Donald Trump leaps up Charismatic Leader league table

Donad TrumpDonald Trump has surged up the Leaders We Deserve league table of charismatic leaders for his controversial campaigning performances in the USA this week.

His polling popularity as presidential candidate of the Republican Party seems unaffected, maybe slightly enhanced, by the outrage produced by his remarks.

In the Charismatic League table published on July 25th, Donald Trump was languishing in mid-table just below David Cameron and new entrant Jeremy Corbyn.  His remarkable efforts this week were topped by his inflammatory remarks about Megyn Kelly, a Fox News interviewer, which implied that her questions were poor as a consequence of her hormonal condition.

Roger Stone, Mr Trump’s senior political advisor, resigned after the incident.


Mr Trump was widely castigated my media and other candidates.  and was ‘disinvited’ to an imminent event that would have been largely positive towards his campaign. The New York Times noted that his explosive remarks had not dented his popularity among  GOP supporters, posing the party with a dilemma of how to deal with him.

Explanations for his polling popularity

Various explanations have been suggested to explain his retained popularity.

I could make a case that disaffection for the established party candidates will prepare the way for an anti-establishment figure such as Trump.  It  reflects a failure of other candidates to secure the support and trust of the voters. In short it is evidence that we get the leaders we deserve.

 The vision thing

Political leadership has always been a promising area in which to study charismatic leadership.  President Bush the elder was by his own admission uncomfortable with the charismatic style of Ronald Reagan his predecessor.  Bush senior helped define himself as failing to grasp ‘the vision thing’ which Clinton and Reagan understood intuitively. However, he lost a second term to another charismatic figure, one William Jefferson Clinton.

Political forces more than leadership style contributed to Bush’s legacy.  His presidency  required cool bridge-building with President Gorbachev as the Soviet Union’s political order disintegrated.To mollify the powerful Reaganite forces in the Republican Party, Bush appointed Dan Quayle as Vice President.  Quail was seen by some as charismatic heir to Reagan, by others as a gaff-prone buffoon. Charisma is easier to understand as a perceptual rather than a material phenomenon.

The Charisma league table (August 10th 2015)

I have updated the charismatic league table to upgrade Trump, and add other historical figures discussed above. The table is intended to promote discussion rather than to offer scientifically determined rankings.

Fidel Castro

Boris Johnson

President Gorbachev

Donald Trump (August rating)

Ronald Reagan

Bill Clinton

Julian Assange

Richard Branson

Jose Mourinho

Lady Gaga

Michelle Obama

Stephen Hawkins

Princess Diana

Russell Brand

Dan Quayle

Ricky Gervase

Jeremy Corbyn*

David Cameron

Donald Trump (July rating)

Tim Henman

Prince Charles

George Bush Snr

Liz Kendall*

Andy Burnham*

Yvette Cooper*

Andy Murray

Michael Gove

Paul Scholes


Image of Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore.jpg via Wikipedia



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