Trump as Kingmaker?
For a man who didn’t take seriously his chances to be elected President, is Donald Trump now realizing his opportunity to be the power behind the Oval Office, even if he’s not seated there? At the close of the Fifth Republican Debate, Trump’s demeanor, in my opinion, is subtly changed. His lead in the Republican Primary polls, his continued invincibility to challenges focused on his comments, and his astute judgment as to the possibility of his election to the Presidency, have all confirmed his original assessment, to act and react to the progress of this campaign in a manner essentially the same as in any of his previous negotiations. This is Donald Trump as the central character of the “Art of the Deal.”
Consider that no one, certainly not even Mr. Trump, imagined, when he declared his candidacy, the success he has so far enjoyed. His entrance into the Republican Party Primary race campaign was in no way naïve, nor the product of wishful thinking, rather it was a calculated act of self-promotion, which is the essential and salient trait of every great negotiator. To win on any level, in any endeavor, requires a fulsome investment of self, an unflinching desire to prevail and an unwavering belief that the outcome will be favorable. It is my opinion that Mr. Trump’s original goal in undertaking the campaign was not a belief that he would be the Party’s nominee, but actually would achieve greater recognition of his brand, which would increase the value and position of Trump Incorporated; further his political influence and personal prestige, and not incidentally, provide a forum in which he could criticize inept government policies and castigate political personalities which he considered, perhaps rightly, to be weak, ineffective, and whose actions in elected office and government service certainly were damaging to both the political prestige and economic vitality of the United States.
It must be understood that Mr. Trump is highly regarded, both by himself and the US and International business communities as an intelligent, dynamic and highly successful business leader, whose integrity and dedication to success are unquestionably recognized, if not always admired. In my opinion, regardless of his private motivation, his success in the art of the deal, in closing the deal, and in winning the deal is a reflection of a driven personality, an Alpha male, who will succeed, when necessary, through bluster and bullying when even when faced with negative results, and certainly after a preponderance of facts supporting his position are rejected by the opposing party. This force of will, this unshakable belief that he is correct in his assumptions, this seemingly pathological bravado comes as a result, not of a character deficiency, but from the presence of an abundance of character. He simply believes his position, most often a result of meticulous planning and analysis, is not only right, but righteous. With apologies to GM, he believes that what is “Good for Donald Trump is “Good” for his Family, for his Company, and for America.”
In this Fifth Debate, I sensed, for the first time, a quiet confidence and humility that comes to great leaders when they internalize the unimagined result of absolute success. Such men become “Gracious Winners,” they admit to themselves, that once again by the force of their personality, and the Will of God, they have prevailed. Here again, I opine that the goal of His entering the campaign was not his nomination, but the achievement of notoriety and respect for his brand, which is of course, received through him. Nominated or not, Trump Inc. will reap the benefits of his campaign, his negotiating skill will be enhanced; his family’s prestige, his children’s standing in society, and within their business worlds increased. Donald Trump has become, now and in History, the Last Puritan. That reference to history is apt, as Puritans were outspoken, righteous and eminently successful, politically and financially in the inchoate American Republic. I often think of Ford, Rockefeller and Jack Welch as Puritans, They were plain spoken and eminently successful.
So “Trump as Kingmaker?” First let me offer my belief that Donald Trump now sees a path to the White House, and will exert every effort to win the Republican Nomination, but let me caution that his campaign lacks organization and is grossly deficient in the structure that previously successful primary winners have needed to secure the nomination. It is my opinion that Mr. Trump will make no effort to change from what is now a “winning” strategy, which essentially distills as him being himself, and will rely instead on the cannibalization of “losing” candidate’s staffs, and their endorsements and funding.
Regardless of the outcome of the primaries, Mr. Trump’s base, which he honestly attracts though his heart felt disgust of the corrupt political ruling class, and his sincere expression the diminution of international American influence, will remain his to command at the Republican National Convention. There he will either be nominated, or, quite frankly choose who will be the nominee.
My belief is that the former role will best fit him and the Party, for three reasons. First, as the “Kingmaker” he will have far more opportunity to influence the path of American Public Policy, both privately and publically, than as the President. Second, he will relish his markedly increased power and position within the American and International Business Community, his direct influence and participation in business negotiations will vastly increase the size and wealth of Trump Incorporated. He really could become a multi-billionaire, in cash, not “just” on a balance sheet, to the great benefit of his family. Third, he holds Senator Ted Cruz, the most likely nominee if Trump does not run in the General Election, in great respect and through his support of “Cruz for President” could insure Republican Party Unity and Electoral Success.
Will he be “The Last Puritan” and the next Cincinnatus, President of the United States, or just become the most powerful man in the World?