How do you go about choosing a candidate to support? Is it an entirely rational process? Do you decide what the most important issues are for you and then compare each candidate’s proposed policies on them point by point to make your selection? Or do you go by your “feel” for the integrity and character qualities of the individual candidates? When the candidates are in broad agreement on the major issues (such as ending the Iraq occupation, providing healthcare for all Americans, restoring constitutional limits on executive power, etc.) and they only differ in some specifics of how they would get to those goals, questions of character begin to take on more weight, even among those who are most wonkishly informed and passionate on the issues.
Political psychologist Aubrey Immelman, research director and founder of the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics at Saint John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict in Collegeville and St. Joseph, Minnesota, specializes in developing personality profiles of prominent political figures (as well as criminals – heh).