Selecting a Partner, Selecting a President

I’m not sure if it’s because I am a millennial and tend to “overshare” on the internet or if it’s because after several blog posts I feel like we know each other, but I wanted to share that this past weekend I got married!

To my excitement, the first presidential debate coincided with the first day of my honeymoon. I have a very understanding wife, so we settled in to watch the debate. The weight of the wedding band on my finger suddenly gave me a new perspective. In many ways, selecting a president is like selecting a partner.

Like a marriage, a president is a long-term commitment – not a lifetime commitment. But the actions, decisions and policies extend far beyond the four-year term of office. There are also certain characteristics we look for in a partner – some are even nonnegotiable. Although OK Cupid or Tinder may not be the best way to select our next president, we can definitely borrow some tips from the dating world.

So, here we go.

Nobody’s Perfect

There is no such thing as the perfect partner, sorry Shay! Humans are fallible. We make mistakes and we all come with baggage. But baggage alone often does not decide whether we will marry someone. What does matter is whether we have learned from our past and reflected on our mistakes enough to not make them again. There will be no perfect candidate, but there are some who are more suitable than others.

Respect

Respect is the cornerstone of a successful relationship. While respect toward other candidates is nostalgia I long for, Donald Trump seems to lack respect for the American people. Whether he is fat shaming (i.e., the 400-lb hacker), objectifying women or accusing an entire group of people of being rapists, he is making it clear that he does not respect everyone.

Hillary Clinton has made some mistakes here too, calling “half of Trump supporters deplorable.” It is important to note that unlike Trump, Clinton did apologize for her comments. Trump, however defends his comments.

Temperament

Shay is easygoing, but is prone to bouts of hanger. So I know that every few hours, we should get her a snack. On the other hand, I tend to make a joke about everything, which can be great or horrible depending on the situation. I, however, am not running for President.

Donald Trump highlighted how easily he becomes upset – his constant interruptions during the debate made it appear as though he could not help but interrupt Clinton. Hillary may have made a few interruptions. But by the end of the debate, she waited patiently and nonchalantly as Trump threw angry words her way. We can’t forget that shoulder shimmy!

Trust

Whether in marriage or the presidency, we don’t want a liar. Neither candidate comes across as particularly trustworthy: Clinton and her emails and Donald with his tax returns. Interestingly, Trump is seen as more trustworthy than Clinton, despite the fact that he is more dishonest.

Values
What does your partner want out of life? Out of a relationship? We look for partners and candidates that share the same values as us. Perhaps we have policy preferences that promote protecting the environment or we value business prowess over experience in serving the public. Either way, values can be deal-breakers.

Although I am being facetious, it is undeniable that there are overlaps between selecting a partner and the president. While the list is not exhaustive (we didn’t even touch on stamina), only one of these candidates has me swiping right!


Submitted by Laura Caccioppoli

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