Honesty Is Not Required To Win the US Presidential Election

In a book published in 2014, titled “Candidate Character Traits in Presidential Elections” by two political scientists, David B. Holian and Charles L. Prysby of the University of North Carolina, data analysis of past elections from the American National Election Studies is used to determine the importance of different aspects of a candidate’s character in the presidential election. They bring these different characteristics to the forefront.

Speaking about the U.S. presidential election campaign, Mitt Romney described the leading candidates from the two parties, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, as lacking honesty. It appears that the voters tend to agree. Thus, the question arises: Is it important for a successful candidate to appear honest or more honest than his or her rival? It seems that the results of past elections indicate the opposite. I have heard the same thing from ordinary voters in the U.S. primaries. Many of the Democrats consider Clinton dishonest, and many of the Republicans consider Trump a hustler and unreliable. According to a recent poll conducted by YouGov, of all the candidates who are still in the race, it is believed that Trump and Clinton are the least honest.

In said book, the authors bring the following different characteristics to the forefront: leadership, experience and care. Integrity, as in the honesty and ethics of candidates, also played a role. However, the research suggests that the candidate who appears more honest than his or her competitor does not tend to win.

In 1988, George H. W. Bush swept his opponent, Michael Dukakis, despite the fact that people considered the latter to be more honest. In 1996, Bill Clinton, the candidate who received the lowest honesty rating in modern history, beat Bob Dole. In 2000, George W. Bush beat John Kerry, despite the fact that he was considered to be the least honest candidate in all of history. Furthermore, Barack Obama won over John McCain, although the former was considered to be less honest to some extent.

The data cited in the American National Election Studies is not directly comparable to the varying opinion polls for 2016, which show that Americans lack confidence in Clinton and Trump. However, something obvious is clear — if the two won their parties’ nominations, they will be the first two candidates since the 1980s to be considered dishonest by voters. Last, but not least, politicians who are confident have the best chance of winning, which is one of the strangest things about this strange election, and it is difficult to understand and accept. Are the Americans prepared to hand over their country to a person who is clearly not to be trusted with even buying a used car?

It seems as if American voters are expressing their lack of confidence in the government by choosing people best suited for an unreliable government. This is expected given the voters for Trump, but the voters for Hillary Clinton are dealing with it more intelligently. Cynicism is not attractive, and it is a bad base for building the future of the country. In most of the previous elections, according to research by Holian and Prysby, the most inspirational candidate won. This time, the United States might end up with politicians chosen for their cunning and fabrications. However, this would be a disappointment if that is what you think of America itself.

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