Not long ago, after watching Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, I gave him a “trust report card”, based on the following criteria:
You can read my whole article here.
Sincerity is about honesty; it’s about telling the truth as you see it. A sincere person says what they mean and means what they say. When they express an opinion, it’s valid, useful and backed up by sound thinking and evidence. When you’re truly sincere, your actions align with your words. Internally, you check in with yourself regularly to make sure you actually believe what you’re saying. Externally, you’re honest and straightforward to others. Perhaps most importantly, you’re consistent over time, from one person to the next.
Reliability is about meeting commitments. A reliable person keeps their promises. When asked to do something, they respond with either 1) Yes, I’ll do it. 2) No, I can’t do it. 3) I can’t do X but I can do Y. 4) I need to check on something before I can commit (and then they actually get back to you!). In other words, a reliable person resists the urge to make promises unless they know there’s a good chance they can actually keep them.
Competence is about having the ability to do what you propose to do. A competent person has the capacity, skill, knowledge and resources to do a task. Competency doesn’t mean perfection; in fact, it sometimes means that you know what you don’t know, you’re willing to learn, and you unafraid to ask for help.
Caring is about having another person’s interests in your mind as well as your own when making decisions or taking action. It’s about listening to what’s important to people, finding common interests, and letting them know you understand how your actions and decisions might affect them.
Transparency is about being open, easily readable and vulnerable. After all, who can trust a person who always keeps a poker face, their cards held closely to their chest? A transparent person shares their emotional state; they share what they’re thinking and feeling. Most importantly, they share their own worries and fears.
So let’s see how Hillary Clinton rates on the 5 trust criteria:
*Sincerity: Without fully studying her 40 years of public record, I can’t say with 100% certainty that Clinton has been rock-solid-consistent during her time in the public eye. It certainly seems like she’s sincere, in the sense that she backs up her opinions with sound thinking and details. On the other hand, as a two-term senator she has certainly gone back on a few promises in her time, which puts her consistency somewhat into question. Grade: B
*Reliability: Again, as a professional politician Hillary has, by necessity, made a few commitments that she hasn’t kept – pretty much par for the course for those in public office. On the other hand, she’s also kept a great many of her promises – certainly more than her Republican rival. I appreciate that she avoids making grandiloquent statements about how she will “fix” things immediately, instead favoring more measured observations about what she can and can’t do. For this alone, I give her a high grade. Grade: B+
*Competence: Benghazi will always haunt Hillary, as will those “secure” emails that did not remain secure. Both events put Clinton’s competence into some question. For whatever reason, she does, on occasion, make mistakes. On the other hand, Hillary possesses enormous skills, knowledge, experience and resources in the area of public policy. As Obama cited in his speech to the DNC, Clinton may be the most qualified politician to ever throw her hat into the presidential arena. The fact that Hillary admits her errors and seems willing to learn from them instills in me a high measure of trust. Grade A-
*Caring: Alas for Hillary, she just wasn’t blessed with her husband’s talent of looking at you like you’re the most fascinating person on the planet. At times, she can come off as cold and distant. On the other hand, she hasn’t (to my knowledge) made any racist, misogynist, anti-disability statements, like her Republican counterpart. Her performance at the DNC brought out a bit more of her caring side, which boosts her grade slightly. Grade B
*Transparency: Much like “Caring” above, Hillary isn’t your warm & squishy presidential candidate. Nor is she a frothing-at-the-mouth, bombastic demagogue In other words, I’ve found it challenging at times to guess what Hillary is thinking and feeling. I won’t go so far as to say she’s Mr. Spock, but transparency and vulnerability aren’t her stock and trade. She’s kind of a “boring” policy wonk, keeping her feelings to herself while getting the job done. Although these may be just the qualities the country needs in these troubling times, they don’t add up to the highest grade in transparency. Grade C
Looking at the grades above, I’d rate my trust level with Hillary at about a B; she’s not everything that I might want in President. But compared to Trump, she’s definitely the adult in the room. I trust her sufficiently to give her my vote in November. And you?