When American voters go to the polls on November 6th, 2012, will they vote for the better person or the better politician? Herman Cain’s (R) campaign ended just this month after personal allegations ruined his reputation; while the validity of these allegations has no effect on Herman Cain’s ability to lead, his campaign’s popularity fell quickly. As Cain’s alleged past has come back to haunt him, former republican Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich has stepped up. But Gingrich, who as of December 12th was at the top of GOP Polls, has an unfaithful past of his own. Gingrich, who is in his third marriage, has been known to cheat on his wives. And while Gingrich’s rivals have and will try to emphasize his infidelity, does that really take away from his ability to lead?
Past Americans have had no trouble electing, or at least nominating, adulterers: John F. Kennedy (D), Bill Clinton (D), and John McCain (R), to name a few. None of these men has proven to have impaired leadership abilities due to his faithlessness, so why is it relevant?! While it is not right to cheat on one’s spouse, it doesn’t make someone bad at his or her job!
Faithfulness is not the only aspect of personality that dominates public opinion on a nominee. Massachusetts’s Governor Mitt Romney (R), whose campaign has built him up as a ‘Family Man’ in an attempt to downplay Gingrich, has received criticism for his Mormon Faith. Mormonism, a faith that originated in America, is still a Christian religion, so Romney would not become the first president whose religion is not affiliated with Jesus Christ (Another GOP Nominee, Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (R), is also Mormon). Mitt Romney’s religion would not affect his ability to be an effective President, but it very well may affect his ability to get elected!
In the case that personality, not policy, becomes the largest issue in next year’s election, current President Barack Obama could emerge on top, regardless of constantly dropping approval ratings from all parts of the country. Unfortunately, it appears that Americans will probably pay more attention over the next year to which candidate has the least number of personal problems, not, for example, which politician has the best economic policy. In my eyes, that marks a severe deficiency in the current political atmosphere.