Can Trump Save America Alone?

Terry Paulson
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Posted: Jul 27, 2015 12:01 AM
Can Trump Save America Alone?

In spite of the provocative nature of his seemingly unchecked comments, it’s clear that Donald Trump and his polarizing comments are not going away. After all, there’s something very attractive about a truth teller who‘s not afraid of expressing his views in a town known for political correctness, safe comments, and excuses.

The faithful want more than campaign promises from politicians who once elected seem to get a strong case of Potomac Fever. Many wonder if fearless campaigning will translate into fearless, effective leadership.

By Trump’s own admission, he’s beyond rich, rich enough not to need anyone’s campaign funds. He can’t be bought, and he can’t be tamed. He’s no negotiating apprentice; he’ll single-handedly negotiate deals Americans can be proud of. He doesn’t need advisors; Trump’s got being president covered.

How does he feel about his competition? In a recent column, Trump wrote: “Many of my competitors for the Republican nomination have no business running for president. I do not need to be lectured by any of them. Many are failed politicians or people who would be unable to succeed in the private sector.”

Temperament is not a Trump strong suit. He’s slammed illegal Mexican immigrants as drug dealers, rapists and criminals. His belated “apologies” seem more defensive than sincere. What true issues he isolates end up being minimized because of the Trump sideshow controversies. The rest of the crowded Republican field are left gasping for any media air time.

Truth telling can be attractive, but loose-cannon leaders who can’t work with others are not. Trump, this great negotiating, business leader, has already lost sponsors and angered party colleagues. Imagine what he could do as president to diplomatic ties with enemies and allies alike. Can you hear him: “Many of my so-called allies have no business running a country or lecturing me. Most are failed leaders in socialist countries who are no more capitalists than Obama was.” There is a reason presidents of both parties use teleprompters—the wrong statement can start wars!

How can Trump work across party lines when he can’t even get along with his own party. He’s put down people he would need to unite the party—from John McCain and Mitt Romney to the Bushes and Karl Rove. He not only hates the germs that come with shaking hands, he seems to hate the people he would have to shake hands with. What would Trump’s style do to an already polarized Washington?

This man doesn’t need our money, our advice, or our party leaders. I’m wondering if he even needs our votes to assume the GOP candidate crown.

Ronald Reagan had on his desk: “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit.” Great leaders don’t do it alone. They take more than their share of the blame and give more than their share of the credit.

Ask great leaders if they have people working with them who know significantly more than they do in certain areas, they’d proudly raise their hands. It changes leaders’ prayers; every night they pray to God above, “Let them live!”

No president or leader knows it all! They need people on the bus who bring different perspectives, critical skills, and valuable political experience.

You don’t just elect presidents; you elect the team they’ll bring with them. That requires collaborative presidents who can listen long enough to know what they need to say and do.

Yes, I want a truth teller and a president who has the inner fortitude and confidence to make the tough calls. But I also want a leader who doesn’t demonize others but can bridge across divides to find common ground and rally shared commitments.

Finally, I want a president who is more impressed with the Americans he serves than the face reflected in the mirror every morning. I want candidates who need “We the people” to fund their campaigns, to buy their vision and values, and to vote enthusiastically to elect them.