Time To Use The Write-In Vote?

Leadership-MattersI am sure I am not alone when I say that I am really having a problem with the nominees for the Office of President of the United States that have been put forward by the Republicans and Democrats. I am not fond of either of them. And, it is not because I have been swayed by the talking heads from the main stream media or by the experts at the network that says it is “fair and balanced” but is anything but. It is because when I listen to what is actually being said by each candidate, when I watch how they interact with people, when I see how they respond to criticism, they fail as leaders.

In my articles on leadership, I discussed that of the eleven principles of leadership that I consider essential to being an exceptional leader, six of these principles are focused on how a leader interacts and motivates their team to be their very best and to achieve success. Since I have never worked for either candidate, I am really not able to comment on this aspect of their leadership. I am sure that during the days leading up to the general election, we will see ads and hear stories with both positive and negative opinions from people who have worked for these candidates. You will have to weigh the statements and investigate the credibility of each statement. That is your duty and responsibility as a voter.

However, the most important leadership principles begin with the leader. These five principles are clearly on display every time the leader interacts with those around them. So, being able to judge the two presidential candidates on these leadership principles should be quite easy because these are the characteristics that they, as candidates, should be displaying to get my vote. It is in these areas that both candidates are woefully lacking and that is why so many are struggling with handing either of them the keys to the Oval Office. So, let me summarize what I feel is lacking.

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  • election-vote-politicsKnow yourself and seek self-improvement – One candidate boasts that “he only became a politician one year ago”. Well, that’s great. He has had a year to hire experts to teach him what he needs to know to be successful as a candidate and as the President. However, he continually makes mistakes that require his people to follow him around with a broom and a shovel. So, he is either incapable of learning or just too stubborn to change. It he really wants this job, why has he not tried to learn the basics so that we gain the confidence that he will be able to perform to the overwhelming responsibilities that come with this Office. The other candidate wants to stand “on her record”. And yet, that record is full of bad decisions, half-truths, and outright false statements. When is she going to work on building her character so that we as the voting public can believe in her? Neither candidate has demonstrated their desire to take a hard look introspectively and make changes that will demonstrate growth to the electorate.
  • Be technically proficient – The Office of the President is responsible as the executive branch of the Federal Government to fulfill the requirements outlined in the Preamble of the Constitution, namely, “…in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…” So, as the candidate for President, I want to know what each candidate is going to do to return our Government back to its roots and get it working again. Don’t give me flowery rhetoric, give me facts and plans. Neither candidate has clearly explained how they intend to accomplish anything that will restore the faith of the American people. However, both candidates hint that they will take Executive Action to get things done if they cannot get Congress to work with them. So, the Constitution seems to only be a guideline and not the foundation of governing to these candidates. That is a serious problem for most Americans.
  • Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions – Oh my! We have one candidate who is so thinned skinned that he will attack anyone who says anything that he perceives to be a slight – and if he has to make something up to hurt them, so be it. When he gets negative press for his actions and comments, he denies it, claims he was misquoted, or says he was joking or being sarcastic. Five minutes later, he says the same thing and double downs. The other candidate was investigated by the FBI for mishandling classified material. The Director of the FBI clearly stated that in her public statements to defend her actions, she was not truthful. He said this when he made his announcement to the American people and while under oath to Congress. However, she said during a recent interview that that is not how she interpreted what he said! Neither of these candidates is willing to take responsibility for their shortcomings which is why they are incapable of self-improvement.
  • Make sound and timely decisions – Using Twitter to post a sarcastic, insulting remark for your followers to see is not a demonstration of sound decision making. Saying you are going to make America great again without providing details is not a plan that garners my support. “What difference does it make now” is not an answer that is acceptable when discussing the loss of American lives and neither is changing your position on issues based upon polls and perceived opportunities to garner more votes. The voters want to know that when the difficult decisions that come with the Office of the President need to be made, these candidates will be able to rise to the occasion. And yet, neither has been willing to demonstrate that ability. At this point in time, America needs a leader, not more words.
  • Set the example – This one is very simple. When I look at the manner in which these candidates present themselves to the public and their ability to disregard facts and truth to attempt to fool the electorate for which they obviously have complete contempt, I can honestly say that if my children ever expressed the desire to grow up and be just like these candidates, I put them in time out until they could tell me exactly why that would be the worse decision they would every make for their lives (and bear in mind, I am old enough to have adult children). And as voters, we have to remember that one of these candidates wishes to be an example of what makes America great on the world stage. We, as Americans, deserve better than these two. Frankly, neither one of them exemplifies the honor and integrity that has always been the hallmark of Presidential leadership that is respected by other world leaders.[/message][su_spacer]

We have no choice. This November, you will have to cast your vote for the candidate who you think might actual keep a promise on issues like the economy, terrorism, and the future of the Supreme Court. However, if you honestly feel you cannot vote for either candidate, you are welcomed to write in my name – that’s LEN BERNAT. At least when you look in the mirror after you have cast your vote, you can honestly tell yourself that you voted for a proven leader. And who knows, in an election year where it seems that logic has been thrown out of the window, I just might win.

Len Bernat
Len Bernat
LEN is a leader groomed by 20 years of molding and shaping by some of the finest leaders in the United States Marine Corps. Their guidance helped Len realize his full potential as he moved from an enlisted Marine to becoming an Officer of Marines. Len became known for being the leader who could turn any lackluster organization into a strong, functional unit. Upon his retirement, Len worked in several positions before finally starting a second career in governmental procurement. His experience and leadership skills enabled him to be recognized as the 2011 Governmental Procurement Officer of the Year for the Governmental Procurement Association of Georgia and opened doors for him to teach at many of the association’s conferences. Len was also called to the ministry and was ordained at Ashford Memorial Methodist Church in November of 1999. Today, Len is the Pastor of Maxeys Christian Church in Maxeys, Georgia. Len has been married to his wife, Hazel, for 36 years and they have three daughters, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Grab your copy of Len's new Book – Leadership Matters | Advice From A Career USMC Officer. Using his life experiences as examples, Len takes the eleven principles of leadership and the fourteen traits every leader should possess—which he learned during twenty years in the Marine Corps—and teaches the reader how he was molded and shaped by some of the best leaders the Corps had to offer.


  1. Ken,
    Well, it will not be the first time I was willing to risk it all for my country – besides, I have not come out of hiding since Dennis published this article. :-)

    Like you, I am hoping we get the candidates and the media to focus on the issues because in this election, the issues are all the voters really have to hang their hat on.

    Thanks, as always, for you insights and support.

  2. Can’t fault your points, Len. As bleak a landscape as I’ve ever seen in any election cycle.

    Of course there are two problems with writing in a candidate, one like you particularly. One you will never get any “power” support because you will clearly upset too many apple carts. Secondly, if you should get elected you will be poisoned or shot in a week.

    Maybe we will get lucky and one of these candidates will have a flash of brilliance and get things right for a change. Okay, so I’m a dreamer.



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