Charisma and Politics: You can’t do one without the other

Working in politics one of the most interesting things I have experienced is seeing political experts in action. As an intern, I see during all staff calls how charismatic Congressman Doggett can be. The fact that everyone who works for him is so dedicated to supporting him and whose sole purpose is essentially to support his success is something that was so interesting to me.

While part of what draws people in is obviously the positions he took on issues, his charisma was also a factor. In addition to seeing congressman Doggett in action, I also sat in on many candidate forums for the local texas legislature. This was a really cool opportunity not only to engage with more political experts but also to learn more about my local officials.

As stated by Weber “the sole basis of charismatic authority is the recognition or acceptance of the claims of the leader by the followers”. To see so many people who worked in the office, recognize and support the claims made by Congressman Doggett, has been such a unique experience to see first hand the way charismatic leadership works.

Weber gives three systems of Authority: Traditional Leadership, Legal Leadership, and Charismatic Leadership. Congressman Doggett and other elected officials politicians must use Charismatic leadership in order to remain successful in order to be reelected. Their position rests upon the devotion of their follower. I saw this theory work first hand.

As I mentioned, I get to attend many candidate forums for incumbents and candidates for local elections. Through this experience, I have seen the effect it has when candidates fail to be Charismatic leaders.

This week during a meeting, I watched a candidate forum in which each candidate had 5 minutes to talk and two minutes each to answer each question. One of the candidates; presented their ideas in a way that was not persuasive, or impactful. They failed to capture the audience and thus lacked the charisma to persuade people to follow them.

This entire experience has shown me the complexity and multifacetedness of the political world. Having good ideas and knowing how to accomplish them is just one part of the equation. If you cant present them in a charismatic and inspiring way those ideas are pointless.