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Is Trump’s learning curve too steep?

June 10, 2016

An article in the Washington Post perfectly captures the downside of getting a non-traditional candidate elected.

Mr. Trump has so far run his bid for the White House like a sales campaign.

There are certain norms in the business world that mesh nicely with the traditional political world.

Branding, messaging, market share management  and product development adapt well to politics.

Big names in business like Calvin Klein®, Nike™ and yes, Donald Trump know exactly how to sell their products and services.

Mr. Trump took full advantage of what he knows about salesmanship and applied it to his run for the White House. He’s essentially been a pitchman for his product, namely himself.

The proof that he’s good at it is that he dominated and defeated some pretty illustrious political names to become the presumptive nominee.

Now he has to close the sale, and that’s the part that is so different from anything in his personal experience.

The above-referenced article points out that while he doesn’t rule out the advice he’s getting from the RNC  and his campaign advisers, he doesn’t buy their pitch hook, line and sinker. Remember,  these are the same people who could only finish second-best in 2012.

He questions all of their advice and demands justification of the methods.

What’s unclear is why that should surprise anyone.

After all, his whole campaign is based on the belief that unquestioning adherence to and reverence for the status quo is what’s wrong with Washington and the country.

That might be and probably is a good quality in a chief executive.

If he still had 18 months before the election, it would be an inconvenience to his staff, but not an insurmountable one.

One of the real tricks in retail is in introducing a new product. Some people are ready and willing, but there is always the danger that you will lose your traditional market, your bread-and-butter customer base, or voters in this case .

The problem with Mr. Trump at this stage is that he doesn’t understand how many and how important that bread-and-butter voter is to his election chances.

He may believe that his rebellious core base speaks for or at least can overpower the entire electorate.

He’s wrong.

There is comfort in the familiar and many voters are just scared of change of any kind.

Given that the guy in office now was all about fundamental change and now we have the 29-hour workweek, government healthcare and near-riots in the streets, who can blame them?

Hopefully the RNC has some people that can speak Mr. Trump’s  language and show him why he can’t just throw away all the old inventory just yet.

For his part he may have to suspend some of his natural skepticism long enough to get elected.

From → op-ed

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