Republicans, such as Karl Rove, have been insinuating that Hillary Clinton is “too old” to run for President in 2016. The Democrats make the obvious reply, which is that Ronald Reagan was even older than Hillary will be in 2016 when he was elected, and the Republicans think he was one of the greatest Presidents ever. Some would say Clinton faces an unfair double-standard in this matter, because she is a woman, and thus people count her age against her more strongly than they did against Reagan.
Maybe that’s true. But that’s not the double-standard she should be concerned about. That would be the double-standard I always write about on here: the charisma double-standard.
American politics is biased in favor of “style over substance”, and so the most charismatic candidate almost always wins the Presidential election. Ronald Reagan was charismatic; Hillary Clinton is not.
This was proven, quite conclusively, by a Senator named Barack Obama in 2008. Bear in mind that I say this as someone who supported Obama over Clinton, but Clinton’s resume was far better than Obama’s for the job of President. Yet he won, because he was a more likeable individual.
Hillary Clinton is–Obama’s claims to the contrary–not likeable enough. Mitt Romney had the same problem. So did John Kerry. Pretty much every Presidential election since since 1980 has come down to the question of who is more likeable, which, since most voters never get to meet the candidates in person, is in turn determined by charisma.
Now, you may say, this seems unfair to Hillary Clinton. Yeah, it is. It’s kind of silly to pick a President based on something so nebulous. But what else can we do? You can dedicate your life to studying politics and still get everything wrong. So, the average person doesn’t have time to meticulously examine every facet of politicians. They just vote based on who “seems better”. Hillary Clinton never had charisma. Her husband did, which is probably why they have made such a successful team–she has the brains, he has the personality.
So, does this mean she can’t win the Presidency? Not necessarily. The Republicans seemingly have no charismatic candidates lined up. The only charismatic Republican I can think of is too undisciplined and arrogant to organize an intelligent campaign. The reason they are always going on about Reagan is because even after all these years, they have never found anybody half as charismatic as him to sell their contradictory policies.
But all the same, if they do manage to scare up somebody half-way likeable, the former Senator and Secretary of State will have a hard time winning. Especially since history suggests people will be reluctant to elect another person from the same party that has controlled the White House for the previous eight years.