Keep your eye on Donald Trump. He is not to be underestimated as he enters the business of electoral politics. He may not win the 2016 election, but he will definitely shake things up and may even determine who becomes the next President of the United States.
Trump could be the Jesse Jackson of Republican politics. He is no fool and he is gaining in the polls to the point that even those who don’t like him will not be able to disregard or dismiss him as irrelevant.
Rev. Jackson did not win the presidential elections of 1984 and 1988, but he strongly influenced them and changed the course of history for the Democratic Party. Jackson brought forth issues that mainstream politicians had previously ignored.
Modern politics is played in the media. Unfortunately, the contemporary political game is not based on principals or platform or moral authority or experience or public policy messages. The media shapes the winner. It’s a media game, and this is Trump’s wheelhouse – he knows the art, science and business of the media.
He is charming, direct, knows how to play to the camera and never met a reporter he didn’t like. A modern-day P.T. Barnum, Trump here is in his element. He speaks authoratively. He makes people listen. He has mastered the sound bite, even when he is full of bombast, in a world where celebrities are royalty and entertainment news gets more attention than real news.
Trump knows the business of business from the ground up. He is the maker of luxury, from the building to the tie. The “Trump” name means top quality; his brand means the best money can buy. This is the guy people are looking for.
His message, “We’ll take our country back,” has multiple meanings depending on whom you ask. But his message is resonating and he is connecting. As he addresses the crowd, he doesn’t speak down and he doesn’t back up. He is straightforward.
He will invariably put his foot in his mouth, and then will defend his position. They call that leadership. It doesn’t matter whether you agree, it matters that he said it. He will become the controversy, and that’s how you gain in the polls.
The Mexican Remarks
Were The Donald’s comments on Mexicans misconstrued? Did he say Mexicans were criminals and rapists as they entered the country or did he say Mexico is sending the criminals and the rapists over here? Europe emptied their undesirables, too, on the Mayflower and sent them to America, didn’t they?
Go figure. But Trump’s point was made as he opened the discussion on the border and immigration. What he didn’t discuss publicly was the issue of whether Mexican cabals are importing drugs onto American streets. He spoke what a lot are thinking, but not saying out loud.
Trump’s outspokenness makes for lively conversation, at least. He doesn’t do political-speak, trotting out the usual clichés and never directly answering a simple yes or no question. He will dominate and I can’t wait for the debates. Trump will not follow the script and he will not be politically correct.
His perspective is that of an entrepreneur. He is the American Dream, made good. He is not the corporate guy who climbed the ladder. He is not the guy daddy left a fortune to. He had some bad days, filing multiple bankruptcies only to rise again. He has had a couple of divorces.
Yet, he is foxy, media savy and entertaining and has the masses awaiting his next move. After all, this is the guy who had a hit TV show for years with The Celebrity Apprentice, until he was fired for his Mexican remarks. But Trump the personality is still bigger than a mere TV show, no matter how good the ratings.
In Chicago, tickets for his recent speaking engagement sold out in a day and the producers might have moved to a larger room, but they didn’t. In Arizona they did, when that crowd, too, outgrew the rally room and moved to larger quarters, which made even Trump say, “unbelievable.” The crowds are buying tickets to see The Donald, a new page in American politics, perhaps.
I predict he will force a fight internally with the football-sized team of Republican presidential wannabe candidates. They will try to shut him down as they battle his remarks. But all eyes will remain focused on him, as they weigh the merit of his comments.
This is exactly what Trump wants. He knows how to take center stage and guide the conversation. He will do it again and again and again. It’s called positioning and staging. He will suck the air out of the room over and over.
Watching the news and the reaction to his Mexican statements, which were racist, I saw an elderly Black man say that a Mexican had killed his son and that Trump spoke for him. He was the underdog who had no voice, but lost his son to unnecessary violence from a killer that the old Black man believed should not have been here.
Shortly thereafter, the young woman died in the arms of her father, as she was shot in San Francisco by a Mexican that had been deported a couple of times and should not have been here. The Mexican killed her with a federal agent’s gun. How did this happen? That incident surely made Trump’s point.
Speaking His Truth
Trump’s knows success and he knows failure. He knows how to get back up. He has good media sense – not a good political sense – but a media sense as in how to build an audience and have a top rated TV show. These skills will transfer into his political endeavors. He knows how to compete.
He will first pick off his Republican components and then he will begin to drill Hillary Clinton. As Trump speaks his mind he will be business challenged, as the companies dump him for fear of backlash because of their affiliation with him, as they did over the Mexican remarks. But Trump is wealthy enough to recover and entrepreneurial enough to rebound and seek new opportunities, win or lose.
He will also raise the unpopular issues straightup. He will talk about the war enemy; he will talk about our trade position and how America has deported manufacturing. He will speak what he thinks is the truth, as he sees it, and a lot of people just might agree with the way he sees it.
This is what the American public is begging for from political figures. He is a fresh face in a new environment. On the Arizona stage he joked, I know you laugh about my hair. Some have said it is a bad hairpiece. Then he said, the good news is, it’s my hair. This kind of sums up The Donald. Eventually the Republicans may find a way to kick him out of the party, but then he will only start an independent party.
Watch Trump. He may just change the face of politics. And that might just be his point.