Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Donald Phenomenon -- Part II

The following piece was written by Coach is Right staff writer Ed Wood in August of 2015.  Not only is it instructive to follow Ed’s analysis of the Trump persona while the Republican nomination was still being hotly contested, it’s also interesting to see how many politicians and political pundits have been “taken to school” in the interim by the brash, determined, workaholic Trump. See Part I

By Ed Wood, staff writer

Donald Trump’s burst upon the political scene has caused the most excitement in Washington since stripper Fannie Foxe, the girlfriend of House Ways and Committee Chairman, Wilbur Mills (D-AR), jumped from his limo into the Potomac River tidal basin at 2 AM to escape incarceration by the Capitol Police. 

But in an effort to better understand presidential candidate Trump, I turned to his autobiography, TRUMP - The Art of the Deal. 

In Part I of The Donald Phenomenon, we learned that “The Donald” is brash, dedicated, determined, and isn’t easily deterred from seeking his objectives. Hillary and friends are saying that Donald’s current actions are not “presidential.”  But one must then wonder by whose presidential yardstick he is being measured. Cigar, anyone?

Reading further, other of his personal characteristics came to light as he sought to establish himself as a major participant in the downtown New York building construction scene.

Trump wasn’t born in Manhattan.  He grew up in the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn, where his father Fred was a builder of low-cost rental housing.  But that was not for Donald.  He wanted the big-time --- to build the structures that would truly reach to the sky, revolutionize the appearance of downtown Manhattan, and leave a mark for all to see. 

To educate himself on the finer aspects of big-city finance, he obtained a degree from the prestigious Wharton School of business.  There he learned that academics are often overrated and that “sheer persistence is often the difference between success and failure.”  He says, “I have learned much more from conducting my own surveys than I could ever have learned from the greatest of consulting firms.”  We can see this attitude in his disdain of political strategists and media study groups.  He just does his thing and lets the chip fall where they may.

Donald claims to not be a politician.  But in order to do business in the city of New York, Donald soon learned that politics and politicians were involved at every turn.  Seems like everything he wanted to do required Trump procure an exception to some sort of government rule or regulation. And of course, each of these came at a price. 

“My father and I contributed monthly to NY Mayor Abraham Beame and to other politicians.  The simple fact is that contributing money to politicians is a very standard and accepted way of life for a New York City developer.” 

Obviously, this was a lesson learned early in life and undoubtedly the reason Donald is now accused of having contributed to both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives and even the Clinton Foundation.  Since politicians are always on the receiving end, those not in politics must always be on the giving end. 

Other lessons learned along the way: 

1:  “Politicians don’t care too much what things cost.  It’s not their money.” 

2.  “If you are going to make a deal, you have to go to the top.  Everyone underneath the top guy is just an employee.  An employee isn’t going to fight for your deal.  He’s fighting for a salary increase, or his Christmas bonus.”

3.  “I’m a businessman, and I learned from experience that good publicity is preferable to bad, but bad publicity is sometimes better than no publicity at all.  Controversy, in short, sells!”

4.  “In the end, we won by wearing everyone else down.  We never gave up, and the opposition slowly began to melt away.”

As I conclude Donald’s story about himself, it is interesting how closely his personality and life experiences parallel that of the late Steve Jobs of Apple Computer fame, as noted in Walter Isaacson’s biography -- “Steve Jobs.” 

Both were brash, egotistical, innovative, work-driven, anti-social and overbearing, but vitally concerned with how their products would be perceived in the marketplace of public opinion --- Apple’s rounded i-phone and i-pad corners and the Trump Tower’s bronze front and Italian marbled atrium.  Both men were financially successful beyond their wildest dreams, although neither had that as their objective.   And, oh yes, both were/are brilliant and succeeded where others before them had failed.

Considering that which lies ahead of whoever is elected to succeed President Obama, all the above attributes will be needed, plus a miracle or two.

Ed Wood, the author of this and many other fine pieces for the Coach is Right website,  passed away last year after leading a long and full life. All who knew him are richer for the privilege. The Coach's Team will re-post portions of Ed's work throughout the course of the Election year.

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