Tag Archives: Bob MacDonald

Trump Wants To Lose!



There is no doubt that Trump is going to lose the election and lose badly. Trump’s campaign is in disarray and his staff has had more turnover than a pancake restaurant. As a result, Trump may suffer the worst Republican electoral defeat since Barry Goldwater was decimated by Lyndon Johnson in the 1964 election. This means that Hilary Clinton, for all her faults, failures, fabrications and feigned populism, will become the next president of the United States; and the status quo will win again. The person who seems least concerned about this outcome of the election is Donald Trump, because he clearly does not want to win the presidency. In Trump’s mind, come what may in the election, he is already the big winner. The only way he loses is if he has to serve as president.

When Trump announced his candidacy it was apparent that his action was another masterful marketing ploy, not to actually win the nomination, but rather to generate publicity for the Trump brand. Not a single political pundit took either his campaign or his chances of winning the nomination seriously. Even Trump put his chances of winning the nomination at “less than 10 percent.” But a confluence of circumstances came together to produce the highly unlikely result of a Trump Republican nomination. No one was more surprised by this result than Donald Trump.

Trump’s nomination was really more about media than politics. After all, Trump’s political history is more in sync with the Democrats than the Republicans. From a media perspective, the other 16 Republican candidates were, for the most part, aligned along the narrow channel of base Republican philosophies that made it difficult to discern one candidate’s positions from another. In addition, none of them had the personality or flair to stand up and stand out from the crowd. This was a problem for the media because to drive ratings they needed a story to tell and a controversy to report on. Donald Trump fit the bill perfectly and the media jumped at the opportunity to make him the story.

During the primary elections Trump received, mostly fawning, wall-to-wall free media coverage worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The Trump media coverage was like a tsunami that washed away the 16 other Republican candidates; none of whom had the media charisma to stand toe-to-toe with Trump. (To be fair, in the same search for ratings, the media latched on to Bernie Sanders in a way that allowed him to be competitive with the presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, all the way to the very end of the campaign.)

For Trump Winning is Losing

If you want to be charitable, you could argue that Trump is trailing badly in the campaign because – being a novice to elective politics – he does not know what it takes to win a presidential campaign. It is as if Trump presented the renderings for constructing a grand golf resort and then upon receiving approval to build it, he fails to hire the contractors, sub-contractors and workers who will actually construct the resort. Trump would never do that in his real estate development business, but since he received the nomination, that is exactly the approach he has taken toward winning the presidency.  

When you take into account an electorate that is deeply frustrated and distrustful of the status quo and combine that with the fact that the Democratic nominee is the poster-child of the status quo and that she has the lowest “likeability and trust” ratings in presidential election history, the election should be a cakewalk. But when you look at the way Trump is conducting the campaign, you have to wonder if he really does want to win.

Instead of focusing on the need for change and making the campaign about Clinton and her obvious liabilities, Trump has wasted time on extraneous issues and has overacted to every personal attack. This has allowed the Democrats to hide the weaknesses and the ethical controversies of Clinton’s past; enabling the Democrats to deflect the focus of the campaign away from needed change and on to Trump. This is a losing formula for Trump, but he has only himself and his thin-skinned outsized ego to blame for allowing this to happen.

Why Would Trump Want the Job?

Politicians like Hillary Clinton spend a lifetime chasing the Holy Grail of politics, the presidency. For the ambitious professional politician, every waking moment, thought and action is focused on the goal of becoming president. That attitude is shown in the fact that virtually every person previously elected president had a long history of involvement in government and politics.

Trump is different. Trump has spent his life seeking deals, pining for publicity (chasing women) and making money. For Trump, running for president was not the culmination of a lifelong political pursuit, but an ego trip and an opportunity to further the Trump “brand.” Actually winning the nomination was not part of Trump’s plan and now that he has it, he is doing his best to make sure things go no further.

Besides, why would Trump even want the job? Trump is a 70 year old wealthy white guy who has the freedom to live his life as he wants. What does he have to gain by giving all that up for the life-consuming, high pressure 24/7 stress of being president? Why would he want to give up his freedom to do and say what he wants, for the confinement of the Oval Office? It is one thing for a life-long politician who lives for nothing else to give up everything to be president, but for Trump, while being president may be the ultimate ego trip, he has apparently decided that even that is not enough to give up everything else.        

The truth is that Trump has won all he wants to win. Trump actually wins more by losing. Without the burden, pressures and limitations of being president, Trump will be free to make his deals, leverage his brand, play golf, make even more money and still and have a major influence in public policy. Nothing could be better or more fitting for Trump. And that is why we see Trump acting as if he does not want to win the election, because he doesn’t want to win.

