America’s Core Values and the 2016 Presidential Election


LeslieGrossmanLeadership2By Leslie Grossman, Author, Leadership Coach and Courageous Collaborator,

The election is over and Donald Trump is the incoming President.  In the spirit of transparency, I am a Hillary Clinton supporter and believe she was the best choice. Now that this ugly campaign is behind us, my biggest fear is that American core values may be swept under the rug and we will live in an unruly society where bad behavior is pervasive and accepted.

Let’s look at the bad behavior we witnessed during the last 12 months. While both candidates were accomplished – Trump in business, Clinton in public service, each exhibited unacceptable behavior that was not in line with America’s core values.  After making comments insulting Muslims, Latinos and women, Trump was charged with racism and sexism. His language and tweets exhibited bullying tactics. A videotape also revealed Trump’s predatory sexual behavior. Clinton was dogged by voter mistrust stoked by her handling of classified State Department information on a private email server and there were charges of potential influence on behalf of the Clinton Foundation. If you think the behavior of our candidates was fine, then stop reading now.  However, if you are concerned about retaining America’s core values – those beliefs  which help people to know what is right from wrong, read on.

American core values are the values most of us teach our children at home and they learn at school.  We expect our employees, co-workers and managers to live by these values.  It’s how we treat people with respect. Living by core values enables us all to live happily in the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave.”

America’s Core Values and the 2016 Presidential ElectionThere are many lists of American core values in books and on the web.  Here’s my take on the core values, which we are most in danger of losing, following this horrible election campaign:

Equality.  America is an open society that treats everyone equally; all people must be treated fairly and with dignity and be able to embrace opportunities for education, economic success, political involvement, and a fulfilling life.

Individualism. This value is committed to independence, self-sufficiency, private initiative, and personal economic growth. Individuals must be in control of their own lives and be able to make decisions without undue influence from society or government.

Diversity. America’s belief to respect and embrace the fact that all people are unique and important no matter what their race, culture, age, heritage, socio-economic status, physical appearance, disadvantage or disability.

Trust.   The ability to be open, consistent, honest and reliable; make others feel safe physically and emotionally; and fulfilling promises and commitments.

Volunteerism. Belief in promoting goodness or quality of life to those in need   altruistically and not for financial gain

Optimism. Belief that everything is possible

Here’s a challenge for you personally and in your work: How will you ensure America’s core values are preserved moving forward into 2017?  To get you started, here’s one idea: Make core values a topic you discuss with your family over Thanksgiving dinner.  While we show gratitude for living in a Democracy, share the values we want everyone in the family, community and business to live by. – Leslie Grossman

About the Author:  Leslie Grossman, author of “LINK OUT: How to Turn Your Network into a Chain of Lasting Connections” (Wiley), is a Vistage International Chair in New York City.  She was CEO of Communications/Marketing Action and Women’s Leadership Exchange and is a leadership and business development strategist, speaker and coach at Leslie Grossman Leadership.   Leslie can be reached at






Leave a Comment