What makes people want to run for president anyway? It’s a thankless job that entails relentless pressure, criticism, slander and hatred from large numbers of fellow Americans including political colleagues from both parties.
Political comedian Dean Obeidallah said, “Running for president is like auditioning to be a band leader on the Titanic. Not Captain, because the captain of a ship has more of an impact on the direction of a voyage than any president.”
But wait. Who wouldn’t want to be the most powerful and most recognized person in the world? In the 200-plus years since our nation’s birth, only 44 men have held this office. Who could pass up leaving an indelible political footprint that will last for eternity? Good or bad, presidents live forever in the minds of future generations. Their legacies are etched in our collective memory.
What’s interesting is that all presidential candidates, regardless of their party affiliation or their policy ideals have many things in common. Their personalities are not so dissimilar.
All candidates enjoy the limelight and the promise of power. They have tremendous will and determination — whether one thinks it’s self-serving or not — and they are all driven by the master that is ambition.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are no exception. Both have great ambition and both have egos the size of Jupiter. In addition, they both appear to have an axe to grind; a self-serving reason to prove something to the world.
For Clinton, perhaps it is avenging her loss to President Obama eight years ago. In addition, perhaps her drive for power is an unconscious yearning to meet her authoritarian father’s demand for perfection, discipline and control.
For Trump, his meta-agenda (which seems more like a vendetta), clearly involves a deep seeded anger and hatred for the political establishment, especially President Obama. He seems hell-bent on proving his enemies wrong and humiliating them one by one as he goes along. The more opposition he experiences, the greater the need to grind the retaliation axe.
Both candidates also possess an air of superiority and a grandiose sense of entitlement. They believe they have the right vision for the future, which by the way, takes a great deal of boldness to convince millions of Americans they can indeed predict the future. To convey their promises, they are willing to prostitute themselves to garner votes and employ often shady, used-car salesman techniques. They are also smart liars, con-artists and ass-kissers.
Satirically, author Douglas Adams suggests, “Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made president should on no account be allowed to do the job.”
But despite this mutual moxie, unlike Trump, Clinton faces many different kinds of challenges because of the lingering stereotypes of women. She gets both the double standard and the double bind treatment.
A recent article in Psychology Today stated that if Hillary Clinton behaves strong, forceful and confident, she is considered unlikable, “bitchy” and lacking warmth — this seems to be her biggest flaw in the public eye. On the other hand, if she is warm and tries to be likable, she is considered weak, less competent and unfit to be commander-in-chief. As a result, she may at times over-state her muscle with unlikable bravado that turns people off.
Writer Shana Lebowitz said, “While Clinton generally has little problem demonstrating her political skill, she’s had a considerably harder time conveying the charisma that’s necessary to win over voters.” President Barak Obama has charisma. Bernie Sanders has it. Even Donald Trump has it.
When Donald Trump is — well, Donald Trump; pugnacious, domineering, forceful and cold, the reaction among his followers is that he is charismatic and competent.
Clinton has also been labeled inflexible. She has been accused of flip-flopping on many important issues to suit her cause. She has been witch-hunted for thinking she’s above the law. Many also consider her a first-class liar.
When Trump lies and flip-flops and when he behaves as if he is above the law, it only seems to magnify his appeal and the groundswell of support stimulated by his pitchfork populism increases. We know he’s a racist bully, a misogynist and a xenophobe. So what gives?
If Trump was a woman, I doubt we would see such blind support for him. If Clinton was pugnacious and adopted a tyrannical, “Trump-like” persona, she wouldn’t have gotten this far in the race for the White House. Not a chance.
For me, the true difference between these two candidates is character, temperament and experience. It’s hard to question Clinton’s political experience as Secretary of State and her years in the Senate. Compared to Trump, her temperament is more presidential. Despite her achilles heel of being unlikable, she has a sober and balanced touch which, in the end, could make our country safer and more credible to our allies.
In contrast, Trump’s unpredictable, volatile personality is clearly not presidential. He lacks the even-tempered character needed to withstand the rigors of negotiations with world leaders, the unremitting opposition from Congress and the daily scrutiny that will follow him everywhere. And he obviously lacks the clearheaded, appropriate demeanor to make rational decisions. His impulse control skills are extremely poor.
The thin-skinned business man is too easily rattled by anyone who disagrees with him. The only thing predictable about Trump is that his narcissism and malignant self-absorption will never change.
Trump also lacks political experience. He seems motivated more by power and domination and less by a desire to help our country evolve in the right direction. These are worrisome combinations for someone running for a high profile public office. Remember, as a CEO people work for you. As the President, you work for the people. I am not certain Trump is on board with that.
Although I am NOT a Clinton fan, this writer reluctantly capitulates to her cogent, rational mind and her years of experience in politics.
From now until November, I will keep my fingers crossed and hope that Clinton’s lack of charisma and congeniality won’t prevent her from getting to the White House.
Good Luck, Mrs. Clinton.
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