I have been writing for over forty years, but have never written a political piece. Business writing and hockey dad stuff are for the most part non-controversial genres. This year is different. My heart feels compelled – deeply and passionately compelled – to shout out the alarming concern I have for my country, and the direction the government has been taking us for the past few decades. This is an election cycle where I personally believe the apple cart of politics-as-usual will be upset to a level never conceived by the political correctness crowd, or the staunch proponents of today's status quo. I believe the apple cart rolling out the presidential election of 2016 will not only be upset – it will be tossed high in the air like a spinning political pizza.
Thanks to a candidate named Donald Trump.
1. He connects directly with the American voter
Donald Trump remembers Reagan Democrats. He also knows the founders of this particular country devised a unique form of government which allows the people, as individual voters, to "hire and fire" good or bad politicians every four years. No matter what the mainstream news media says, no matter what any academic or expert says, no matter what any shrill opponent says, Trump knows that the individual voter in America still has the power to control the political direction of the country. Kind of like cutting out the middle-man and shopping at a warehouse club.
2. He has single-issue power
Jobs. Illegal immigration. National debt. Defeating ISIS. Trump is so outspoken, and so confident in his business approach to these and other challenges (right or wrong) that he has the rare ability to earn votes on single issues. For example, he has said, "I will be the best jobs president God ever created." Given his business acumen, this boast doesn't appear to be a stretch, or just superficial political posturing. Regardless of party affiliation, past tendencies, or personal feelings towards him, many voters will simply say, "...and for that reason alone I will vote for Trump." Single issue.
3. He is a uniter
To listen to the most vocal Trump opponents -- including for the most part, the mainstream news media -- one might think Donald Trump is perhaps the most divisive candidate in history. To believe his critics and opponents, one might also think he has absolutely no chance of winning the Republican nomination, much less the Presidency. The outlandishly contrarian position here is Mr. Trump is a uniter. When the votes are counted on November 3rd 2016, it is my personal belief the numbers will indicate Donald Trump actually united us as Americans. The tally will confirm he united the Silent Majority; united the average workers of the country, including LEGAL immigrants; united voters who are fed up with politics as usual; united people who have had enough of political correctness; united the forgotten minorities who believe in capitalism and the American Dream; united women who believe Hillary Clinton and today's feminist movement do not represent their views; united the military and its mission; and yes, united all of us who are simply frustrated with being silenced, minimized, disenfranchised, and shouted down during the last eight years.
4. His over-achieving family
Presidential families have been, and will be, forever scrutinized. Such is the nature of being in the public eye, and the gossipy nature of both many humans and today's media. Anyone who has followed Trump over the years knows that he has always advocated a life of hard work and clean living to his family, and anyone else who will listen. He rails against alcohol, tobacco, and the use of drugs -- the usual suspects of indulgence and under-achievement. In addition to health benefits, Trump believes if you are not shackled with time and energy-consuming bad habits, your time and energy can be focused upon more positive pursuits, such as work, family, hobbies or sports. Review the bios of his offspring, and even his critics and nepotism finger-pointers can agree the Trump family is indeed a hard working, highly successful family.
5. He's thrives on criticism
Criticism allows Trump to engage his detractors publicly, which he loves the challenge of doing. In this Twitter Age, criticism (deserved or not) can go around the world instantly -- you know, that "viral" thing. Trump, the consummate marketer, embraces the old adage that "any press is good press." To stay in the news daily deprives competitors of the same airtime, a definitive strategy where opponents of both parties find it difficult to even be acknowledged, much less be heard. As importantly, with the evolution of social media and explosion of online conversations, this is a wholly unique era where the ordinary American can speak one's mind publicly, free of censorship. There is the opportunity for real-time rebuttal to most news stories today, which is a secret weapon of the Donald Trumps, and other brand guys of the world. I have followed the online conversations from the beginning, and am still amazed at the support Donald Trump receives, especially with rebuttals to negative stories.
6. He is the only Republican who can take millions of votes from Hillary
As with Reagan Democrats, come election day, the rubber meets the road inside the American voting booth, where the secret ballot is the true voice of every American. If I were managing the Hillary Clinton campaign, I would not only be concerned about a Donald Trump presidential ticket -- I would be petrified. One of the largest obstacles the average Republican has faced in recent years is the wildly successful demonization of their brand and beliefs by Democrats. Indeed, anyone who honestly believes the average Republican is filled with hate and bigotry, has simply embraced this Democrat marketing message. Unfortunately for Democratic strategists this time around, a savvy marketer like Trump will not be defeated by simple, broad-brush vitriol.
7. He is a New York businessman
Whether or not you love New York, it is the world's business capital, and where Donald Trump cut his entrepreneurial teeth - not inside the Washington beltway. New York has more influence than the Pope, and more money than God. (That is a joke, folks). In the aftermath of September 11th, much of the civilized world became New Yorkers for a time. Whether you are a Trump lover or hater, he is New York and all it represents. There should be a photo of Donald Trump in the encyclopedia under the term, "Epitomizes New York; A true New Yorker; Spokesman and poster child for New York capitalism." If any voter prefers a Washington outsider in this election cycle, where more appropriate a place to spawn a president who promises to run the country like a business.
8. He loves America and lives the American Dream
My favorite president was Ronald Reagan. I loved his patriotism. I loved his passion for America. I loved his optimism. Say what you will about the Reagan years, pro or con, it is clear that he passionately loved this country. Reagan reignited patriotism in the early 80s. That is, he led the bandwagon of patriotism and civic pride for an America that was reeling with self-doubt from the cynical 60s, and burnout from the yawning, depressing Carter years. With Donald Trump, some parallels to Reagan's brand are remarkable, especially his direct appeal and connection to the average voter. Love him, hate him, laugh at his hair, scream at his loud mouth, there is one thing that is crystal clear: Donald Trump loves America. He is a New York capitalist - not a euro-internationalist - and not the least bit ashamed of it. Trump understands the 1776 Great American Experiment of individual freedom and capitalism can be swallowed up by socialistic internationalism and New Age revisionism in a heartbeat.
9. The Democrats now have a track record
Regardless of how the current administration's record is spun by political operatives and media talking heads from the right or left, what is now tangible is eight years of performance by a Democratic President. The same applies to the Hillary Clinton years as a Democratic Secretary of State. Recalling Barack Obama as a campaigner in 2007, he had the benefit of no actual track record. Just like Governor George W. Bush in the late nineties. It is much easier to be a new, untested candidate, than one who has an eight year record to tout -- or defend. One luxury Hillary Clinton may NOT have in this political cycle is a free pass from the media, should she proffer speculative, utopian plans, such as then candidate Obama touting he would quickly stabilize the Middle East and North Korea, and have a transparent administration.
10. He is ratings gold
Donald Trump gets ratings. He enjoys enormous name and brand recognition worldwide. Ratings mean attention, and attention means money. No matter how provocative, he is an interesting fellow, which of course is the bread-and-butter of media ratings. The very definition of "provocative" means one provokes. Whether or not anyone saw this coming, Mr. Trump's candidacy, coupled with his controversial words and bombastic personal style, has provoked a spirited national conversation which, in the end, means ratings. If it comes down to a televised presidential debate, is there anyone who would not tune in to watch Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump? I'm thinking ratings on steroids.
© Copyright 2015 by Greg Meakin
Greg Meakin is a Seattle businessman and freelance writer. Email him at email@example.com or visit his website at www.gregmeakin.com