With Congressional approval at an all time low, candidates could learn how Pope Francis has achieved a 60% approval rating according to a recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute. Considering that many Americans have no religious affiliation, it’s worth exploring just how this has happened.
To stay in the race and be resilient, presidential hopefuls can learn from him. Remember, there is much Pope Francis has in common with members of Congress. He was elected. He has taken over a very dysfunctional institution with layers of management, powerful underlings, and members who actively oppose his agenda.
Like Congress, the Vatican is a billion dollar organization marked by arrogance and corruption. While Congress doesn’t share the criminal abuse of children and adults, it has refused to handle the white collar crimes of financial institutions who pay literally billions to settle criminal charges of malfeasance.
First: Refuse to flaunt how much money you have and forgo the trappings of the 1%.
The Pope’s lack of flamboyance has allowed a large population to feel a connection with him. In fact, if you want to really understand how the middle class and below feel, try renting an apartment in Los Angeles on minimum wage.
Second: Stop making sweeping generalizations that condemn entire blocks of people.
Instead, seek first to understand rather than be understood. Bubble-wrapped politicians who have been protected from the realities of life have little hope of gaining support from a majority.
Third: Shut up and listen.
And when it is time to speak, remember that simplicity is far more compelling than bombastic pronouncements and calling people stupid.
Oh yes—don’t claim that God is on your side. As Francis said, “Who am I to judge?”.