The Family Dinner Party

Since the beginning of the new year I have resisted speaking out on any political events and presidential candidate debates with friends and family. I have friends and family who are staunch Trump supporters. Some of whom are clearly racist, bigoted and firmly entrenched in their adoration of President Trump. Many of them, however, are not but support Trump because of his guts and unfiltered communication style. This commentary post is about communication styles.

Firstly, let me just provide some context to my commentary with respect to my own political persuasion. The first year I was able to vote in a presidential election was the year I turned 18 years old in 1979. I was convinced I would vote for Jimmy Carter until I reached the voting booth and I suddenly flipped my vote to Ronald Reagan. I believed my vote mattered. I believed a strong sense of responsibility. Ronald Reagan’s communication style gave me a sense of peace in a very chaotic time – internationally and in the United States. Jimmy Carter’s inability to solve and communicate effectively on foreign policy or economic issues left me insecure of the bright American future. I would continue to cast my vote for the Republican party candidate in every presidential election until the 2016 election.

In the 2016 presidential election, I voted for neither the Republican candidate, Donald Trump or for the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton. I detested both. Instead I voted for a third-party candidate who I knew had no chance to win the presidential election. I still believe that my vote mattered, and I had still had a strong sense of responsibility to vote my conscious even when I knew the candidate that received my vote could not possibly win. Voters of third-party candidates, especially in Michigan were vilified since Democrats saw my action as a vote for Donald Trump. Blame it on the electoral college racket, don’t blame it on me was my retort.

Like it or not, here we are again with the 2020 presidential election. Again, in my view, it is not only about the candidate’s policies, political experience (or none), but of communication style too. Our own communication style or how we wish we could communicate as individuals may influence who may receive our vote for President of the United States.

I no longer consider myself a member of any political party. I consider myself a moderate independent who leans conservative or progressive depending upon the topic. I am a Christian so let me just put that out there too. I look to a person’s overall qualification for the elected office and not gender identity, ethnicity, faith, or no faith, age or socioeconomic background. While policies, experience, and character matter, I look to who can communicate their vision and policies in a reasonable and professional manner that is inclusive of the diversity of the American population.

2020 Presidential Candidate Dinner Party

Unfiltered and Filtered

I am going to play the presidential candidate family dinner party with the top five Democratic presidential candidates and the Republican incumbent. These six individuals are at my home for a family holiday dinner party.

How do I view their communication style? See if you agree with me.

Let’s define unfiltered and filtered communication styles.

UNFILTERED:  Gutsy and Ignorant

FILTERED:   Reasonable and Professional

Joe Biden: Unfiltered

Joe Biden is the genuine crazy uncle. Deep in his heart, I think he means well and even has some good ideas. A little too touchy-feely at the dinner table which makes him lose credibility when credibility counts. He communicates in a way that make eyes roll and has us cringe at times with his gaffes.

Bernie Sanders: Filtered

Bernie is the angry grandfather. He is consistent in his message. Yet that message often is drowned out by the angry pointing finger that has everyone’s attention. He makes no bones about the fact he is a socialist. If that matters to you, then grandpa may have the edge despite his communication style.

Elizabeth Warren: Unfiltered

“Aunt” Elizabeth is the life of the party especially after one too many glasses of Chardonnay from the box of wine she brought to the party. She can come up with some interesting ancestry tales and isn’t afraid to call anyone out if they have slighted her in the past. She often forgets some of what she says or what others have already said with respect to policy stances. She may even adopt someone else’s policies as her own.

Pete Buttigieg: Filtered

Pete is the cousin in the sweater vest who quietly sits at the table and observes everyone. When spoken to, Pete provides polite, concise, intelligent, and often remarkable points that leaves others at the table sitting in silence. Not sure what he has said or how to respond, the others at the table move on to their own life sagas. Intellectual cousin Pete will need to learn how to communicate with the unfiltered to persuade them he is their candidate.

Ann Klobuchar: Filtered

Ann “Mom” Klobuchar dressed in her finest flowered flannel jumper says little but makes sure everyone sitting at the dinner table stays in check. No one really knows what Mom Ann thinks unless she sees someone not bowing with eyes closed to say grace to which she slaps the errant in the back of the head. She just wants everyone to have enough to eat and use their napkins without making a big fuss about it.

Donald Trump: Unfiltered

Donald Trump is the brother everyone is afraid will show up to the family dinner party and ruin it for everyone. A braggadocio. He doesn’t understand table manners nor what utensil to use and rarely uses a napkin. Some of the family feels sorry for him because something dreadful must have happened to him in his youth, others find him to be boorish and a bully excusing themselves to the powder room, and others leave the party early vomiting behind the front bushes. Whether you find him gutsy, ignorant, or both, his communication style may make or break a vote for him.

What is your communication style?

Stay tuned…. the party is just getting started.


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