Running Off at the Mouth

It’s a common occurrence during a political campaign: the candidate says something that’s a little off-message, or represents a contradiction to his past record, and is called out for it.  And the candidate goes mumbly, acknowledges his mistake, and goes forward with his message a little more muted.

Donald Trump is different.  He runs off at the mouth on a regular basis, gets called out for it, and regrets nothing.  And it seems crazy.

But I don’t believe that Trump is approaching the campaign as a politician running for office.  He’s approaching it as something like a business deal, although a little different in the need for public involvement.  To this end:

  • There’s no such thing as bad publicity, as long as they spell your name right. During the primaries, Trump would say this or that and get free press coverage, which accomplished far more than he could through even an aggressive advertising campaign.  He was able to effectively bring his name and his ideas across the country, and present himself as a compelling alternative to the more ordinary sort of Republicans.
  • Manage your counterparty’s expectations. In negotiating a deal, besides resolving the actual terms of a deal to one’s best advantage, the smart negotiator endeavors to manage the counterparty’s expectations, so that the one’s interests are preserved and the deal will be executed smoothly.  In Trump’s case, the terms of the deal are fixed: he’s running for President.  But if he gets mealy-mouthed every time he gets called out, it will hamper his ability to be President if he should be elected.  So he regrets nothing.
  • Be prepared to walk away. In business, there is such a thing as a bad deal.  You negotiate with someone, and for whatever reason, you can’t secure a deal that advances your interests.  When that happens, there is no dishonor in abandoning the effort and walking away.  But a politician running for office is normally overtaken with the desire to win at any cost.  He will almost literally sell his soul and say whatever he believes he needs to say.  While Trump prides himself on being a winner, he isn’t going to change himself into a conventional politician: he doesn’t have the temperament for it.  And he has enough self-respect (some would say ego) not to try.

So I can’t get upset with Trump for running off at the mouth: it’s part of who he is, what he learned from a lifetime in business and not politics.  While I personally think it’s admirable, I expect that not everyone will agree.  Fortunately, there’s a ready remedy: vote for someone else.

5 thoughts on “Running Off at the Mouth”

  1. People should be honest to some extent but what he’s saying is hateful. Yes, it’s his right but running for president many things are creepy. At this point he’s either so delusional thinking he can say anything or has no interest in winning. I’m not sure which one anymore.

  2. There is a difference between being hateful and speaking an impolite truth. But our media, and indeed our culture, have seen fit to overlook the difference. If we are ever to be ‘great again,’ we will have to face our impolite truths, and address them.

    Trump has already accomplished a lot in his life: he doesn’t need to be President. He can walk away, if it comes to that.

  3. And now he is claiming he can help out the 58% of the black youths out of work.

    This is insane. He’s making a bigger mess of it at every turn —
    and showing up at what is a crisis area? Poor poor idea. I believe Hilalry Clinton was told not to come to Louisiana.

    There is a crisis and situation there and things are in an upheaval — a Presidential candidate showing up? A potential disaster for Secret Service. how can you protect a candidate in conditions like that???

    this is all for a photo op. When Sandy made landfall in Atlantic City, you can bet Trump was nowhere on that scene. You can bet he never donated supplies or money or anything else to aid in the recovery process.

    Companies usually give back to the communities they do business in. It is a sure fire bet he never donated a thing or sponsored anything for the city of Atlantic City. WOW…even band uniforms for the high schools would have been fantastic. Scholarship funds, new books, a Project Graduation at his casino for the kids…. what a miserly and unaccommodating little weird adult he is.

    1. On Facebook so many people are talking about this and saying they’ll be happy he is president. They don’t get it. He’s a greedy, self centered twit who until now was not known for being generous. All of this is known but they ignore it. They ignore that he is delusional. Honestly, Trump supporters are horrible. It has nothing to do with Dem/Rep but they don’t get it. Honestly Facebook depresses me knowing so many people I like are full blown racists.

  4. Donald Trump is, to be succinct, an asshole. But then again, so are Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and all the rest. A normal person can’t get through the process of becoming a candidate for President.

    Trump’s appeal is that he acknowledges the problems that most Americans face. He acknowledges that many illegal immigrants are also violent criminals (perhaps not a large percentage, but enough to be a real problem). He acknowledges that Islamic fundamentalism is at the root of the terrorist attacks that have beset America and Europe.

    But we’re not supposed to say such things out loud. Trump does so anyway, and not mincing words. (Some politicians’ peculiar talent is the ability to deliver grand oratory that actually says nothing. Trump doesn’t have the temperament for that.) However he says such things, he will be called a bigot, so he might as well go bold.

    No President and no government can ‘make America great again.’ The government cannot create prosperity: at best, it can create an environment in which we can be prosperous for ourselves. In that respect, the Trump supporters, should their man win, will be sadly disappointed. Either that, or shortly after election, Trump will be given the ‘primal forces of nature’ speech, and turn into just another Demican.

    But we can at least try.

    And then, considering the other side, there is the matter of Clinton’s health. Hillary Clinton has been running a non-campaign, with very few public appearances. We know what happens if a President is not up to the duties of office, but is not so severely unwell that the Vice President steps in: the President’s unelected staff and Cabinet run things in his (or her) absence. This is perhaps acceptable if the President has been in office for several years, is getting older, and his policy directions are set and accepted by the country. It is not OK for a candidate to be so frail.

    So for now, I consider Trump the least bad candidate.

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