Americans will see an avalanche of negative ads this fall highlighting the character flaws of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, both running for office of the Presidency.

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They both have them, and I am not here to repeat them. I will illustrate a point about the way to handle them.

  • All candidates have character flaws. All candidates have said or done stupid things.
  • All candidates have made stupid decisions. All candidates at times stretch the truth.
  • All candidates have their idiosyncrasies. Because all candidates are fallible human beings.

If you are running for office, and involved in a competitive election, you will hear a lot about your character flaws. Your opponent will talk about them. You’ll probably read about them in the hate mail your opponent sends, or the internet ads your opponent buys, in the TV or radio ads your opponent runs.

So how do you navigate and overcome your character flaws? Simple. Tell voters something compelling they’ll get if you win. Something they won’t get if you lose. You are now seeing that in the American Presidential campaign.

Donald Trump says he will destroy trade agreements, send people back to Mexico, and keep dangerous Muslims off American soil. People who vote for him will overlook concerns they have about his character because they think Trump will deliver something Clinton won’t.

Hillary Clinton says she will tax the rich, bring immigrants out of the shadows, forgive college loans, raise the minimum wage, and enact paid family leave.  Those who vote for her will overlook her character flaws because they want things that will only happen if she is elected President.

Does that mean you should ignore attacks on your character? No. But if you spend your every waking moment reliving your past, and apologizing for every dumb thing you have done, nobody will ever hear about the good you can do.

That bit of wisdom applies to everybody, even those who are not running for office.

Have questions? Hit the comment button. Or email me at My phone number is 845-458-1210.

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Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

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