What makes a good novel? You need a hero, a villain, and a compelling story. And for the story to be really memorable, your hero needs some flaws. That’s why there is kryptonite in the Superman sagas; invincibility makes for a very boring read.
Now translate that into the very real world of politics. As human beings, our presidents have flaws, too.
For example, I believe President George W. Bush’s main flaw was ambition. That would help explain the invasion of Iraq: remove a heinous dictator who was abusing his people and install democracy. Democracy plus oil revenue would cause Iraq to thrive and become the envy of the Middle East. The people in other countries would force their rulers to adopt the same democratic system, the Middle East would be transformed, and George W. Bush would go down in history as a great president. (Recall the consensus great presidents, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, were all wartime leaders.) Of course, it didn’t quite work out that way.
So now that Donald Trump is president-elect (in an election that was a compelling story), what are his flaws?
I think most would agree he has a huge ego. Also, in his campaign rhetoric I saw a ruthless, win-at-all-costs mentality bordering on bullying. This got him a lot of press coverage, energized his base, and won him the presidency, but at a high cost. His victory was razor thin (he actually lost the popular vote), and the nation is divided. Where do we go from here?
One thing is for sure — as president, the unexpected will happen, and Trump will be tested in ways no one can predict. How will his flaws affect how he reacts? Who around the world will try to take advantage of his human foibles?
From a purely behavioral standpoint, the next four years are going to be fascinating.