Trump is a Marketing Genius, But Would be a Failure as President



Donald Trump can rightly be criticized for deficiencies in a lot of areas, but everyone agrees that he is a virtuoso marketing genius. There has been no marketing force the likes of Donald Trump on the American scene since P.T. Barnum.  As evidenced by the fact that he is known to carry a picture of P.T. Barnum in his wallet, Trump takes the comparison as a compliment. Indeed, there are haunting parallels between the public lives of Trump and Barnum.

Starting in his early 20’s P.T. Barnum (1810 – 1891) built his career as an entrepreneur, showman, author and Republican politician (after years as a Democrat). Barnum served as a member of the Connecticut legislature and as mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut, he also ran unsuccessfully for Congress. However, P.T. Barnum’s real fame came when he moved to New York and became an unabashed entrepreneur and marketeering showman. He created a new form of entertainment which was in essence a “traveling reality show” (of course named after himself) called “Barnum’s Grand Scientific and Musical Theater.” Barnum primarily sold himself, but he even made money by organizing beauty pageants, flower and dog shows.

P.T. Barnum was considered a master of marketing, due to his innovative and creative ideas promoting himself and his latest venture, even though, at times, he was accused of being deceptive and blatant truth twisting. P.T. had the ability to draw patrons into his shows by giving them a glimpse of something they had never heard or seen before. His response to criticism of hyperbole was to say he simply indulged in the truth, but made it seem more appealing. He defended his exaggerated statements as simply “advertisements” to draw attention to what he was selling.

P.T. Barnum also became an author, with such best-selling books as Struggles and Triumphs and The Art of Money-Getting. What a coincidence that Trump became an author with books such as The Art of the Comeback and The Art of the Deal. Not to forget Trumps ever popular treatise Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life.  

Until the arrival of Donald Trump, America had not seen such a successful self-promoter as P.T. Barnum. But even P.T. Barnum didn’t have the ego to attempt to promote his way into the presidency. He knew what he was and described himself as “I am a showman by profession and all the gilding shall make nothing else of me.” He admitted that his personal aim was “to put money in his own coffers.”  

If P.T. Barnum were alive today, he would most certainly tip his hat to Donald Trump for elevating pure self-promoting marketing (hucksterism) to the very cusp of the presidency.  

Trump has the right idea but the wrong approach

The truth is that politics is all about marketing. The voter needs to “buy” the candidate. The problem for most politicians is that while they may be good at governing (which is what they want to do), most are totally deficient when it comes to marketing. That’s why you see politicians rushing to hire advertising, public relations and marketing companies to market their candidacy. Trump is just the opposite. He is a maven of marketing who can sell almost anything — especially himself — but he has no clue how to effectively govern; at least under the American system of government.

Trump has a proven record as a successful entrepreneur and corporate CEO, but the structure of business empowers the leader to rule by edict and command; and that is exactly Trump’s style. However, our constitution structures the government in such a way as to thwart the rise of a ruler who seeks to govern by edict and command. Unlike business, where power is top-down, the U.S. government is designed to have power move from the bottom-up. Additionally, power is diffused among three co-equal branches of government – legislative, executive and judicial – that is intended to serve as a check-and-balance against the usurpation of power by any individual.

Trump, in fact, has made it the core of his campaign to attack all three branches of the government; portraying them as inefficient, incompetent, intransigent and has individually called out and denigrated the leaders of every branch. Not to mention that Trump has consciously alienated the leaders of his own Republican Party.

The irony is that the criticism Trump levels at the government and the Republican Party is, for the most part, true. And most voters (especially Republicans) agree with the criticisms of “the establishment” thrown out by Trump. By taking this approach Trump demonstrated his remarkable marketing ability to “sell” himself to disenchanted voters as a savior who can make “Make America Great Again.” Trump, like his role model P.T. Barnum, is not afraid to use us exaggeration or twisted truth as part of his marketing strategy. That was evident in Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention when he said, “I am the only one who can fix these problems.”

Given the high odds against Trump securing the Republican nomination when he entered the race, winning the nomination is irrefutable evidence of his marketing genius. The odds against Trump actually being elected president are even higher, but remember the election is about marketing; and it is a mistake to discount the power of marketing.

What if Trump Does Win?

As proficient as Trump is at marketing, he is equally as deficient at governing. Virtually all those who have been elected president spent a lifetime governing. They gained experience at governing by working with, around and through the structure of a government that is intended to resist and reject change. No person has ever been elected president who had not previously worked in government and almost all of them were formerly a state governor, senator or vice-president. The only exception to this rule being those, such as Washington, Grant and Eisenhower, who learned to govern in the military.

