When it comes to trying to understand American politics, it always feels like an uphill battle for me - a battle where I invariably feel that I am the loser as it all seems incomprehensible to me.
I therefore read with interest this post by one Glen Lipka
about a rule for determining which U.S. presidential candidate will get elected, based on a historical perspective: The Presidential Charisma Rule – commadot.com
Presidential Elections Rule #1: The one with more charisma will win.
I presume that the symbols (D) and (R) as used in the post represent the divisive dichotomy of Democrat and Republican, respectively, in the essentially two-horse race that is seemingly the only choice consistently allowed the American voters - this being my perspective as one of the people who voted in a referendum for a change to the electoral process by the implementation of a system of PR (Proportional Representation) to put an end to a similar (and disruptively destabilising) dichotomy in the election process in New Zealand.
It slowly dawned on me that the above "Charisma Rule"
gave one a working theory which could help to explain things more scientifically in the context of any
political selection process - that is, if only one could put a notional and reliable statistical measure on the defined quality of "charisma".
I slowly realised that it joined some dots together and could potentially be very
useful. I know something about charismatic leaders, having:
(a) worked for one in an an organisation at 4 and 3 management levels below a charismatic CEO (he was an excellent guy to work for and with), and
(b) studied various research of reasons for corporate collapse in the US, UK and Germany, where one of the 3 main causes of such collapse was invariably found to be a charismatic leader whose appointment/selection typically led to a kind of meteoric rise of the organisation and himself (it was never a woman), followed by an abrupt collapse and demise due typically to unintended consequences in his edicts/decisions. Thus the end result of selecting a charismatic leader was ultimately and inevitably fatally destructive for the organisation, its employees' careers, and
its charismatic leader's career in that organisation. This is potentially predictable/repeatable in practice and applied equally in the case of my charismatic CEO.
Thus the "Charisma Rule"
for me not only helps one to feel that one understands US politics a little more, but also it fits with the leadership selection experience in the essentially 2-party system that generally prevailed in New Zealand prior to
the introduction of PR, and
it fits with the researched experiences of the selection of charismatic leaders in corporate organisations, and the (now) predictable failure outcomes.
What I find especially interesting
about all this is (for me) the new freedom and scope for choice that it can give one by extending one's potential capacity for choice
. That is, if
once one observes that there seems to be a common thread there - i.e., the selection of a charismatic leader - then one probably feels obliged to at least consider whether one wishes to passively remain
stuck in a system where one finds oneself, but now being aware of its having a disappointingly predictable and disruptive cyclical outcome, or to change
oneself or the system to escape the seemingly "Groundhog Day" nature of it all.
H.G.Wells: Prisoned From The Cradle To The Grave
- Author: H.G. Wells (from "The History of Mr.Polly")
from Chapter 9 - The Potwell Inn
But when a man has once broken through the paper walls of everyday circumstance, those unsubstantial walls that hold so many of us securely prisoned from the cradle to the grave, he has made a discovery. If the world does not please you, you can change it. Determine to alter it at any price, and you can change it altogether. You may change it to something sinister and angry, to something appalling, but it may be you will change it to something brighter, something more agreeable, and at the worst something much more interesting. There is only one sort of man who is absolutely to blame for his own misery, and that is the man who finds life dull and dreary. There are no circumstances in the world that determined action cannot alter, unless, perhaps, they are the walls of a prison cell, and even those will dissolve and change, I am told, into the infirmary compartment, at any rate, for the man who can fast with resolution.