Friday, March 9, 2012

Mitt Romney Looks Presidential, But Is He Charismatic Enough?

The 2012 Republican Presidential Primaries has definitely turned into a horse race, but Mitt Romney appears to be the party’s preferred candidate. Current CNN and NYT Polls show that Romney has 55% of the Republican Delegates compared to Santorum’s 24% and Gingrich’s and Paul’s 10% respectively. As of March 8, 2012, A Real Clear Poll shows President Obama beating Romney 49.2% to 44.8%. However, Romney has not inspired the enthusiasm that a Clinton, Obama, and even a George W. Bush candidacy once did. Romney is the presumed Republican Party’s choice by default. A Jeb Bush candidacy, despite Bush fatigue, might be more inspirational. Romney’s uninspired candidacy will be under further attack against Obama’s marketing machine that stars an incumbent that is battle tested and even more electrifying.

If Romney is to compete against Obama’s marketing muscle, he will have to enhance his charisma by:

Describing current conditions compared to the ideal. Charismatic leaders fully understand that people act in their self-interest and will generally change behavior when conditions are severely uncomfortable. However, this discomfort has to resonate with an adverse situation that individuals fear. An example would be a real estate agent that shows a prospective buyer a run-down house in a questionable neighborhood. When the real estate agent shows the prospective buyer other houses in more desirable surroundings, the buyer is more inclined to consider the latter houses for purchase, because the buyer fears investing in a house where his or her quality of life will be harmed. If Romney wants to influence uncommitted voters, he must exaggerate current conditions as being abysmal and describe how accepting his recommendations would be transformational.

Communicating to both regions of the brain. Charismatic leaders speak with passion and commitment that serves as a means of rattling the minds of others. Have you ever thought something to be true, but began questioning its validity once someone provided contrary facts and spoke with extreme passion? It was not just an issue of not holding steadfast to your belief; it was the feeling of uncertainty that came about through someone showing more emotion and logic behind the idea. By demonstrating steel determination, passion, and confidence, Romney can demonstrate a higher degree of charisma

Speaking with specificity. Although charismatic leaders are noted for passionate and effective oratory, it is their ability to speak with specificity and detail that makes them magnetic. By providing clear, precise, and practical information, individuals are able to see their role in an overarching vision. If Romney begins breaking a mission down step-by-step with passionate oratory that speaks to the long term manifestation of an idea, he will not only free voters of ambiguity, he will inspire them to create options to the mission that he may not have considered. In the end, clear and concise communication is used as a motivational device.

Although Romney has the looks and experience to become President of the U.S., Pop Culture dictates that aspiring presidents must have the “Cool” factor. The image of a relevant and tuned-in president is just as important as the political platform by which he stands. If Romney is to be a serious challenger to President Obama, he must enhance his charisma or go the way of former presidential contender Mike Dukakis.


Real Clear Politics (2012). 2012 general election results. Retrieved from:  

For more information, visit: Charisma

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