Many who declare themselves to be Out-Of-The-Box people completely freak if they get within inches of the edge, never mind crawling anywhere outside. In July 2014, I began analyzing the 2016 U.S. election, most notably the rule-breaking candidacy of Donald Trump.
Since the 1970s – and personally living under governments with such opposing political ideologies as Canada and the United States, and born a British Subject to-boot! – I have heard so many voters wishing their country would be run more like a business. You know, rather than the yawning, traditional bureaucracy, rabid partisan politics, screaming nepotism, and above-the-law cronyism.
However, the minute an out-of-the-box candidate emerges, everything hits the fan!
So much for regular voters misjudging their status-quo and comfort-zone tendencies. We're talking fear of change on steroids for the vocal Trump-haters out there!
My fabulous daughter-in-law, Catherine, recently gave me a wonderful book, Team of Rivals, a fascinating work by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Caty knows I am a voracious reader, and thought I'd enjoy it. She was so right.
Kearns Goodwin's 800+ page book is a modern-day epic of centuries past. I haven't even read it all yet. It's easily the most challengingly intellectual read I've tackled in a long time, and uncovers the deepest and most intricate details of the Civil War era, and colorful characters therein. The depth of Abraham Lincoln's thoughts and principles are unimaginable, and the book describes his outrageously contrarian management model of appointing key rivals – and outright political enemies – to his inner working circle of leadership. Lincoln's cabinet was way out-of-box by yesterday's standards.
And sadly, by today's, I fear.
However, I do believe the stars are uniquely aligned at present. I do not know why, it is just a feeling. Aligned in a perfect way for a Team of Rivals to be possible in the United States – and other western countries whose populace might desire fundamental change from the past administration or two. Westernized countries like Canada, Britain, Australia and others are candidates for the Team of Rivals approach, as are sports teams, companies, and almost any activity where more than one person makes the rules!
An indepth analysis of Team of Rivals President Model would describe the team as the ultimate, common sense Shadow Government – yet it operates in the sunlight of open-book, full disclosure activities. All towards a common goal. A team effort.
In this election cycle, "the stars aligning" to me means:
1. A clear cut leader exists who is electable, and brand-proven (Trump)
2. A common cause mission is within reach (winning the White House back)
3. A state of chaos or controversy exists within the opposition (can you say, Hillary?)
4. A Perfect Storm of Change seems inevitable (polling suggests eight years of
Hope and Change would today be completely changed with the right nudge)
STEP ONE – Declare the 2016 Team Of Rivals
A Candidate is declared Team Leader and President of the United States In-Waiting. A clear cut pact – and the primary mission of the Team of Rivals – is to defeat any Democratic Candidate in the 2016 election. This goal is embraced by the entire team and implemented. The importance of the President position is that it provides a clear "buck stops here" role, yet with a mandate – as well as the ultimate authority and responsibility for all decisions.
The Team of Rivals model is collaborative, yet authoritarian. After advice, the President makes his or her OWN decision of how to proceed, then moves forward via existing governing channels, and as mandated by the Constitution and rule of law. A sitting president must always remain independent to make decisions, with the authority to proceed, and ultimate responsibility.
The practical and fiscally responsible part of this Team of Rivals model, is that nothing changes in terms of the current political structure or rule of law within the United States. The Team advises the President, who assertively moves forward to Congress, or the Senate, or the Judiciary, for policy implementation or the proffering of proposals. The President, with the team fighting by his or her side, actively engages any opposition along the way, always in pursuit of "Targeted Results".
A Targeted Result, for example, could be eliminating the National Debt. Not reducing the debt – actually paying it down to zero. But that Libertarian conversation is for another day. Contrary to some perceptions, Libertarians are not obliged to exclude socio-economic programs, or health and welfare safety nets from federal responsibility. Other Targeted Results could even include zero-deductible, comprehensive healthcare for all citizens. There are barrels and barrels full of money in any westernized country. Expenditures should be up to the people, and simply delivered by elected officials. It is a formula that President Ronald Reagan would have surely embraced.
In the brutal public arena of 2016, Donald Trump is easily the most recognizable and electable brand in the entire election, and would be a smart choice for Leader. Additional Republicans – or Democrats, Independents, and other Thirds for that matter – are selected to form the President's Team of Rivals Advisory Board. I envision the team being limited to seven members, in addition to the President.
First blush? Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, or others could be considered. A team should continue to be revamped or renewed every cycle, and should always include foes on both sides of the aisle. In the hypothetical plan here, I believe Trump to be the businessman he boasts, and would be a perfect initial candidate. As a successful CEO, he has a a track record of effectively empowering his teams by creating leadership positions targeting specific areas. In charge of aggressive reform of government bureaucracy – from the ground up in most areas – he would turn loose his surrogates for positive streamlining and change.
For example, Ben Carson might be put in charge of health care reform; Ted Cruz, immigration; Carly Fiorina, business development; Allen West, defeating ISIS – or myriad possibilities for other team members and roles. In any case, roles are created for effectiveness and targeting quantifiable results – rather than symbolism, nepotism, or quid-pro-quo tap dances.
STEP TWO – Define Mission and POA (Plan of Action)
Many a company, and many a country for that matter, have folded due to lack of a defined mission, or not having a clear plan of action. Also, a team that cannot adjust immediately to adversity – such as halftime adjustments in the NFL – or cannot quickly pivot in order to excel or accommodate, is surely doomed in this blur-paced world. With the Team of Rivals, the mission is clear from day-one. Win the White House back from the Democrat Party, and go from there.
