Donald Trump announced this year at the Conservative Political Action Convention that he is 75 to 80 percent confident he will be running for President in 2016. He has been courting the various Tea Party groups, and indeed the political views this writer has heard expressed are compatible with the fiscal conservative stance that is the Tea Party movement’s founding principle.
Trump is a tough, intelligent and savvy businessman. He is used to winning. Even when he loses he wins.
This is the opposite of Obama, who loses even when he wins. (OK so now you know where I’m coming from…)
I’ve talked to a few people who are not much into politics about Trump. The ones who don’t like him bring up a whole host of reasons to not like him, including his hair, his lifestyle, his bankruptcies, reality television, and a few other things. I’ve seen very few positive articles about him in the mainstream, everyone wants to pick on the guy who is unapologetically on top.
So let’s look at some of these reasons.
The rub: He lives a lavish lifestyle and can’t relate to the common man.
The reality: The Celebrity Apprentice has pulled as high as 12 million viewers, it has been the number one ranked series. Donald Trump’s appearance on WWE got him wild enthusiastic cheers (and before you holler “fake” again on WWE, they’ve already admitted they are just having fun…). He seems to relate just fine to the common man.
And let’s look at what he represents as a symbol (the writer has expertise in the science of mass influence, symbols are critically important to a political campaign). His lavish lifestyle is perceived negatively by critics, but the Trump name as a symbol represents triumphant success to most Americans. Want to bring some of THAT into international negotiations?
The rub: His hair – this is stupid but its what everyone brings up, you all know you do.
The reality: OK Donald, you have an issue here, there are pictures… You never saw Bill Clinton with his hair messy, nor George W., nor Mitt Romney (one bright spot, Hillary has had some bad hair days!). Believe or not, your pictures with bad hair are the most common commentary from folks who don’t like you. Personally, I don’t get it, but as a marketing professional, my advice is – get a hat, for Mercy’s sake.
The rub: He has bankrupted several businesses, his image as a winner is a fraud.
The reality: A seasoned real estate developer once told me the standard way to make money in construction is to 1) underbid everyone else even if it’s under your projected costs, 2) cut corners wherever possible to lower costs and 3) don’t pay your contractors, make them sue you for their money. This is a brutal business, if you are not tough you will not survive.
Its true, four major business entities under Mr. Trump’s control and bearing his name went through bankruptcy proceedings. However in each case it was Chapter 11 bankruptcy, basically a restructuring process, not Chapter 7, which would have been liquidation and total failure. Mr. Trump hired the industry’s best sharks and negotiated restructuring agreements with the banks that made him a winner. His team knew every nook and cranny of bankruptcy law, he used every source of negotiating leverage to his advantage, and, oh by the way, each of these businesses is still in operation. One could say he’s a bully at times, but if you look at his business dealings you can’t deny he is tough. He’s still worth billions.
Most people don’t understand this. When most of us go through bankruptcy, it’s bad and embarrassing. For big business, bankruptcy law is merely a tool, along with tax law, contract law, and any other kind of law where commercial minds routinely out-think the lawmakers who pass them. To not do this would be stupid and irresponsible. By the way, can you think of a better person to lead the charge in closing legal loopholes? Perhaps someone who has a team expert in exploiting those loopholes?
The rub: He is a reality television star, it’s cheap and the people who do them are cheap.
The reality: This a problem mostly because reality television is perceived to be the bottom of the food chain in Hollywood, with movie stars at the top (especially big stars who then to “indy films”), TV drama stars, then sitcom stars, etc, then reality TV(below that would be online TV series…). This is such artificial crap. The Celebrity Apprentice is a top rated show, earns millions more than most movies and TV series, and provides millions of dollars for charities. The truth is Hollywood is a mass of hypocrisy, the movie stars who are famous, are mostly famous because they make money not because of their “art.”
The rub: He is a self promoting publicity hound who always needs to be in the limelight.
The reality This is true no doubt, but EVERY POLITICIAN WOULD KILL TO ACHIEVE TRUMPS LIMELIGHT! Donald Trump does it better than most and with more variety because he has the experience, the expertise and the team. Yes, you will find a few politicians who are genuinely humble and down to earth. Most are pompous asses. If you watch Trump on The Celebrity Apprentice, you will see he appears to have a down to earth reasonable side. He negotiates and facilitates in an entirely reasonable manner and solicits opinions before he makes a decision. These are leadership qualities.
I can’t say for sure at this stage if I will vote for Mr. Trump, but I do want to see him in the race. Bottom line, we want a president who will win in the international arena; someone who will push an agenda through Congress, and not just any agenda; someone who is larger in life than Putin; someone who has a shot at achieving the star quality of Ronald Reagan. Donald Trump is no Ronald Reagan … but then again in certain respects Ronald Reagan was no Donald Trump.