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What Makes a Good Presidential Candidate? We Give You the Answer

What Makes a Good Presidential Candidate
It is only in retrospect that we are able to identify the characteristics that set an ordinary person apart from the rest. But for a presidential candidate, things work the other way round. Here's more on the qualities that we'd like our President to possess...
Renuka Savant
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2019
Everyone has an opinion on how they want their ideal President to be. Don't we all think we possess a right to deride a potential candidate on the basis of trivialities? In a sense, it wouldn't be incorrect to say that we easily dismiss any aspiring candidate, riding on the back of some seriously arrested reasoning.
So this time, we're looking up to our past leaders to enlighten our outlook and primp it with some much-needed logic. Subjecting a potential presidential candidate to intense scrutiny is something that we do with great pleasure and ease. However, wouldn't it be great if we, as voters, also look inward and do a quick, conscious assessment ourselves?
Can we call ourselves completely unbiased? Are we informed enough to make the right choice, or are we harboring prejudiced inclinations? Do we simply vote for a person on account of the party he/she represents or do we take the time for knowing the person for what he/she is?
If you think you have passable answers to these questions, you have every right to put your candidate through a character scanner. To make things easier, here are some pearls of wisdom handed down to us by our ex-Presidents.
Thomas Jefferson
"One man with courage is a majority."- Thomas Jefferson
No one could have possibly put it better. Courage is a quality that can put any person right there on top with the very best, provided that the courage is channeled in the right direction.
A good presidential candidate must be able to take risks; specifically, calculated risks, and not be in constant fear of topping the unpopularity charts. A good leader is someone who has to be the fall guy at times, especially if it is going to result in the greater good of the nation.
Abraham Lincoln
"Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?"- Abraham Lincoln
Taking it from the very best in the business, Abraham Lincoln tells us that diplomacy is the hallmark of any person wanting to gain a foothold in politics. And mind you, we're talking about the Presidency here. A good President is a master at making relationships work; be it with conflicting nations, or his political opponents.
It is important to understand here that extending a hand of friendship to your enemies does not, in any way, mean being a doormat. In fact, it suggests the presence of maturity in the individual. History has taught us that conflict for the sake of conflict, has never made sense.
And there is no better person than Abe Lincoln to teach us that. In the long run, unity pays, and a person who manages to get people together is sure to rank high up in the list of greats.
William McKinley
"That's all a man can hope for during his lifetime - to set an example - and when he is dead, to be an inspiration for history."- William McKinley
A good leader leads by example. But it's certainly not easy to tread the righteous path throughout, without wavering in the least. Being in politics calls for taking some tough decisions, and there will be times when one needs to act out of line. We want our leader to be a person we can look up to, and not look down upon.
A person looking to re-write the pages of history would make a good choice, as long as his intentions are honorable. Great leaders awe the people with their innate astuteness, foresight and honesty. It's only fair then, that they chart the course of history for the future generations and lay down a path that is honorable and inspirational.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough."- Franklin D. Roosevelt
FDR, as always, says it like it is. Empathy is a rare trait, and to see it in a potential President is a sure fire winner. Cruelty and ruthlessness are qualities that are mostly associated with hardliners these days, and a person wanting to lead a free society essentially needs to possess moral fiber.
That said, some perceptions lead us to believe that politics is all about relentless ambition, but it isn't necessary to step on the toes of others, every single time.
A down-to-earth candidate can relate to the people, make them feel like he's one of them, and not someone who's too highbrow to understand the problems of the bourgeois. And when the same attitude is applied to forming the nation's policies, we know we've elected the right person.
"If you fear making anyone mad, then you ultimately probe for the lowest common denominator of human achievement."- Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
A smart presidential candidate would not, and should not be a suck up. Going the 'please-all' way will surely take a person on a downward spiral. While a leader is always expected to act in the best interest of the people, none of the policies can be expected to be all-encompassing.
Any person who aims to please every single soul simply has trouble lined up ahead. Its certainly good to be realistic and know where your limits lie. For every person who's in agreement with you, there are bound to be several of those who are against you. Do we need a President who mollycoddles? Surely not!
Dwight D. Eisenhower
"Any man who wants to be president is either an egomaniac or crazy."- Dwight D. Eisenhower
Ike liked to keep things straight, and here we find him at his caustic best. Where each one of the ex-Presidents mention the virtues that will put a person in the White House, here is someone who doesn't want to mince his words.
Being unabashedly self-centered is a put-off and can never get you past the D.C. checkpoint. A person who cleverly disguises his egoistic side behind a ferocious will to succeed will be recognized for who he is eventually, if not sooner.
Harry S. Truman
"The buck stops here!"- Harry S. Truman
A President-in-the-waiting should be a person who never passes the buck. Mind you, a plaque inscribed with the given quote was a constant on President Harry Truman's desk during his tenure. Don't we all wish for a President who is man enough to resist playing the blame game?
It's certainly true that it makes the race to the White House more interesting, but a mud-slinging candidate may at the most entertain. He'll make it to the front pages of newspapers and be all over our televisions, when we'd rather have him keep his nose to the grindstone.
A person like that can't really be considered competent enough to run the country. The people will only choose to entrust the responsibility on someone who takes charge of his actions every time.
"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future." - John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
In the current scenario, it's not all about being Liberal or Conservative, it's about doing what is right. Party beliefs should always propel the candidate to take the right decisions, but they should never get in the way of decision making. We tend to fault a candidate who is too Democratic or too Republican, depending upon our leanings.
But for once, we need to look out for a person who is the perfect leader; someone who is capable enough to lead the way through these testing times. JFK gives the voters a point to ponder and urges them not to let their political affiliations come in the way of making an informed choice. Selecting a good human is as important as selecting an ideology.
Herbert Hoover
"Words without actions are the assassins of idealism."- Herbert Hoover
Hollow promises can be considered to be a shortcut to attaining political power. Leading by example, on the other hand, is the hallmark of an ideal leader. People like to listen to a person who does not make claims that are too preposterous to be acted upon.
With disappointment and disillusionment all around us, the right candidate will have to seize the moment and rightfully act upon making things better than they currently are.
President Obama
"My job is not to represent Washington to you, but to represent you to Washington."- Barack Obama
A parting shot from the man who's currently the President and a candidate as well. While his quote may not entirely represent how he conducted his tenure, no one can perfectly describe a President's basic duty in a single line. The President, all said and done, is a representative chosen by people to conduct the business of governance, and not a ruler.
A President is the voice of his people, not the voice of the government. His people's needs are his needs, his people's well-being is his too. Nothing could be better if this is done with sincerity. Too much to ask for, you think? Well, these are the President's words, and it would do us a world of good if he chooses to act upon them, if he is re-elected.
Bringing about the change that we're so craving for ultimately lies in our own hands, provided we make the right choice and vote. Exercise your right and steer your country towards the future you have in mind.

Hey, if you end up making the wrong choice, you could always move to Mexico.