A smart POA, such as establishing super-majority, mutually friendly alliances across all party lines, will easily follow this positive brand and energy for change. The story will have legs. People will climb aboard the bandwagon, and catch the wave of reform, for sure. Love cliches.
Either way, this would be a nice change from continuing to dwell in the damp and negative cellar of today's partisan, underachieving, stuck-in-the-mud politics.
STEP THREE – Pool Resources
Goodness, working together and cheerfully pooling resources. How quaint. Why is it impossible for so many powerful entities and powerful people to be unable or unwilling to band together more often? Especially in the United States. In this case, why couldn't the RNC establish a Presidential Election Fund, donate to the Trump campaign directly, or implement whichever funding mechanism is most effective and in compliance of election law? Then ALL Republican candidates go home to rally their own constituents and donors, energetically endorsing the chosen Republican Candidate, and committing ongoing 2016 General Election funding and human resources towards winning back the White House for Republicans. As a team against only one opponent. Powerful stuff.
STEP FOUR - Commit to operate government with 80/20, Big-Five approach
I believe that most of us agree on most things in life. 80%, just say. Things like our kids, our seniors, our health, our safety, and other common areas of life and love, we seem to agree. That means we disagree on 20% of stuff – in this case, things like abortion, marriage rights, gun laws, and other controversial (usually socio-political) issues.
In the case of the Republican Big-Five categories of focus for 2016 and beyond, I envision National Defense being one, Local Law Enforcement being another. Illegal Immigration another, for sure. Infrastructure, Healthcare Improvement, Defeating ISIS, are all possible Big-Five goals of which a federal government might establish.
Not to sound like a patriotic broken record here, but it's up to the Team, based on the desire of the American public, and using good old-fashioned wisdom and common sense.
Lest we make completely logical sense in our collective pursuits forward in life?
Very importantly, the other 20% of categories are not, repeat not unimportant or ignored. Rather, they are delegated to the states or municipalities, where they belong. Even some Big-Five areas of focus can eventually be de-funded and relegated to the states or local governments. A core founding principal to this country was enabling and encouraging competition between the states, competing for respect and patronage. The ordinary citizen should be able to freely move to another state, or another town for that matter, in pursuit of the protected American Dream.
So many financially wasteful things can become state issues, tabled issues, or otherwise do not require federal time or resources. These 20-percenter issues or categories can vary from year to year, and are addressed at the pleasure of the applicable constituents. Simple.
STEP FIVE – Launch Team Leader against Democrat Presidential Candidate
Speaks for itself. With unity of timing and message, open the floodgates of marketing and campaigning as a team. Of all seven steps, this is the noisiest. The exponential power of multiple rival groups banding together and launching into the marketplace with a unified message, ready to soundly defeat a single foe, is a stout concept indeed. So very powerful, especially in view of this nanu-second sound-byte Twitter age.
STEP SIX – Continue pragmatism, humility, and strong leadership
Hand-in-hand, with the President at the helm, the Team of Rivals continues its mission in a pragmatic fashion, making adjustments and improvements as it moves through its four-year term. Always staying humble and in touch with the average citizen, the team staunchly remains committed to Constitutional leadership on a daily basis.
STEP SEVEN – Respect the American people by fulfilling checklist of campaign promises
To me, this is as crucial as any step. The gaping hole in the public's faith in government today (and bloating corporate interests for that matter) has to have evolved from more than one phenomenon. Indeed, we have all witnessed the fall-to-ruins of so many seemingly untouchable institutions and prominent people in recent years, not to mention the blatant corruption and incompetence of public and private leaders on a daily basis.
The endless and myriad scam and fiduciary mismanagement stories written within the history pages of the past few decades have been all-consuming to wonky and analytical types like me. I believe all western governments have failed their constituents for years – the private citizen they were elected to serve and protect – to the level of embarrassment. I really do. I guess I just can't believe how much money exists, but somehow we can't pay for the most needed and noble of services. Astonishing to me.
The public cynicism in this country, and other civilized places where civil unrest is allowed and even encouraged, is not an anomaly. It seems to represent the vast majority of the younger generation today – the Gen Ms and soon to arrive Zs. And let's not ignore the older Gen Ys and Xs. It is imperative for the new President and the Team of Rivals to cross generational and ideological lines and to continue planning for the future – to continue pursuing the team goals, as well as endeavoring to set the table for future generations. It is so important to maintain an honorable approach to public service and governance, to restore faith in public institutions, public figures, the United States Constitution, and the oft-ignored (and very clear) rule-of-law of the land.
Note: Many of my friends and readers (especially my Canadian family and friends) ask me how a Libertarian society is possible, where the individual citizen keeps most of the tax money and makes his or her own choices in daily life. Isn't it Anarchistic, or too free to operate safely and functionally? Oftentimes, a feisty conversation follows. Fun stuff. Matter of fact, there has been enough banter to warrant a followup FAQ about the Libertarian platform, and about my personal interpretation and practical application for today. That might be published as another GregsList sooner rather than later.
But, take it or leave it, my suggestion is always to first educate oneself to the platforms and nuances of any political party, any politician, or any other retail purchase. To me, it is imperative to know the difference between the often-overflowing choices for leadership, or for other products, that exist at most levels of a market-based, competition-driven world. It is imperative to know a Libertarian from a Liberal, a Conservative from a Populist, a This from a That, and decide what fits your wishes most closely.
And even more importantly, choose which elected leader you trust the most to actually deliver your priceless wishes. The best platform can be destroyed by a poor choice of leader, and certainly vice versa.
Your private wishes are represented by the only vote that counts in a republic. That single vote of yours, of mine, and of ours, really. Very cool.
Just ask anyone who doesn't live in a free country.