Candidates have begun to declare their intentions for running for the presidency in 2020 as well as other offices like the Senate in Alabama. Soon, we will be swamped with campaign commercials, ads in our mailboxes, and calls wanting us to give money. I like to keep up with the politics, so I can be an informed voter when I go to the polls. However, there are some things that can sway my vote that have nothing to do with the candidates' platforms. Here are five things that get under my skin come election time.

1. Trashing other candidates

This happens more often than it should. It seems that some candidates love nothing more than to trash and throw smut at their opponents. What happened to honest and fair campaigning? Why do politicians think that the only way to win is to drag everybody else through the dirt? It's one thing to speak ill of another candidate, but I believe it is taking it too far when they also drag down the family, especially their children. A politician's family is not the ones running for office and should not be scrutinized and shamed in order to get an extra vote.

2. Poor treatment of others

If you do not not have the decency to treat your fellow man with respect and dignity, you have no business holding a public office. This includes respecting opponents, treating all voters the same no matter their skin color or where they are from, and respecting both man and women. Last election season, it was brought to light that some candidates had sexually assaulted women in the past. I already did not favor these candidates, but this news helped to solidify my decision about them. How can voters expect a candidate to have their best interest at heart and fairly represent them in government if the politician does not care about them in the first place?

3. Idiocy

If you can't answer simple questions about current issues or events or do not know how the government works you do not have a place there. You should also have a working knowledge of American history and social studies. It's amazing how much some candidates tend to either have forgotten or ignore. Another aspect of this is to know when to stay silent and when to speak. One of my favorite quotes is "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." When you have access to the global stage and all eyes are one you, it is very pertinent to use tact and to speak with intelligence, otherwise you risk making yourself look like an idiot and losing my vote.

4. Making a career of politics

If you have held the same office for the past thirty years and are not accomplishing anything, it is time for you to go. Some candidates make careers out of politics, racking up war chests with so much money that it is impossible for them to be ousted. If a candidate has been in office for decades and does not seem to be trying to help his constituents in any way, I tend to not vote for them. This mainly pertains to politicians in state offices like Alabama's representatives and senators who have no term limits. It is these "good old boy" politicians that refuse to leave that hold back states like Alabama in matters like education and environmental issues.