Profiles on the 2020 U.S. Presidential Candidates

By | January 20, 2020

[January 20, 2020]  Four years ago here at, I wrote profiles on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (see links here and here).  Unlike other profiles you may read on political candidates for office, I will be contrasting their “character” against those elements required for successful leadership.

While many traits are associated with senior leadership, a few stand out.  For example, being authentic, open, charismatic, and mentally tough are some of those we see every day as we watch those leaders speak.  We value strength over weakness, virtue over evil, and integrity over dishonesty.  I’ll be contrasting those candidates’ traits against such a list and compare them against the characteristics of other famous leaders.

Political leadership, some will argue, differs from military leadership or from running a giant corporation.  I disagree.  The qualities of leadership have not changed since the beginning of humankind.  True enough, there are stylistic differences.  Fidel Castro was undoubtedly an authentic leader but he was also a ruthless killer of his opponents.  This juxtaposition I will be exploring more in-depth over the next few weeks.

We should remember that leadership is the ability to get people to do things they would not ordinarily do.  In that respect, all these candidates are successful, some more than others.  Leadership, in this way, requires intelligence, an aptitude to work in large organizations, demonstrate caring for people, an ability to synthesize complex ideas and communicate them clearly, and be open to new and creative ideas.

Leadership also means having the social skills to appeal to the heart but also the strength to never abuse that ability to trick or mislead.  U.S. President Bill Clinton was a man who could make everyone believe he cared about you as a person and that you were important.1  Some argue that this was his calling-card as President and why he was able to be re-elected despite several scandals.

I would ask that those who read these upcoming profiles to comment and argue with me.  Please pick apart my ideas; by doing so, you only make my analysis better.  I won’t take offense.

The first presidential candidate on my list is Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).  Yes, I will have more Democrat profiles (although Bernie is not a Democrat) because there are so many.  I will also update my Donald Trump profile.  Consider this article to be the first in a countdown series to the 2020 U.S. Presidential election to be held on November 3, 2020.

Sources of these profiles will be from books and articles written by the candidates themselves and listening to their speeches.

On a special note, today is Martin Luther King Day in the U.S.  MLK was dedicated to the character of men and women and believed that we should be judged by what was inside us; how we behaved and not on our skin color.  My profiles of people in my columns are based on his philosophy of life.


Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

23 thoughts on “Profiles on the 2020 U.S. Presidential Candidates

  1. Greg Heyman

    Great. I look forward to reading the entire series. I read the one posted today (the 21st) on Bernie Sanders. Excellent. Please also do some kind of compare and contrast of their main characteristics/traits. Thanks.

    1. Xavier C. Dominique

      This will surely be of significant value.

  2. KenFBrown

    Character means more than we can all initially agree upon. A person with the right character can be trusted to do the right thing at the right time. They can be your friend and someone you can depend upon. They are committed, reliable, loyal, dedicated …. they don’t have to be smart, make a whole bunch of money, or drive a fancy car or own a big house. The person of character will go to you when you call. Nothing else matters. That is what I carefully chose my friends.

    1. Mikka Solarno

      And why I do also, and thanks Ken for pointing this out. Too many of us pick our friends and spouses because they are fun and funny. Wrong. Pick these people based on their character and you will have a relationship forever.

  3. Len Jakosky

    Hey folks, I have today off as it’s MLK holiday. I respect the man! I wish that I was as smart as he was. But I’m also willing to have some entertainment in the form of football. Can’t wait for Feb 2 when the SuperBowl gets here.

  4. Willie Shrumburger

    I am hoping that Gen. Satterfield includes some of those candidates that dropped out of the race. That too will be informative. The “why” is always something others like us can learn from. Politicians are not exempt from reality although they might not know it yet.

    1. Gil Johnson

      I agree. For example, Cory Booker who is smart, articulate and has done a lot of good things for his state of NJ. But he flamed out, why?

    1. Albert Ayer

      New Yorkers get what they deserve. De Blasio claims his policies are driving crime down but that is a lie. You can learn a bunch from people who lie and the main thing to learn is not to lie.

      1. Doug Smith

        Hi Albert. Don’t trash on NYC’ers. They may deserve it but don’t wish it on them. They are just too “Progressive” for the rest of us and if they think murder is okay, then let them live with the consequnces.

  5. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    Great, I look forward to the entertainment … and, of course, the education. Thanks, Gen. Satterfield, I know this is not an easy task with all the emotion any election will have on those of small brains.

    1. JT Patterson

      “Small brains,” yes, there are a number of them out there that will also tell us how morally superior they are to the rest of us and why they should be in charge.

    2. Tom Bushmaster

      Yes, Otto. I agree. This will certainly be one of the more popular posts on this website for a while. I predict a lot of stupid comments but more so a lot of valuable, intelligent discussion. That is why I’m one of the fans of this leadership website and of Gen. Satterfield in general. There are plenty of folks here that have a diverse background in their leader experiences and that is worth listening to them.

  6. Max Foster

    Today is MLK day and we should all take the time to study what this man had to say. Despite his deep flaws (he cheated on his wife, etc.), what he taught us remains the bedrock of a just and fair society. What we are going thru with the PC/progressive ideology as a current fad, is the opposite of his teachings. The PC idea is a throwback to mankind for hundreds of years.

    1. Jerome Smith

      Good point, Max and just look at the US Pres candidates running on the Democratic ticket and you will see exactly as you note. There is something about their character that scares me.

    2. Ronny Fisher

      Many Americans don’t even know why the holiday is in January. It’s because King was born on Jan. 15, 1929.

  7. Army Captain

    I look forward to the profiles. I’m sure they will focus on the “content of their character” as Martin Luther King once wished for.

    1. Wilson Cox

      Good to hear from you again, Army Cpt. I too look forward to this series.

    2. Scotty Bush

      CHARACTER, if there is one thing that I learned in the US Army was that character matters and it matters a great deal. Often overlooked when just trying to survive and someone not yelling at you all the time. If you stand up for the good and are willing to trounce the bad, then your superior NCOs and officers will respect you despite any failing you might have.

      1. Yusaf from Texas

        Yes, character matters! Thanks all. Let’s see how this all works out here at Gen. Satterfield’s website.

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