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Evaluating Presidents: 26 Criteria for Doing So

All Presidents must be evaluated during the course of their tenure or even if they no longer hold the Presidency. One way of more or less objectively doing so is to establish a number of evaluation criteria external to any particular presidency, and then quantitatively assign scores for each criterion. These criteria typically are value statements of what the evaluator deems important qualities for a successful Presidency.

In this case, the first 20 criteria were adapted from an online report of 20 value statements from Robert Reich’s Facebook page. I have, in turn, changed the wording to make each a more objective criterion for evaluation of any President, attempting to move away from any implicit or explicit criticism of the current President.

In addition to the 20 items adapted from Reich’s work, another six items -the final six in this document- were inspired by the work of political scientist Fred Greenstein who devised a system of six qualities that can be used to assess any President. These items are presented in the same way as the other 20, including the same way of scoring them. They add very important, and very different, dimensions to the first 20 items.

To use these evaluation criteria, assume each is ranked along a continuum from “1” meaning that you “completely agree” with the statement regarding the President you are evaluating to “5” meaning that you “completely disagree with the statement.” A score of “2” would indicate that you “somewhat agree” and a score of “4” means that you “somewhat disagree.” A rating of “3” means you neither agree nor disagree with the statement.

When you complete the questionnaire, you add up your scores. A total score of 130 means that you completely disagree with all the statements regarding the President you are evaluating. A total score of 26 means you completely agree with all of the statements. Intermediate scores would indicate some variation in how you evaluate a President. For example, a total score of “40” to “50” would mean that you somewhat agree with the 26 criteria while a score of “80” to “90” means that you somewhat disagreed with most of the criteria.

Of course, you have to assign your own view of what your score means. Since these criteria represent value statements, you have to decide whether agreeing with them means the President is doing a great job or a terrible job. On this questionnaire, lower total scores mean agreement with the bulk of the 26 statements, and, therefore, support/agreement with the President you are evaluating.

To the left of each statement is a line for placing your score for that item. At the bottom is a line under all the other lines that allows you to sum up your scores and place the total score there.

Let’s get started.


_________1. A good President should demand loyalty from all appointees.

_________2. A good President should organize military parades and other choreographed shows of force.

_________3. A good President should threaten to fire independent prosecutors who get too close to the truth.

_________4. A good president would spread conspiracy theories about “deep state” forces seeking to oust him.

_________5. A good President would refer to top-ranking military leaders as “my” generals.

_________6. A good President would threaten to jail political opponents.

_________7. A good President would claim to have won an election by a landslide even after losing the popular vote.

_________8. A good President would stoke tensions abroad, even the specter of nuclear war, to distract from his or her efforts to consolidate power at home.

_________9. A good President would circumvent the independent press and communicate directly with followers.

_________10. A good President would vilify legislators and judges who are critical of him or her and/or the President’s regime.

_________11. A good President would repeatedly claim massive voter fraud in the absence of any evidence that fraud occurred.

_________12. A good President would turn the public against journalists or media outlets that criticize his or her regime, calling them “deceitful” or “scum.”

_________13. A good President would repeatedly tell enormous lies, causing the public to doubt the truth and to believe fictions that support the President’s goals.

_________14. A good President would blame economic stresses on immigrants or racial or religious minorities, and foment public bias and hatred against them.

_________15. A good President would threaten mass deportations, registries of religious minorities, and the banning from the United States of refugees.

_________16. A good President would attribute acts of domestic violence to “enemies within,” and use such events as excuses to beef up internal security and limit civil liberties.

_________17. A good President would appoint family members to high positions of authority.

_________18. A good President would draw no distinction between personal property and public property, profiteering from public office.

_________19. A good President would make personal alliances with foreign dictators, but express indifference if not defiance toward allies who are leaders of democracies.

_________20. A good president would maintain a powerful propaganda arm that claims to be “fair and balanced” but only amplifies the President’s lies and accusations.

_________21. This President (the one being evaluated) has excellent communication skills.

_________22. This President has shown excellent organizational capacity.

_________23. This President has excellent political skills.

_________24. This President has shown excellent vision for the country.

_________25. This President demonstrates excellent cognitive style.

_________26. This president has shown high levels of emotional intelligence.

_________ TOTAL SCORE



  1. ruth ann scanzillo October 4, 2018

    Hello, Professor. Shall I copy/paste your Scale? wasn’t clear on how you wish these to be tallied. Thanks for creating this!

  2. Rina Davis-van Tuil October 6, 2018

    When hollyweird reagan came into the picture, this country went nuts with the repukes, now it’s fallen into a dictatorship! What a filth and thievery with them!

  3. Larry L. Cunningham October 6, 2018

    Trump fails them all!

  4. Shirley Hawkins October 7, 2018

    Filth man running our country


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