We each arrive at our political views and choice of a candidate for President by way of experiences, people who have influenced us in life, and other factors and insights--each has had a unique journey thus far. Do supporters of a particular candidate have certain characteristics in common? Why do millions rally around just a few front-runners--is it more about the candidate or more about the supporters?
How did you arrive at supporting your candidate?
I grew up in a conservative family. My father experienced gaining advanced degrees at one of the nation's elite universities prior to programs that pushed admitting minorities. His education qualified him to teach at the university level anywhere. Initial interviews made it clear that due to his political views, he was not wanted, even by other academic Hispanics. "We like you, but don't feel you'll fit in here." This was in the mid 70s--a time when the radicalization of America's universities was in full swing.
My own career took me to Europe from 1993 to 2004, where I experienced cultures, languages, and, of course, true socialized medicine. As a user of the system, it was great. I had to wonder, though, who is paying for this? Clearly, it was the tax payers--as my pay stub proved. During this time period, I was less involved with what was happening politically across the pond here in the States.
It was also during this time, the mid 90s, that my younger brother was in college. He roomed with a few guys there and continued to room together during their first jobs after graduation--they remain close friends to this day and try to visit and catch up whenever the opportunity presents itself. I vaguely remember hearing back then that two of them were from back east--Massachusetts. I thought I had heard their father was a businessman who was getting into politics.
The Presidential election of 2004 was interesting, but not all that riveting for me as I was still getting used to life back in the States. As the race for 2008 was heating up, I began looking at candidates and settled on Romney. What attracted me was a) his education--I also had a business education, b) his executive experience in the investment banking and consulting world--two areas for which I had a lot of respect and some insight, and c) his experience with the Olympics and as governor--I had always wished that someone with the unique insight derived from that sort of combination of private sector and public sector work would run.
Leaders who motivate me have core values and principles as well as those who have intellect, knowledge, a desire to understand the issues on which they are making decisions, and who have the smarts not to be duped. The ability to implement conservative principles was important as well and I felt Romney's experience had prepared him to undertake the daunting task of overhauling all things Federal government-related to make it more efficient.
One of my own personal characteristics is to try to look at situations from a variety of angles before making decisions. I'm quite analytical and I appreciate the same on the part of others. I avoid absolutes and this includes politics and candidates. A person who can build up the opposing argument and then make an even more compelling case for their own has the utmost credibility--hence my tendency to look for the positives in other candidates.
A few months ago, I was chatting with my mother. It had occurred to me that my brother's roommates and friends may have been two of Mitt Romney's sons--he just never volunteered or was vocal about it, probably because he just saw them as his buddies. She confirmed that's who they are and a few other tidbits, such as the fact he's been to their New Hampshire home a few times.
Believe it or not, I have not pumped him for information. Maybe I'll see if he'd be agreeable to be interviewed. Strangely, his relationship with their family hasn't had any impact either way on my assessment of Mitt. If anything, I'm more cautious about my support of him due to not wanting to be influenced in any way other than by my own independent analysis.
That's a bit of my story. What's yours with respect to your candidate?