[November 9, 2020] A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a short article that outlined what I believed to be the 20 top characteristics of a great leader.1 A week later, political reporter Byron York at the Washington Examiner wrote that “exit pollsters” listed four qualities of a President. We both compared Joe Biden and Donald Trump.2
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams, xx President of the United States
I’ll begin by noting that I no longer trust national polling firms or those that purport to gather data on political topics. There is a bias in their results that skew any good look at their case. I’ll address that later in this article.
However, I will report this one because it aligns well with my earlier article. Here are the results of what those exiting the polls say, according to the Washington Examiner, between Biden and Trump in order of importance:
- A strong leader: Trump 71, Biden 28 percent
- Has good judgment: Biden 68, Trump 27 percent
- Cares about people like me: Biden 50, Trump 48 a virtual tie
- Can unite the country: Biden 76, Trump 23 percent
Compare this with my list of the top four traits:
- Experienced judgment
- Being present and visible
- Clear vision
- Drives a positive culture
Are they similar? Yes, of course, they are similar, but there are also fundamental differences that go to the heart of the media’s bias. I will agree that “caring about people like me” is crucial for any leader. I often write about it and have reported that it is the most important trait of a good leader (see here, here, and here). So, there is little disagreement here. I gave Trump the edge in all four of these traits.
But York lists “can unite the country” as essential. This is a nebulous idea without much real meaning. It is not surprising, so many would agree with it. Yet, we are left to define it ourselves intellectually, and it looks really important. We could ask, who, in their right mind, would disagree with it? Doesn’t decisiveness, inspiration, honesty, humility, and commitment factor into this idea? I think, yes.
Despite the inherent biases shown in reporter York’s article, it nevertheless highlights something important about the current election process (that remains undecided as of this writing).