June 16, 2015

Donald Trump Announces Presidential Run

I have to confess, I never expected Donald Trump to actually run. He talks a good game, but in the end, for three presidential races in a row all it has been is talk. Like many successful American businessmen, his greatest skill is his ability to communicate. I was completely shocked to see him come down that escalator and announce his intention to run for President of the United States. This changes everything.

Donald Trump is not Mitt Romney. He is far more successful and the core of his business is real estate rather than venture capitalism. Donald Trump has personally overseen the construction of dozens of golf clubs, tropical resorts, office buildings, residential buildings, government buildings, even a few schools, in dozens of countries around the world. The man knows how to gather investors, set up a plan, follow through on the plan, and then make sure everything is completed on time and under budget. That could very well prove to be exactly the skillset we need in the White House. Assuming, of course, he has both the stamina to complete his campaign and the salesmanship to convince 51% of America he is the right man for the job. Neither of these is a sure thing. A Trump project is normally a six-month affair, a year at the most. Anything beyond that he normally sells off long before completion. Donald Trump is not only a great negotiator, he is a great delegator, dumping responsibility on someone else the moment he gets bored. This is not a luxury a President can afford.

Nonetheless, he is a charismatic speaker who knows how to reach people from a wide variety of cultures and economic strata. His business contacts are global and widely diverse. He has more international friends in more countries than I do, and believe me, that's a major accomplishment all by itself. This gives him an instant global network the likes of which no American President in history has ever enjoyed. He really can call up any national leader in the world, invite them over for a round of golf, and then negotiate a new treaty. This is an important aspect of a Trump Presidency that should not be overlooked. A major reason for the success of George W. Bush in the days after 9/11 was his ability to forge new relationships with world leaders who prior to 9/11 had little or no interest in anyone or anything related to the United States. Ronald Reagan was even better at forging new relationships with world leaders. Donald Trump would come into office with all of those relationships already in place. Despite the insistent cries for isolationism that have always been with us and always will be with us, the United States of America cannot survive completely on its own. Our modern world is completely interlinked and interdependent. Like it or not, we need the rest of the world just as badly as they need us.

At this point in time, my money is still on Marco Rubio as the candidate with the right ideas. However, I threw in with Rubio on the assumption that Trump was once again blowing hot air and had no real intention of entering the race. Now that he has, I'm going to be paying close attention to how Rubio responds to Donald Trump as well as how Donald Trump presents himself. Donald Trump is not the kind of man who feels a need to respond to the other candidates. He assumes, quite rightly, that it is their job to respond to him. For all his flash and arrogance, Donald Trump is not truly a pathological narcissist. He honestly does have many of the right ideas, the right skills, and the right connections to be one of the most powerful and effective American Presidents in the history of our nation. In many ways, he really is the best man for the job.

I only have one problem accepting Donald Trump as a serious candidate: I cannot imagine what he stands to gain by running for President. He says he wants to restore national pride and international strength. Well, down through history all of the most destructive and dangerous tyrants have all said exactly the same thing. They have all made this claim because the most evil leaders throughout history have all had one thing in common: they needed affirmation of their own worth. Donald Trump knows his own worth. He does not need to prove anything to anyone. So, if it is neither greed nor raw narcissism that is driving him, what could it be? Patriotism? I don't know. That is what he claims, but Donald Trump is a very successful salesman. The key to becoming a successful salesman is being able to read people well enough to figure out what they need and then promising it to them, regardless of whether or not you can actually deliver on that promise.

My interest is piqued. Donald Trump's announcement changes everything. This has suddenly gone from a huge field of so-so candidates lacking a shining gem to a field of so-so candidates orbiting around a blazing sun. But only time will tell if it is a healing sun or a destroying sun. I am curious to see what comes next.

And by the way, Donald, if you do win and happen to need a new Ambassador to Japan, I know the people and the culture and have many connections at all levels of Japanese society. I also happen to be available...