“The Narcissist in Chief” (New York Times article)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures and declares “You’re fired!” at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, June 17, 2015. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTX1GZCO

The Narcissist in Chief
By Scott O. Lilienfield and Ashley L. Watts, for The Opinion Pages, The New York Times, September 4, 2015

WITH the presidential campaign in full swing, a perennial question has resurfaced: How much weight should voters give to candidates’ personalities? The political rise of Donald J. Trump has drawn attention to one personality trait in particular: narcissism. Although narcissism does not lend itself to a precise definition, most psychologists agree that it comprises self-centeredness, boastfulness, feelings of entitlement and a need for admiration.

We have never met Mr. Trump, let alone examined him, so it would be inappropriate of us to offer a formal assessment of his level of narcissism. And in all fairness, today’s constant media attention makes a sizable ego a virtual job requirement for public office. Still, the Trump phenomenon raises the question of what kinds of leaders narcissists make. Fortunately, a recent body of research has suggested some answers.

In a 2013 article in Psychological Science, we and our colleagues approached this question by studying the 42 United States presidents up to and including George W. Bush. (The primary data were collected before Barack Obama’s presidency.) First we took a data set compiled by the psychologists Steven Rubenzer and Thomas Faschingbauer, who for an earlier study asked experts on each president to complete personality surveys on the subjects of their expertise. Then, using standard formulas from the research literature on personality, we produced estimates of each president’s narcissism level. Finally, we correlated these personality ratings with data from surveys of presidential performance obtained from independent panels of historians.

We found that narcissism, specifically “grandiose narcissism” — an amalgam of flamboyance, immodesty and dominance — was associated with greater overall presidential success. (This relation was small to moderate in magnitude.) The two highest scorers on grandiose narcissism were Lyndon B. Johnson and Theodore Roosevelt, the two lowest James Monroe and Millard Fillmore.

Grandiose narcissism was tied to slightly better crisis management, public persuasiveness and agenda-setting. Presidents with high levels of this trait were also more likely to assume office by winning election in a landslide (55 percent or more of the popular vote) and to initiate new legislation.

Read the rest of this article here.

Here is a bonus quiz on political ideology and your best candidates that was suggested by Linda Lee–it can be taken here: http://www.isidewith.com/political-quiz?utm_source=outbrain&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=q_us_hrvd1
I’m 91% Bernie Sanders. 🙂

18 thoughts on ““The Narcissist in Chief” (New York Times article)

  1. Not surprised that narcissism is a deciding factor in elections. It is a sad commentary that ethics, intelligence and platform are lesser factors.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It’s been this way for years (even since Reagan got elected IMHO) but the ante has been upped with each new president and the narcissism is now blatant and in your face, rather than hidden behind populist ideals, as it was in the past. And the sheeple just keep on lapping it up.

      In my own memory, Jimmy Carter was probably one of the least narcissistic presidents ever, but he was considered a joke and only got one term. I mean, look at the names in the article of non-narcissistic presidents–Millard Fillmore? James Monroe? Who remembers them? Who ever talks about them as heroic? It’s the narcissists who get remembered as “great” presidents, just because they’re grandiose, aggressive, and charismatic enough to convert people to their ideology the same way cult leaders do.

      Liked by 2 people

        • I was a bit young to remember much about JFK but yes, him too. He was considered heroic by a lot of people (and may have been in some respects), but he was also a womanizer and philanderer much like Bill Clinton, another narcissist who I actually liked as a president. They could both pour on the charm, that’s for sure.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting article.

    I just took a political quiz that my husband emailed to me. It really made me think! After you answer all the questions, the test shows you which of the current presidential candidates match up the closest with your views. According to my test results, of all the current presidential candidates, my political views are the least like Donald Trump.

    Here is a link to that political views test if you are interested:

    Liked by 2 people

  3. To Linda Lee–
    ran out of nested replies. Yikes, it shows my ZIP CODE?! 😮 Well, hell. Everyone here already knows where I live because of all the photos I post of the scenery.


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