Political Vetting: How well do you really know your candidate?

September 7, 2018

 

From now on, woe betide the party that having attested to the character and probity of its candidates, politicians and staff, is revealed to have been conned or simply been sloppy in its vetting. The political pain will be far worse than the earlier discomfort of often humiliatingly intense investigation of candidates.

 

 

In days gone by, political candidate vetting was never a very rigorous process. If you had a union leader, heart surgeon or hockey star as a good prospect, you really did not want to know anything else about the past of this political candidate. Unless you were very unlucky, past events or incidents of his or her life such as criminal conviction of any kind, spousal abuse, adultery or child molestation were unlikely to ever emerge.

 

Back then, the final test in candidate vetting, was the senior recruiter looking the prospect meaningfully in the eye, and saying with great solemnity, “Now, is there anything you have not disclosed that there is even a distant prospect, if it were revealed, that would bring shame or harm to the party or yourself?”

Today, that test is no longer sufficient.

 

Serious archival research, social media tracking, and even private investigators are now the norm and political parties are no exception to the rule. Political parties must now meet the new standard. The price of failure to do so is too high to pay.

 

Invasive inquiry, aggressive reference checking, difficult final interviews and even un dated resignation letters are the new standard, the new norm.

 

JMD

 

 

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