Thursday, August 6, 2015

What Makes Donald Run?

Last night on The O’Reilly Factor Bernard Goldberg recalled a conversation he had had several years ago with his friend Donald Trump.

Goldberg asked Trump a simple question: Why do you brag so much?

To which Donald replied: If it’s true, it’s not bragging.

Goldberg was shocked. As he explained last night, truly successful people never brag.

He was right for two reasons:

First, successful people let their work speak for them.  If you have to brag about it, then the work is probably not quite up to par.

Second, when you put yourself out there as a braggart, people will not be looking for ways to work with you. They will be trying to knock you down to size. No one likes a phony.

Goldberg and O’Reilly noted that Trump is a marketer. He keeps saying that his hotels are the greatest and that his apartments are the greatest and that his golf courses are the greatest… because it helps him to sell them.

And yet, O’Reilly noted, when Trump was on The Factor, he did not have a very good response to a question of how he was, as he has famously bragged, going to force the Mexican government to pay for the wall he was going to construct along the Southern border. The best Trump could do was to exclaim that we do a lot of business with Mexico, which implied that he was going to bully them into it.

It isn't plausible, but Trump probably believes. As a braggart who does not know he is bragging, Trump does not and cannot let reality get in the way of his ego.

As for the larger question: What makes Donald run?, this morning we got the answer: Bill Clinton.

People who are all hype and no substance—as far as political achievements are concerned, that describes Trump aptly—are more easily manipulated. Trump’s macho persona, the one that has gotten so many Republicans drooling, is a sign of weakness. The question was: who was pulling the strings? It turns out that Trump was wound up by that master manipulator and seducer: Bill Clinton.

Apparently, Clinton skillfully fed Trump’s ego, to the point where he convinced the impresario to take a serious run at the White House.

As things are going now, its Hillary’s best chance to win the election. Now we know: Donald Trump is a Trojan horse, looking like a gift, but poised to cause severe damage to the Republican party.

[Addendum: Writing in National Review Kevin Williamson has put the Trump phenomenon in perspective. In the following text, he debunks the notion that Trump is the greatest. This suggests that Trump's bragging is distorting the truth. But, you suspected that:

Trump-branded shirts and ties at Macy’s weren’t the best, finest, classiest, most stylish shirts and ties to be had; they weren’t even the best shirts you could get at Macy’s. Trump-branded casinos and hotels are not the best, most luxurious, most high-end accommodations in the world — they’re embarrassing, and the people sipping cocktails at the Sky Lobby bar at the Mandarin Oriental in Vegas are not secretly wishing they were at the Trump. Trump Tower is far from the nicest residential building in its neighborhood, much less in all of New York City. Trump-branded golf courses are not the greatest golf courses in the world. The Apprentice isn’t the top-rated reality-television show.]


ECM said...

So Muhammad Ali wasn't successful? Rush Limbaugh? Bill O'Reilly? Barack Obama??? Seriously, Stuart, we get that you don't like Trump, but at least have the intellectual coherency not to repeat banalities such as "successful people let their work speak for them" and "if you have to brag about it, then the work is probably not quite up to par." This is Mickey Mouse, kindergarten-level, psycho-analysis (something you claim to abhor!) The fact is, Trump *is* a master marketer, and you fail to 'connect the dots' in the selfsame article in which you point out this fact, juxtaposed against the cartoon character that is "Trump".

(Frankly I wish I had 10% of this man's marketing *genius*, and I reckon so do you, in your more honest moments, even if that means being a "braggart".)

The fact is, Trump is a *brand*, not a person. The *brand* is the braggart, the swagger, etc., and it has served him quite well. None of us actually know Trump *the man*, and mistaking the public persona for the actual person underneath is a classic error that one would think a person of your erudition would easily be able to parse.

(I know, I know: you "know" that they are one and the same, and perhaps they are, on some level, but the fact is, he is *fabulously* successful by nearly any measure, and part of that success is the persona of "Trump", and he'd be an utter fool to change anything because it would make him *less* successful in *objective* terms.)

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thanks for the Trumpist exercise in empty insults and stupidies. It shows us something about the kinds of people who are attracted to Trump. What you call banalities are really principles of classical ethics. the virtue of humility has long since been a sign of people who are truly successful. My analysis of Trump has nothing to do with psychoanalysis, though your remarks suggest that you do not know what that is. The people you mention who are notable braggarts are mostly celebrities, with one failed celebrity president thrown in for taste. The fact that our braggart president has been such a calamity should give us pause. They are not captains of industry, pillars of the community, commanding generals or even tech titans. Such people do not run around bragging. I have already compared Trump's appeal with Obama's on a prior post. As for the quality of the products that Trump has been selling, I would refer you to Kevin Williamson's remarks, quoted as an addendum.

No one ever suggested that Trump was not a marketing genius. We would all like to have some of his marketing genius. Everyone in my post agreed on the point. But, a great marketer is not the same as a political leader. A great marketer can sell you anything, and that is the problem. Trump is selling a fictional persona who has no experience whatever in government at any level. I find it astonishing that so many people believe that he can do the job of POTUS.

threeLegDog said...

To Mr. Williamson...

Are there any casinos, hotels, golf courses, high-rise residence buildings in one of the most expensive cities in the world... with the Williamson name on them?