When Donald Trump first announced for President I simply rolled my eyes.
After the first debate, I explained his rising poll numbers in terms of the 1980s movie “Network” that popularized the phrase “I am madder than hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” – as a reflection of the angst and anger of the 63 percent of Americans who believe the country is on the wrong track.
But during his August 16th appearances on Meet the Press and ABC’s This Week, I found my head nodding “yes”.
To my chagrin, I realized Mr. Trump was doing exactly what I do at the very beginning of client project. He was stating the business problem the project was expected solve by setting an objective – “making America great, again”.
As I went about my activities this week, what I heard — or overheard — is that he was getting unanimous “buy-in” to his basic premise.
“We Are at Risk of Becoming a Third World Country.”
There was a buzz at a couple of public policy forums I attended; in the checkout line at the grocery store – even the gym. Heads were nodding in agreement whether people were politically to right or left of Trump.
- “We are a debtor nation on the verge of becoming Greece on steroids.
- We send our soldiers and sailors to protect ships carrying oil we don’t need, destined for allies who won’t help us.
- And, then, we don’t take care of our veterans.
- Our politicians negotiate trade deals that hurt – not help – American workers.
- Our immigration system is broken.
- Illegal immigration hurts American workers, American tax payers and legal immigrants.
- Our infrastructure – roads, bridges, airports, dams, energy generators — is technically obsolete and physically crumbling.
- We spend more per student on education then any country on earth, but our kids score 25th in achievement – behind both our allies and our adversaries.”
Donald Trump Thinks like the CEO of a Major Corporation.
He is articulating the objective (goal) and then listing the major obstacles that must be overcome to reach it.
But, like a CEO, Trump is not good at the details. The National Debt is not $1.8 Trillion dollars moving toward $2.2. Trillion dollars – it is actually $18 Trillion moving steadily toward $22 Trillion in about 5 years unless something changes dramatically.
Like most CEOs I’ve worked with, he has a healthy ego. He does not always play well with others when they don’t agree with him. He shares that trait with most politicians I know.
Donald Trump Will Not Be the 45th President of the United States
He will, however, play a valuable role in GOP nomination process – and, odd as it may sound – in the Democratic nomination process as well.
Articulating a problem statement that most Americans agree with begs the question – what are we going to do about it? Who has a workable plan to overcome that specific obstacle to American greatness?
For example, Donald Trump’s immigration policy is preposterous on its face. We are not going to deport 11 or 12 or 13 million illegal immigrants and their children – it’s not feasible and it’s not the American way.
But by articulating an outrageous position, he has thrown down the gauntlet to his fellow candidates in both parties to answer the question.
What Are You Going To Do About It?
Jeb Bush can no longer just say, I’ll pass immigration reform in my first year in office. What exactly does immigration reform mean in a third Bush Presidency? His father and brother both tried and both failed to persuade Congress to enact their reform plans.
Based on the Democratic record of inaction on immigration reform when they had absolute control of the legislative and executive branches, Hillary Clinton and other Democratic candidates must be held to the same standard.
Voters need to ask: exactly is your immigration reform plan? Candidates will have to respond specifically to what immigration advocates have labeled as “unfulfillable promises of immigration reform and citizenship“.
To put this bluntly, America needs specific answers to serious questions which target the specific claims of every candidate.
Questions must provide the opportunity for focus:
- WHAT is your plan, anyway?
- What are the obstacles to executing the plan and how much will it cost?
- How will it discourage future illegal immigration?
- How will the new system benefit the American worker and the American economy?
It is just possible that Donald Trump’s bombast will force the other 2016 candidates to move beyond platitudes and to produce real plans to solve real national problems. American voters need specifics that they can understand and support – building a consensus that Congress cannot ignore.
That would be the first real step to an American renaissance.