Dear Candidates: Temperament is important, but so are issues

Luke Dahlin

The old news: Donald Trump is a misogynist who lies and degrades both women and minorities, says things that are irrefutable and grossly irresponsible and doesn’t have the political experience or temperament to be president. Hillary Clinton is a backwards, Wall Street motivated, middle-class hating, 30-year politician, job-destroyer, and corrupt email-deletor.

The new and relevant news: nothing.

Candidates, I understand that you believe that the other isn’t even remotely qualified to occupy the position of commander in chief. Yet here you both are.




In this election, neither candidate has discussed valid and detailed plans for policy change to improve issues in our economy, the environment or foreign threats facing the United States.

This is a disappointment because as the race finishes, it looks as if this election has only further polarized the country. This is quite evident with movements like ‘Hillary for Prison’ on the right, and ‘Never Trump’ on the left.

This election has given rise to, statistically, the two most unpopular presidential candidates in our history. According to a CNN poll, Poll: Trump, Clinton score historic unfavorable ratings, Trump’s approval rating is a mere 24 percent, while Clinton is 31 percent, which is drastically lower than the two candidates in both 2008 and 2012.


This may be because of the perceived unlikeability from media outlets on both the left and the right as well as the current distrust and frustration towards the federal government. But ultimately it can be traced back to the poor politics and undismissable bashing inflicted by the each candidate.

Some will say that temperament is something to consider while electing a president. John Dickerson, writer for Slate Magazine, believes that the character of a candidate is the gauging factor in the success of their president.

“A president’s temperament is his most important quality and it is the hardest to measure in the candidates who desire the office,” Dickerson wrote in his article “How To Measure for a President”. “It is at the heart of all the other key attributes.”

And while it is true that evaluating the quality of character of a candidate is justifiable and important when deciding who to vote for, it isn’t a deal breaker. Yes, temperament is a factor, but it isn’t THE factor.

The truth is that both of Trump and Clinton have policies that potentially can improve the wellbeing of the American people. Whether it’s Trump’s economic policy or Clinton’s foreign policy, they both have strengths and the capability of discussing policy change to improve the lives of the Americans electing them.

As the election comes to a close, the issue isn’t the fact that that we are unclear on each candidate’s temperament, it’s that they don’t discuss issues in our country and in-depth policies to fix them.

Elections are meant for candidates to distinguish themselves as the better candidate, and giving the American people policy plans and exemplify good character to legitimize themselves. But today, we see both candidates attempting to earn votes by explaining why the other candidate is worse instead of why they are better.

For example, in the third presidential debate, Clinton said, “[Trump] lives in an alternative reality. And it is sort of amusing to hear somebody who hasn’t paid federal income taxes in maybe 20 years talking about what he’s going to do.”

Also, during the same debate, Trump said, “Honest Abe never lied. That’s the good thing. That’s the big difference between Abraham Lincoln and [Hillary Clinton]. That’s a big, big difference. We’re talking about some difference.”

Enough is enough.