What About Hillary?
© 2016 Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.
I appreciate some peoples' concern that I wrote a book called Trump Bubbles about the dangerous patterns of Donald Trump, but I haven't written a similar book on or given a high conflict personality analysis of Hillary Clinton. I'm not a politician or a political person, or a political scientist. I'm not working on anyone's campaign. In recent years I have voted for both Republicans and Democrats, depending on the individual. I didn't write about any candidates in 2008 or 2012.
I wrote Trump Bubbles during this year's primaries because I was so seriously concerned that Donald Trump has such extreme high conflict personality traits that I feel he presents a danger we have not seen in our lifetimes. Whether people vote for Hillary or Bernie, or Johnson of the Libertarian Party, or don't vote at all is not something I am trying to influence. I want people to have their eyes open about Trump and his high conflict patterns of behavior.
Do I think that Hillary has a high conflict personality?
Many people hate Hillary and she also has a high unfavorability rating, but not as high as Trump. In response to this concern about impartiality, I used the High Conflict Politician (HCP) scorecard that Don Saposnek and I developed in 2012 for our Splitting America book, for analyzing both Trump and Hillary. Here are the eight HCP factors: Personal Attacks, Crisis Emotions, All-or-Nothing Solutions, Self-Absorbed, Lacks Empathy, Misjudges Others, Sees Self As Big Hero, and Doesn't Play Well with Others. Remember, we developed this in 2012. See scorecard below.
High Conflict Scorecard Ratings
Rating each factor from 0 to 8, I got a total of 7 out of 64 (11% HCP) for Hillary, and 64 out of 64 (100% HCP) for Trump. In reflecting on the criticisms of her, such as doubting her trustworthiness or crookedness, I don't see her as different from most politicians over the past forty years. I think that the 7/24 news, especially cable news through endless repetition, has tried to cast her as a particularly evil person. But in reality she seems like an ordinary politician to me--with strengths and weaknesses, but also a mostly rational approach to decision-making.
She listens, she learns and she doesn't seem to see herself as a hero, but rather a manager. While many people want someone who will make radical changes--either from the left or from the right--I am one of those who believes that stability is important in our shaky modern world. I like the idea of a centrist for a manager, with congress as the place for radical ideas to be considered without impulsive action.
In short, I don't see Hillary as a high conflict person. She has faults, of course, and I don't love her, as many followers of Trump (and some of Bernie's) love their candidate. My big concern is that Trump is very dangerous, because of his extremely high conflict personality.
High Conflict Politician Scorecard - full analysis and description of how to use this scorecard (with examples) can found in Splitting America: How Politicians, Super PACs and the News Media Mirror High Conflict Divorce.
On-going Traits: Regular patterns of behavior None Mild Moderate Often Very Often Personal Attacks? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Crisis Emotions? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 All-or-nothing Soluitons? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Self-absorbed? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Lacks empathy? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Misjudges others? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Sees self as big hero? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Doesn't play well with others? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Total Score = ___________
This “scorecard” is proposed as a guide for comparing candidates, and not a research-based formula. To a great extent, high-conflict behavior is in the eye of the beholder. There is no cut-off or clear line between “reasonable” people and “high conflict” people. It is possible that some elections are between two candidates who both score high or both score low on this list, while other elections may present more clear-cut situations, with one low and one high. Simply thinking about these behaviors should help you become less vulnerable to the excessive charm, attack ads and other manipulations by high conflict politicians in federal, state and local elections.
Bill Eddy is a lawyer, therapist, and mediator. He is the co-founder and Training Director of the High Conflict Institute, a training and consultation firm that trains professionals to deal with high-conflict people and situations. He is the author of several books and methods for handling high conflict personalities and high conflict disputes with the most difficult people.