This, 2016 presidential election cycle, is baring raw and clear the inevitable difference between a politician and a leader. Politicians claim to be leaders, and they should be leaders. But, along the way, a politician has to please the many different needs of the many different groups of people in a democratic system of government, and today's political campaign requires money, lots of it. The process inevitably compromises politicians. They tweak their their positions depending upon who they talk to. Some politicians come up with their positions to bring in more votes rather than bringing voters to their positions. Thus, the famous 'triangulation' of Bill Clinton.
A leader should have a clear core values. A politician may tweak their positions/messages within the core values. When the triangulation becomes the persona of a politician, he/she could look untrustworthy, dishonest, and deceiving. Then, the politician comes up with the many excuses and rationalizations, including conspiracy theories. This kind of maneuverings bring further loss of trust from people. Their main defense is that to get the job done, they have to be flexible, or politics is a continued compromises. The question becomes how much and how far they will twist their core values to fulfill their ambition, greed, and neediness. Some of them, really, make you wonder if they have any principles or good causes to be in the public arena, at all.
This election cycle, Bernie Sanders is the candidate with the core values least tweaked. Bernie has been Bernie all his life, more or less because he is the his value man. His core values, principles, causes, and desire qualify him to be in the public/political arena. Bill and Hillary have many wonderful positions, but they have been very ambitious politicians all their life. Sometimes, they give the impression that their ambition is more important than their causes.
Donald is something very different from Hillary or Bernie. Even Marco, Ted, and John. They may be 'light weight, liar, awkward,' and their causes are very local, in the very essential, and symbolic level. But the three have a modicum of causes while Donald's cause is himself, his "This is the most exciting thing I've ever done in my life." Fulfilling your causes should be the overriding focus of a leader of any caliber and level. Donny wants his amusing himself. His causes are himself.
A leader at any level should have an objective which is bigger and more important than the self. This kind of leaders are the prerequisites for a healthy and thriving societies. A good leader should be able to see the problem brewing and try to mitigate its consequences. So that the people suffer less in the future. A good leadership should be a preventive, or positively constructing one. But the history shows that we go through horrendous crises even when we know it's coming. Some needy people create the atmosphere of a crisis to satisfy their need. Unfortunately, great leaders emerge through great crises.
We're at the stage of history where a knowledgeable leader with a good team of qualified people foresee the future and prepare the people to be ready for it. Or try to make the future the better one instead of provoking fear, anger, alienation, and a sense of crisis. In other words, we don't need a loud demagogue, a dictatorial strongman, or a great leader who requires a great crisis.
This election cycle is, indeed, entertaining but sobering one. One of the reasons is that the concept of leadership may be evolving in the 21st century. I'd like to quote from an excellent article in The New Yorker, 2/29/16 issue by Joshua Rothman. "Many of today's challenges are too complex to the exercise of leadership alone."
The exciting charismatic leadership of Donald to make America great again? Well, Naaaah.