PROGRESSIVE VOICE: 2016 Presidential Candidate Assessment Grid

PROGRESSIVE VOICE: 2016 Presidential Candidate Assessment Grid

By Yezdyar S. Kaoosji

As progressives, we should lead and not resort to compromising our principles. The strength of our convictions rather than political expediency should drive our ballot decisions.

While candidates are getting ready for the Presidential Primary Election on June 7, 2016, we as citizens need to prepare ourselves on what we expect from the next President of the United States of America. The year ahead will be inundated with claims and counterclaims and barrages of advertising mixing positive and negative messages that may well confuse more than inform. As voters, we have the responsibility to educate ourselves to make that final decision, first in June and then in November.

A column in the May 2015 Community Alliance, “Progressives Have a Choice in 2016—Lead or Compromise!( wordpress/?p=10825) discussed favored election issues under six themes and asked for reader input. Thanks to the responses, here is a summary of the most often cited progressive issues and expectations.

The grid below is designed to provide a point of reference to progressive readers for assessing and comparing candidates based on their record of legislative votes and administrative actions, as well as their election speeches, literature, media interviews, op-eds, books, advertisements, debates, etc. The grid might also help put into perspective the impact of any negative advertising, whether targeted at or initiated by the candidates being assessed. Moreover, because we are still a year away from the Primary Election, the grid can be updated during the year as more information is available or when more candidates emerge.


Yezdyar Kaoosji is a progressive activist. He writes a regular column, Progressive Voice, for the Community Alliance. Contact him at

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How to Use the Candidate Assessment Grid

Thirteen top issues have been identified below. You may use all the issues, select a few or add issues you care about strongly if not covered on the grid. It will be most useful if you adapt it to your use, either in groups or as individuals.

Grid Numerical Scoring Values

  1. No demonstrated adherence or pronouncements on this issue
  2. Supports issue today but has opposed it in the past
  3. Favors issue only when asked or is supporting it in response to pressure or recent polls
  4. Always an active supporter with a leadership record of voting for and acting on this issue


  • Community Alliance

    The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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