Donald Trump uses business tactics to win presidency
Donald Trump uses business tactics to win presidency
Even as the nation prepares to inaugurate its 45th president on Jan. 20, many still puzzle over Donald J. Trump’s extraordinary win in the Nov. 8, 2016 election.
But those who viewed the Trump campaign as a model for the sage use of business acumen found it relatively simple to understand why he triumphed.
It didn’t just start with his victory in last year’s election. Trump has been trumpeting his businesses success for decades. He has written books about it, ballyhooed it on TV shows and put his reputation on the line with “The Apprentice,” an astoundingly successful show built on a solid business foundation.
The man who will take the oath of office in less than a month already began laying the groundwork for a presidential bid by dropping hints in advance of the last few presidential elections, but never followed through.
So, when Mr. and Mrs. Trump took that fateful escalator ride to the lobby of Trump Tower in New York in June 2015, many thought the billionaire would do the same again. But he didn’t. He made the commitment and stuck to it.
On that day, he began a unique and utterly unorthodox bid for the nation’s top office, a campaign that often found him making bombastic remarks or coming across as little more than a rich bully pandering for attention.
For many, it was easy to regard “The Donald” as a big-mouthed blowhard. You could take that point of view, but you could never dismiss him outright.
You don’t have to be a genius to make millions, but billions is a very different accomplishment. Billions is not an accident, and success in a presidential race isn’t either. Rather, I believe we saw masterful use of entrepreneurial skill, even a bit of psychological warfare, from a very intelligent businessman.
Clearly, Trump viewed the presidency as a commodity, a product, if you will. He asked himself: “How can I sell this? Who will buy it? Who WON’T buy it? And why won’t they buy it?”
Unlike Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Trump wasn’t selling the presidency for personal gain. He didn’t need it. He was rich. He picked up the bill for most of his campaign expenses.
In the manner of the true businessman that he is, Trump looked at the political map and scoped out the places to “sell” his presidential aspirations. In the job-starved rust belt towns of the northeast; in Michigan, where tainted drinking water became a national issue; in the coal belt states where Hillary Clinton stubbed her toe by promising to slam doors on coal mines and put miners out of work.
Capitalizing on Clinton’s claim that many of Trump’s backers belong in “a basket of deplorables,” Trump turned this despicable description into a badge of honor.
No matter how Clinton framed her opponent, it came back to slam her. She said Trump was arrogant and filthy rich. So is she. She said he was angry and ill-tempered. So is she. When Clinton tried to be self-deprecating, it came across as a true definition of her character. When Trump was self-deprecating, he came across as charming.
The victory on Nov. 8 proved that what looks like a mistake may be nothing but a gambit, and if your opponent fails to keep her guard up because she doesn’t see it coming, she could be floored by a political hay-maker.
Trump’s display of not being beholden to any person, political action group or overblown, greedy, authority-crazed despot like George Soros put him in a class by himself, and made it all the more difficult for Clinton and Obama to hide their own avaricious intentions.
When Trump told the American people he wanted to work for them, his sincerity shone through clearly. He promised to save American jobs in a way Barack Obama never did, and in a way Hillary Clinton could never imagine. By using his business sense.
Even before he moves into the Oval Office, Trump has come through, saving jobs at Ford and Carrier from going to Mexico. And as a way of underscoring his conservative nature, he slashed billions from the upcoming Boeing Air Force One deal.
Having never worked the political arena, Trump is an astute beginner. Your typical politician is the exact opposite: they’re polished, ultra-cautious and very politically correct. Many come off as sleazy, unfeeling and untrustworthy, with phony smiles and sweaty handshakes.
Trump is no stranger to show business, and he understands this principle well. If you try to please everyone, you please no one. But if you try to please a specific group of people, you will absolutely make others angry, and that can be surprisingly good for business.
When he saw that the news media outrightly refused to cover his campaign, he weaseled his way onto TV and into newspapers. Taking a stance that will make some people angry, is great. It gets you more attention, more press coverage and more fans (or in Trump’s case, voters).
Trump’s wealth comes from real estate, an industry that involves constant negotiation. One of the first and most important facets of negotiation (not to mention politics) is to understand, as deeply as you can, the people on the other side of the table.
The cyber-world – where Trumps spends considerable time – contains much data on voter turnout along with a massive number of blogs and social-media outlets. Suffice it to say that Trump knows who he’s speaking to, what their hot buttons are and how to get them riled up. These are things Obama seemed to ignore and Clinton didn’t even think were important.
Beyond that, Trump says what’s on his mind (and more important, what’s on the mind of many Americans), and doesn’t pull any punches. To put it simply, he seems very real and very human.
He knows his business well. He quickly got to know his audience and, in a short time, gained their trust – something Hillary Clinton, even on a good day, was sorely unable to do.
At the end of the day, I believe that Trump is a brilliant showman and businessman, and there’s a ton to be learned from watching him spin his web. It should be interesting and exciting to see him take over the reins of a nation that has long lacked solid leadership.