After months of campaigning, Donald Trump still leads the pack among Republican presidential candidates. Pundits and reporters have offered sage and sagacious analysis on why this billionaire business man dominates a field of strong and experienced political leaders. With the final debate before the 2016 Iowa caucus looming this week, and the actual caucus one week away, it seems time to offer a few observations on Donald Trump.
1. He knows how to sell his brand
Trump succeeds because he knows how to sell. He knows his audience, he believes in what he is selling, and he stands ready to meet any objection. If you have ever encountered a master salesman doing a hard sell, after a while you run out of reasons to say no. He counters every reason you give not to buy or to buy from someone else. Unless you step back and take a look at the big picture – like is this something you really need or want – you end up buying from him.
2. Leading in the polls is not the same as winning
While Trump dominates the polls, he has never won an election. Living in Kentucky, I have recent experience with why this matters. Matt Bevin was as much as 5 points down in the polls the day before the election, and defeated his democratic opponent by nine points on election day. The only poll that matters is the one where people vote.
It might also be good to remember while he has a plurality of support in the polls, he does not have a majority of support in the polls. Which means over half those responding prefer someone else. And many of those responding would still prefer anyone else as the nominee.
3. He is nominally pro-life
Donald Trump claimed in an op-ed published in the Washington Examiner on 23 January he is pro-life – with the necessary exceptions of course. Those exceptions would be rape, incest, and the life of the mother. These exceptions have begun to wear thin in the pro-life community, and increasingly with a majority of Americans.
Aborting a child resulting from rape or incest (presumably the incest was consensual and not rape) punishes by execution an innocent victim. Exceptions for the life of the mother seem valid, but it all depends on how you interpret the phrase. A generation of Republican law makers have used this wording as a excuse for doing little or nothing to slow the abortion industry in this country.
In short, Mr. trump said just as much as he needed to say to claim the title of pro-life.
4. He is no racist; he is a narcissist
Donald Trump does not believe some people are better than everybody else; he believes Donald Trump is better than everybody else. Just ask him. Better yet, just give him a chance to talk and he will tell you.
Yes, all politicians have to sell themselves, but Mr. Trump never seems to admit to a mistake or to a failure. If you know of any instance of sincere humility expressed by Donald Trump, please share it. He has what the ancient Greeks called hubris, which in Greek tragedy always led to a fall.
5. He is short on How
In the op-ed mentioned above, Mr. Trump describes himself as the builder who will build a culture of life in America. While doing so, he blames an over-reaching Supreme Court which must be checked and supports abolishing Federal funding of Planned Parenthood. Beyond that, he provides no blueprints for achieving his goal of building a pro-life culture.
This is typical Trump on the political campaign. He promises to deliver what people want, but never gives details on how it can be accomplished. He seems to forget the office of President of the United States is not the same as being president or CEO of your own business. He can’t order the Supreme Court or Congress to do his bidding. See number 4 above.
6. He is not a nice guy
This is a general impression shared by many, but think about this. Donald trump made his fortune in the New York and New Jersey real estate, construction, and casino industries. Who is it he does business with in these industries? Sure, any business person has to be tough to succeed. Carly Fiorina is tough.
But there is more than one kind of tough. There is the do-it-my-way-if-you-want-to-get-paid tough, and the do-it-my-way-or-I-break-your-legs tough. Mr. Trump has likely mastered both. Perhaps the second would come in handy dealing with ISIS, but where else might he use it?
7. This is not the president we are looking for
Mr. Trump has justified donating money to even the most liberal of politicians in the past by claiming when he calls they kiss his backside. In other words, he bought them off. It’s easy to take him at his word.
So when President Trump wants to get legislation through a reluctant Congress, will he buy them off? Is that where America has come to? Or will he use his well-honed negotiating skills and simply threaten to break their legs? Maybe he will rely on his charm and good looks to win them over. More likely he will imitate our current President and simply impose his will by executive order.
A Republican president is likely our only hope for stopping the dangerous downward spiral America is currently in. But just any candidate with an R by his or her name is not the answer. Too many of those helped get us here. We need the right person for the job. Donald trump is not the right person. Who do you think can do the job right?