Though I use Donald Trump as an example, this is not meant to be a political article. Rather, it’s about two important aspects of human nature.
Many establishment Republicans dislike Trump because they believe he’s more of a liberal than a conservative. But, in truth, he’s neither. He’s really a classic example of a hard-nosed businessman who’s not hung up on politics or ideology.
Like most big-business types, he’s more than willing to humor politicians of any stripe for the sake of making a deal, because he knows the system is not only B.S., but corrupt to the core. I’ve known many wealthy businessmen who are pretty much the same as Trump in this respect. They view politics as something of a giant game, and are more than happy to use it to their benefit.
If it helps to donate to Hillary Clinton, donate to Hillary Clinton. If it helps to donate to George Bush, donate to George Bush. As Trumps says, the system is corrupt and they’re all for sale, so why not play the game and use amoral politicians to help you accomplish your ends?
That said, listening to several CNN commentators this week, I was struck by how dramatically they’ve changed their tone toward Trump. As I watched Fox-conservative-turned-CNN-liberal Alisyn Camerota and Chris Cuomo discussing Tuesday’s GOP debate, I found it interesting that both of them talked about Trump without employing the usual snarky and dismissive remarks.
In fact, since Trump’s poll numbers rose as a result of his remarks about temporarily banning Muslims from the United States, many other hardline anti-Trump pundits have softened their rhetoric about him. Beltway insider Chris Wallace was probably the first big-name media personality to succumb to Trump’s unorthodox charm. In both of the interviews I watched him do with Trump, Wallace was clearly enamored with him and smiled or laughed out loud at almost everything he said.
So what the heck is going on here? Why are the Trump haters losing so badly?
The most important thing is that Trump has a delightful habit of saying whatever is on his mind. Many people find some of his remarks to be rude, nasty, and outrageous, but even if they would never admit it, they also sense that he’s authentic.
What does being authentic do for him? Everything! It places him in a very small minority in the fake world of politics and motivates would-be Trump haters to support him instead. Authenticity is in such short supply in politics that people — especially clueless establishment Republicans — are completely befuddled. How in the world can a guy get away with saying what he really thinks? It borders on heresy.
This is where Fox’s Mr. Bigs — O’Reilly and Krauthammer (those two brilliant fellows who just can’t seem to figure out why Obama does so many things that are harmful to America) — have it all wrong. They’re convinced that Trump methodically plots the most outrageous remarks he can think of in order to drive the rest of the GOP field nuts and get a reaction out of both them and the press.
But I have a very different take on Trump. I don’t for a second believe that he carefully plans his remarks. In fact, I think he’s often genuinely surprised when hysteria sets in after he says something that seems perfectly rational to a majority of people (e.g., his statement that we should ban all Muslims from the U.S. until the Feds can get a handle on Islamic terrorist activities). I believe he just says what he thinks, but many people assume his words are preplanned and intended to shock.
In truth, when pundits and politicians are aghast at his remarks, it illustrates just how far removed they are from the average voter’s mind-set. Thanks to cable television and the Internet, I think a majority of Republican voters have a pretty good understanding of the nation’s problems. They realize that Washington is home to the world’s most powerful crime syndicate, and, as a result, they not only desperately want a presidential candidate who’s authentic, they also recognize authenticity when they see it.
In addition to his authenticity, Trump absolutely refuses to be intimidated — not by the media, not by his opponents, and not by the rest of the “hate Trump” crowd. Sure, he himself is an intimidating person, but the more important point is that he doesn’t allow others to intimidate him.
That impresses the heck out of most folks, because everyone knows what it feels like to be intimidated, whether in their business or personal lives, and they don’t like it. (I think the sales of a book titled Winning Through Intimidation prove that.)
In these two respects — authenticity and the refusal to be intimidated — Trump bears a resemblance to Rocky Balboa, even though they inhabit two totally different worlds. Sure, he came into the Republican race obscenely rich and famous, but the conventional-wisdom crowd wrote him off as a joke.
Days turned into weeks, weeks have now turned into months, and I still hear dough-heads on TV saying that after the holidays voters will finally start getting serious and drop their fascination with Trump.
It’s possible, but I wouldn’t want to bet on it. If Trump stays true to his authenticity and refuses to be intimidated into backing down, he might just be victorious in spite of the establishment’s determination to use every dirty trick in the book to deny him the nomination.
In closing, I should add that there’s one other aspect of human nature that’s in play here: To the dismay of the proponents of egalitarianism, people love winners — especially winners who are authentic and who have repeatedly been told that what they want to accomplish can’t be done. And Trump is proving to be the poster boy for both of these traits.
So whether you love Trump or hate him, you would be wise to learn from him. It’s most decidedly in your best interest to think about two of his greatest strengths — authenticity and the refusal to be intimidated — and make a concerted effort to continually improve yourself in both of these critical areas.
Human nature being what it is, you can be certain that people will admire and respect you for doing so, and that’s a big step toward becoming a winner.