night two of the first Democratic debate 2020 Democratic presidential candidates
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There is a pattern in U.S. presidential politics that is so consistent it has held true for 84 years in 22 straight elections. It might help us predict which Democratic candidate has the best chance of beating Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. This pattern has little do with policy and everything to do with personality styles.
The 2020 Lineup
Ever since America's first televised
presidential debate, in which an awkward Richard Nixon squared off against an
effortlessly charismatic John F. Kennedy, personality has played an ever
greater role in election coverage. Although the candidates and pundits talk
about big-ticket issues, the true focus
is on personality.
The 2020 election coverage is about how likable we find the candidatesfrom Joe Biden's folksy demeanor to Kamala Harris's prosecutorial style to Donald Trump's blunt directness. This isn't merely a symptom of our celebrity-obsessed culture. People can't help but notice the candidates' personality styles, even when they speak about policies.
As a student and teacher of personality style for decades, I've begun to analyze how the personalities of the candidates will shape the upcoming presidential election.
We can classify the main candidates into four personality styles:
· Direct and result-driven Eagles: Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar
· Charismatic and enthusiastic Parrots: Joe Biden
· Friendly and harmonious Doves: Pete Buttigieg
· Logical and analytical Owls: Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand
The 84-Year Pattern
In head-to-head match ups, the outgoing, big personalities of Eagles and Parrots have beaten the more reserved, soft-spoken Doves and Owls in every election since 1932. In fact, in the 22 elections since Herbert Hoover was elected in 1928, the only times that Doves and Owls have won the presidency were when they faced other Doves and Owls.
Parenthetically, prior to the dawn of radio and television, personality played far less of a factor. Candidates were judged more for their platforms than their personalities. But when judging candidates by voice and appearance, Americans apparently prefer assertive, dominant, and enthusiastic presidents over calm, thoughtful, and policy-driven leaders. This pattern holds true whether a candidate is new or an incumbent, whether the economy is thriving or flailing, and whether the United States is at war or at peace.
Notice that Eagle George W. Bush beat two Owls, John Kerry and Al Gore. Parrot Bill Clinton beat Owls George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole. Before that, Lyndon Johnson's Eagle style beat Barry Goldwater's Owl personality and Franklin D. Roosevelt's Eagle/Parrot style topped Herbert Hoover's Owl approach.
Simply put, Eagles and Parrots beat Doves and Owls every time.
Owl George H.W. Bush won the job of president against fellow Owl Michael Dukakis but lost by a wide margin to Parrot Bill Clinton. Likewise, Dove Jimmy Carter was victorious against fellow Dove Gerald Ford but came up short against Parrot Ronald Reagan. It's a toss-up when Owls and Doves battle other Owls and Doves.
There have only been two instances in which an Eagle has gone up against a Parrot: FDR (Eagle/Parrot) vs. Wendell Wilkie (Parrot/Eagle) and Richard Nixon (Eagle) vs. Hubert Humphrey (Parrot). As you know, the Eagles won in both cases.
The Field of Democrats
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