As we near the final stretch of the elections, I believe we will get the most useful information about our candidates that we will have had since the beginning of the campaign. By now their platforms and opinions are clear. What we will get to see is how they perform under high stakes pressure. Will they cheat their own stated values, take the low road and sacrifice their own credibility to win?
High pressure can challenge our value systems. It can push a leader take short term actions that run counter to long term interests. It can tempt him to violate integrity and sell out in order to win by reassuring him that the ends justify the means. But when a leader compromises principal for outcome under the pressure of stress, he shows the world how he will perform when the stakes are high. In short, in an election as in an argument in the meeting room, a leader who takes the low road may win the battle, but loses the war, his credibility, and my vote. I for one have had enough of sniping, mole hill building and mob chants that focus on belittling an opposing candidate.
So when it comes to the wire, we will get to see the true identity of our candidates. Their stands on issues are clear. We will get to see how they campaign when the stakes are highest and the time is shortest to impact the outcome, which will tell us who they will be when sitting with foreign leaders, negotiating with congress and dealing with the next crisis we face.
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