Not having the experience of governing would put Trump at a severe disadvantage should he be elected. The Oval Office is not the place to learn to govern. Just as Trump would not put someone in charge of his businesses who has no experience in business, the voters should be concerned about putting someone in charge of the government who has no experience at governing. Especially a government that is structured to thwart the actions of one who believes they are the only one who can make government work.

Trump is an elite marketer, but marketing is not governing and confusing the two is a recipe for failure.

Ted Cruz is the Worst of all That is Wrong With Politicians



For anyone who happened to watch Ted Cruz’s “performance” at the Republican National Convention last week, they were presented with a real-time example of why he is so universally disliked and distrusted by those who have ever worked with him. Ted Cruz is the most deceitful politician to play on the presidential stage since Richard Nixon. Just looking at Cruz and that shit-eating little smirk on his face when he thinks he has made a good point makes him look like a Cheshire cat who has just enjoyed licking his own ass.

Over his political career Cruz has, at one time or another, hung out to dry his Party, colleagues and his country; all for his personal aggrandizement and to further his ambitions.

Trump magnanimously offered Cruz a platform to speak at his RNC party, without any restrictions. (Trump gave Cruz 10 minutes and he took 23.) It was assumed that if Cruz was willing to speak at the Trump party, that he would do the courteous thing and endorse the nominee. Not! Instead, Cruz used the platform and national television exposure to give a smug, churlish and truculent grandstanding speech that was intended to steal the spotlight from Trump, and put the focus on himself. He was successful, but maybe not in the way he envisioned.

In simple terms, Cruz put his own personal ambitions ahead of a unified effort to defeat Hillary Clinton. It’s fine if as a senior Republican leader you can’t countenance Trump as the Party standard-bearer, but at least have some class about it. But “class” is not a word often (if ever) used in a sentence describing Ted Cruz. John Kasich has not been able to bring himself to endorse Trump, but to his credit he expressed his feelings by staying away from the convention; thus preventing his stance from becoming a distraction. But not Cruz, he saw his unwillingness to support Trump as an opportunity to showboat and attract personal attention.

Cruz’s actions were akin to being invited to the wedding of a beautiful young woman, then when invited to make a toast, he talks about how wonderful marriage is as an institution, but then goes on to comment on how ugly the groom is and to suggest that he is the one the bride should have married.

What was Cruz Thinking?

As is his history, Cruz was thinking about himself and no one else. It is likely that Cruz saw the Republican convention as his first campaign rally for his 2020 presidential campaign. Cruz’s first objective is to hope, pray and do what he can to assure that Trump will lose the election. In Cruz’s self-centered way of thinking, a Trump thumping will clear the way for him to pick up the mantel of disaffected conservatives and give him a leg-up on the Republican nomination in 2020.

There probably would have been more acceptance for Cruz’s disavowal of the Trump nomination with his call to “Vote your conscience” had he not taken the stage of the RNC to do so. His credibility with the delegates and conservative voters was already damaged by the fact that he spent the first two-thirds of the Republican primaries cozying up to Trump and refusing to repudiate his qualifications and inappropriate comments. Cruz, like virtually everyone else, thought Trump was going to implode and when that happened he could be the one to inherit the disaffected conservative Trump voters, leading to his own nomination.

The motivation for the Cruz approach at the convention was obviously to position himself for 2020. He seems to think that God has vested him with the power and mission to bring the Republican Party back together again. (Come to think of it, Cruz does look a bit like Humpty Dumpty.) However, success for Cruz in this effort will be problematic because so many people in the Party don’t like or trust him. And he certainly didn’t do anything to enhance his chances by his performance at the convention.

Cruz may have envisioned himself as the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan who, after a bitter nomination fight with Gerald Ford at the 1976 Republican convention, offered up a brilliant, if reluctant, endorsement speech that paved the way for his victory in 1980. The problem is that Cruz is no Reagan. Taking on Trump and his supporters the way Cruz did, reminds me more of Nelson Rockefeller’s speech at the Republican Convention in 1964. Rockefeller not only refused to endorse the nominee, but directly challenged Barry Goldwater and his supporters; and was lustily booed off the platform. Even though Goldwater was soundly defeated in the election and the Republican Party decimated, the fallout from the Rockefeller speech meant that he never had a chance to be president himself.

We’ll have to see how Cruz’s conniving, narcissistic actions at the RNC play out over the next four years, but one thing is certain, he did not make any new friends among the delegates and Party leaders. But in Cruz’s mind that may be okay, because he didn’t have any friends anyway.