By DENNIS GRUBAUGH
A good president, like a good coach, minimizes the use of “I” and “me” and focuses on the greater good.
He or she will say, “The world has problems. Here’s what we need to do to fix them.”
He or she won’t say, “The world is full of stupid people. I would get rid of them.”
Earlier this summer, I toyed with a column idea about the rise of Donald Trump but shucked the idea, thinking The Donald would quickly be relegated to old news.
Truth is, I need new tea leaves. Or, at the very least, I needed to wait longer.
Trump’s ability to stay atop polls is uncanny, and were it not for his celebrity status he would have been dismissed as a vastly rich political neophyte long ago. Where I and most political observers fell short was failing to see how good he is at tapping into a nervous electorate. There is an element of this country that believes it needs a strong, forceful businessman at the top in order to bring the union back from chaos. They want someone who is not afraid to state an opinion, eschews political correctness, serves as his own man. A Harry Truman type for the 2010s.
There’s a listless group in America that simply wants to change the status quo, improve their stead and pin their hopes on someone like them.
I’m sorry to say, they need to look elsewhere. Trump is not that guy. When it comes to the common man, he’s nowhere close.
In the weeks ahead, as his past unfolds, The Real Donald will become better known. When Air America finally stops on the tarmac of 2016’s presidential campaign, it will offload more Trump baggage than the storage hold of an Airbus A380-800.
Trump came from a family of privilege and he didn’t stray far. He’s good at empire building to be sure, amassing a $10 billion fortune, but along the way he went through four business bankruptcies and three wives. He’s not afraid to use America’s own financial laws to his advantage, and he’s proud to say that.
And now he wants to lead the United States … of Trump.
A guy who puts his name and ego on everything he touches is not my vision of a world leader, and the person next elected as president is going to have to have the deftest of touches to address the issues facing the globe.
Immigration is part of it — the most thought-provoking issue of the race. But it’s not as simple as sending undocumented aliens home — not when vast regions of our country depend on their talents and contributions (including financial).
And yet, on this, his signature issue, Trump’s fixes have been as amazingly simplistic as, “I’ll do this” or “I’ll do that.” He offers precious few specifics and a woeful lack of “we” in his sound bites — and a near-disgusting avulsion to Constitutional adherence.
Trump is right about one thing: America does need to regain lost stature, even in the eyes of its own people. But he is not the one to provide it, domestically or internationally. With him at the helm, I think we’d be bargaining not from a position of strength, but a position of fear … of what he’ll say or do next.
Dennis Grubaugh is editor and partner of the Illinois Business Journal. He can be reached at [email protected] or (618) 977-6865.
By DENNIS GRUBAUGH