Today, new citizens, age 18, go to the polls without systematic training.

This would be like an untrained piano player stepping onto the stage of Carnegie Hall or an untrained tennis player walking onto center court at Wimbledon. But here the stakes are higher and the skills required more advanced.

The purpose of this website is to outline a rigorous citizen training program applicable at the elementary, middle, high school, college, graduate, and adult ed levels. It is applicable in an institutional or home setting. Unfortunately, the training program never ends. This is not about finding definitive answers. As the cliché goes, it’s about the process.

At the core of the training program is the idea that election preparation time is limited and that an intensive seven step process can help optimize the use of that time.

Preparing for elections without using tools that force us to think analytically and force us out of our echo chambers is like practicing tennis without a net or music without a metronome.  Undisciplined civic practice (eg. reading newspapers or blogs that reinforce our own biases) is easier after a hard day’s work, gives us the comforting satisfaction of going through the motions, and even imparts a sense of moral and intellectual superiority. But if your goal is in depth understanding and informed decision making, these habits of practice are self-destructive.           
This is an interactive guide.  You will get out of it what you put in.
Take out a pencil and paper or open up a computer file. 

You will do more writing than reading because reading without writing is like eating without digesting. And you will see lots of matrices because a good matrix is worth a thousand pictures. Writing without an implicit or explicit analytical framework is like digesting without enzymes. Explicit is better than implicit if the goal is mutual understanding or even real self-awareness.

The election is just 18 months away. Let’s get started.