The Presidential Election: Personalities and Platforms

The Presidential Election: Personalities and Platforms

“I think we risk losing some of the best people who can run for public office by our obsessive focus on the private lives of public figures.” This statement was made by Alan Dershowitz—lawyer, jurist, author, and constitutional scholar—in 2008, regarding the actions of a New York governor (CNN, 2008). Eight years later, the quote again comes to mind in regards to the current presidential election.

I’m not generally one for politics, but I’ve been following this election as much as I can, attempting to decide for myself which candidate I support. So far, neither has successfully convinced me to back them up. I’ve been quite disturbed by how much the media have, to use Dershowitz’ words, “obsessively” focused on the private lives of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Both campaigns, and both debates so far, have revolved around demeaning the other candidate. Americans are essentially meant to decide which of them is less of a bad person. What a terrible way to choose a president! The best way to defend an attack ad is with a solid plan to improve the state of the Union. We are so focused on their personalities that we forget about their platforms.

We have become subject to the opinions of media writers and bloggers. Unfortunately, none of them seem to care about either party’s platform anymore. While I do not condone any actions of either candidate, I do question the future of a nation that is so obsessed with gossip and hearsay that it forgets to talk about the real issues, especially at such a critical time. The public misses the messages because the media misses the message.

If you want my opinion (I hope you do, seeing as you’re reading my blogpost), voters should be required to take a test to discover with which candidate they truly side. I learned more from a ten minute quiz on than I have from two debates and several months of campaigning. Take the test yourself; the results may surprise you.

So, where will your focus lie? The personality? Or the platform?

-Your Friendly Neighbourhood Blogger (Hyrum Sutton)


CNN. (March 10, 2008). Anderson Cooper 360 degrees: March 10, 2008 [Transcript]. Retrieved from

iSideWith. (ND). Retrieved from

Voting Against [Image]. (May 6, 2016).  Retrieved from


4 thoughts on “The Presidential Election: Personalities and Platforms

  1. Great quiz, thanks for sharing that. I think it’s important to balance personality and platform. A candidate’s personality can tell you a lot about whether they’ll keep to their promises, but I agree that we don’t have to dig up every minute detail of their lives in order to make that decision.

    On the Canadian side of things, it was interesting that Trudeau’s campaign didn’t do any mud-slinging against the other candidates. But I don’t necessarily think that his “Sunny Ways” mentality put any more emphasis on his platform than the other candidates. It was the other extreme basically, but functionally, it acted the same in terms of policy debate.


  2. Very interesting post! I agree with 202robbie in that the personality of an individual can speak volumes about their actions. On the other hand, it’s embarrassing that the nation (and even Canada) has resorted to, shall I say, “high school ways” by beating, bashing, and obsessing over candidates and their personal lives. Why is it that we insist on doing this? I must admit, I listen to the personal chitchat as much as I value the candidates’ political stance.


  3. I hope it didn’t come across like we shouldn’t pay any attention to their personal lives. I think I said that more blatantly in a paragraph that got removed for length. I just think we pay too much attention to their personal lives, and not enough to their platforms.


    1. Yeah, I definitely agree. But the American election process is so unbelievably long that I have a hard time imagining how they would keep voters engaged that whole time by focusing on platforms alone. I think that Donald Trump’s success is due to this cult of personality that he’s been able to create rather than the strength of his political position. Hillary too to a (much) lesser extent. If your opponent is 95% personality and 5% platform, you almost have no choice but to try to make the deflation of that personality your main line of attack.

      It’s not how things should be run, but that seems to be the reality of the hole that America (and Canada to some degree) has dug themselves into.


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