it is necessary that electors may know about it.
    So private life may be very important (in some aspects) to know and check if this person who wants to be elected is doing in his/her life the same that is talking about.
    I remember some anecdote that Jeff told me about California’s Governor that has changed his car (a big allground car) very pollute to the environment by a quite small one much more ecological.
    This may be an example of doing what he was asking for, and we have all rights to demand at our politicians that they do in their lifes the same they ask for to the citizens.
    But gossip, rubbish, mud up to the face of the other, no please.

  15. manuel says:

    For my personal opinion and in my country , all politics are corruptor ( bad person ). For me, all the candidate a any work are bad person. For that we are like are. I never vote. Please excuseme for my English.

  16. Victor says:

    And I think that’s rather tough (and that’s why very intersting) question. I believe that most of those who has a chance to vote in different countries aren’t really into politics. So should the personal life of the candidate affect on our decision or not is D.O.A question. We always look at the “face” of a future president and if we like it, we’ll vote for him\her. It seems clear to me, that if a candidate doesn’t have his\her own family or the members of the family ‘don’t behave well’, it means that he\she has got some peorsonal problems and why will we talk about direction of the whole country while he\she can’t manage with their own life? And in addition, I’d like to say that everyone has a right to know all the information about the candidate, who is a public (!) person, and only after that one may takes it’s own decision whom he\she is going to vote for.

  17. Julian Mack says:

    IMHO, If someone cannot take care of his home, how will he do it with a nation like the USA?

  18. meshal says:

    My answer is NO, Let’s take an example if you have a company and you want to employee a person in high position. You will employee a one who will achieve your company goals. not the one who visit the church. It’s about what you able to do in the company not in your backyard.

  19. nguyenlam says:

    I thinks that voters will be affected by these things. Nowadays, the media can make a very very small information become very very big one. So, if one candidate makes any mistake, his rival and the media will attack him very violently. And it’s nearly that some of his voters will be affected. It’s seemly that the candidates must be perfect.

  20. Gionata says:

    Hi Lucy,
    thanks for your interesting question. I think that personal behaviour of a candidate is a thing that matter. I mean, i want to know everything about a person who wants to be representative of citizens. Too many times here in Italy we see politicians who gain votes on a particular program or who try to convince us about the goodness of their ideas and then you discover that they live without respecting the principle by which they win the competition. Too many politicians against divorce who has been married three times!!!

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