Presidential election campaigns generally resemble a cross between a circus and a mud-fight. That’s fine, as it’s better for democracy if the candidates fight it out down in the mud — where everyone can see them — than behind closed doors, where they can get up to no good.
But this year, the grandstanding and childish hurling of insults has reached fever pitch with the appearance of Trump on the Republican campaign trail. His outspoken rhetoric has managed to offend immigrants and women, alienate Fox News (his natural supporters) and cause a possibly fatal split in the Republican party.
At the same time, Trump’s penchant for saying what he thinks and casting political correctness to the side has won him a legion of followers. His initial 3% of the national Republican vote has grown to 31%, giving him an 18% lead over his nearest rival, Texas senator Ted Cruz.
As part of a series on the personalities of the presidential candidates in the 2016 election, we decided to address the question everyone is asking: Does Donald Trump have the personality of a capable president?
To learn more about Donald Trump’s personality, we sent out a questionnaire to our network of Talkspace therapists. We asked them to rate the Republican presidential hopeful on a scale of one to five in 20 categories, including honesty, intelligence, loyalty, broad-mindedness, self-control and competence (the full list of categories, with the therapist’s ratings, is shown in the chart at the bottom). We also asked them to leave comments. Here’s what they thought.
Is Donald Trump Honest?
Trump claims he’s a straight-shooter, and we don’t mean with that gun he claims to (illegally) carry around in NYC. He says what he thinks, unfiltered and unexpurgated, and this could be considered a form of honesty.
“He is very honest with how he feels, at least that’s the way he presents himself in public. He doesn’t hold back,” said therapist Scott Christnelly.
But his Republican enemies have pointed out he might not be honest with voters. Before his presidential run, he held Democratic — not Republican — beliefs.
“He will say what he needs to and does not care if it is not based on fact. He has no moral character,” noted therapist Deborah Katsikas.
Is Donald Trump Inspirational?
Trump’s gruff, antagonistic debating style propelled him from starting point of 3% to the leader in the Republican race. Trump elicits a near fanatical loyalty from his followers, and has even encouraged them to punch hecklers during his campaign speeches.
“He can be entertaining and humorous, and appears to pander to people who are frustrated with certain groups,” said therapist Christine Poane.
“He seems to try and make them increasingly furious,” Christnelly said. “He certainly has a lot of energy.”
Is Donald Trump Independent?
Trump is funding his own campaign, and this has increased support among those who feel candidates’ policies are influenced by special interest groups that donate money. But is his much-vaunted independence a sign he’s only got his own interests at heart?
“Financially, he has built himself up to be self-sufficient and self-confident,” said therapist Karissa Brennan. “I imagine he has trusted advisors with whom he will collaborate, though not necessarily with society’s best interest in mind.”
Is Donald Trump Dependable?
Though he has filed for Chapter 11 four times — something he says was simply a legitimate business strategy — many of our therapists thought Trump’s success as a businessman was a sign of dependability. Not everyone felt he had a dependable character, though.
“I think he’s a narcissist, and will do anything to make sure he is right, including ignoring science and data,” Katsikas said.
“He is not conscientious or socially responsible,” Brennan added. “We cannot rely on him to make decisions with society in mind.”
Is Donald Trump Broad-minded?
Broad-mindedness has not been a quality Trump highlights in this campaign. He has described Mexican immigrants as rapists and insulted women, notably Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly.
The more small-minded he becomes, the more his supporters love him.
“He doesn’t seem to be open-minded, flexible, receptive, and definitely not tolerant,” Christnelly said.
“He has said some very racist and ignorant things,” said therapist Elizabeth Erban.
Is Donald Trump Courageous?
Trump scored highly with our therapists on courage.
“His fearless personality is why so many people are drawn to him. His energy is entertaining and infectious,” said therapist Jor-El Caraballo.
“This is his greatest strength,” Poane said. “Most of what he says is gutsy, and it appears he says things for shock value.”
“Do I think he would be courageous in battle? No. But I think he’s either brave or stupid to be talking the way he talks,” Erban added.
Donald Trump’s Leadership Profile
Respondents said Trump plays on the fears of voters to win support, and would be a divisive — rather than unifying — president. He might also find his aggressive stance on world affairs stymied by the need for diplomacy. Trump turns aggressive when things don’t go his way, does not listen to alternative viewpoints and has little empathy for others. These qualities are important for voters to consider when evaluating his candidacy.
On the other hand, our respondents noted Trump’s success in business points to a certain intelligence as well as a capacity for getting things done and a knowledge of finance. He has the self-confidence the office of president requires and a roguish charm that allows him to persuade others. Furthermore, he has shown both the necessary grit and determination needed for political office, as well as an ability to focus on long-term gains.
Review the data below to see Donald Trump’s personality profile as measured by our respondents.