Back in June 2011 I wrote a column titled, “Why Business Leaders Scare People.” This was triggered by then-private citizen Donald Trump considering a run for the 2012 presidential election, which eventually went to Mitt Romney as the Republican candidate who failed to take down President Obama. Prior to this, we hadn’t a true businessman run for president, except for possibly Herbert Hoover who was a geologist and understood mining. The intent of my column back then was to consider whether the American people would support such a business person. In reading the article nine years later, I consider it rather prophetic.
I wrote, “When it looked like Donald Trump was going to throw his hat into the presidential ring not long ago, it electrified everyone including his supporters, opponents, and the Main Stream Media. His blunt talk was refreshing to his supporters and scared the hell out of everyone else. The Main Stream Media went right to work undermining his bid as they started to believe he could take down the president (Obama). He was ridiculed for everything from his hair, to his clothes, to his talk. The fact remains though, Trump scared them to death. Now I am not here to defend Donald Trump or explain his exit from the political stage. I’m not even a fan of his popular television show, ‘The Celebrity Apprentice.’ It is his image as a successful businessman who wanted to correct the ills of the country, and the reaction that ensued, which intrigues me. This is not so much about Trump as it is about any business leader who would want to be taken seriously on the political stage.”
I went on to describe the three traits making a business leader successful:
- “Is entrepreneurial in spirit, a visionary who knows how to recognize opportunity and capitalize on it and in the process is willing to assume risk. He/she is a gambler who knows how to calculate the odds.
- Knows how to get things done. More than possessing academic knowledge, such a person usually possesses an unusual amount of practical ‘street smarts.’
- Knows how to make hard decisions. A true business leader understands he is in the business of solving problems, not running from them. Yes, he will delegate some decisions and ask for advice from others, but he also understands the buck stops with him and will go to great lengths to see the business not only survives but prospers as well. Hopefully, he understands the best business deal is when all parties involved prosper.
It’s this last element which scares the public. Whereas others agonize over making a decision, the business leader knows how to define and weigh pros and cons, calculate the best solution to benefit the enterprise, and make a decision. It is called ‘business’ and some people are simply jealous of those equipped with the faculties to take rather large and complex issues and make some rather commonsense decisions. It is not the fear of a ruthless dictator which scares people; rather, it is the envy of someone who knows how to consistently make a logical decision, not an emotional one which most people tend to embrace. Further, when a decision is made, business leaders do not necessarily sugar coat their rationale which tends to make them appear abrasive to others, thereby creating fodder for the Main Stream Media.”
So far, I was batting 1.000 in terms of describing the future president. It was his ability to tackle major decisions with commonsense solutions which disturbed the media and his political opponents. Towards the end of the article, I pondered how the country would react to a President Trump.
“One last element that disturbs some people is that business leaders tend to be capitalists, not socialists. For obvious reasons, this scares the left, including the Main Stream Media. Make no mistake, this next election is about two extremes: capitalism versus socialism. Whereas the former defends the concept of the free enterprise system and smaller government, the latter is the antithesis.”
Plain and simple, people find successful business-types as either a God-send or very abrasive. To President Trump’s supporters, he was a breath of fresh air who delivered on his promises and made considerable achievements even in the face of a resistant Congress. To his opponents, President Trump is perceived as a genuine threat to the Washington “Swamp,” which worked overtime to fight him. To illustrate, consider what President Trump faced during his first administration:
- The rise of “Fake News.”
- The rise of the “resistance” movement, both in the Congress and the streets.
- The Mueller Probe which found nothing.
- The failed impeachment of the president.
- The “stolen” election of 2020.
This explains why Trump’s successes frightens the Swamp. What takes them years to do, President Trump can do it at Warp speed, and at less expense, thereby posing a threat to their existence.
This brings up an important point, is the nation’s capitol a good venue for business people to flourish in a presidential capacity? Unfortunately, the answer seems to be, No. As we have witnessed with President Trump, he is perceived as an uninvited outsider who challenges the authority of the status quo. As much as this may be needed, such a person must be willing to suffer the slings and arrows of a rather determined opponent. The only way such a person wins is if he/she can dominate the Congress and the press. Unfortunately, it usually works the other way around.
After re-reading my 2011 article, all I can say is, Bryce was more than right, he was spot-on!
Keep the Faith!
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