To my fitness friends, I will be getting back to regularly scheduled programming soon. I collapsed with back spasms on Weds and was sort of kind of stuck to my floor in the morning. Got meds, still have tightness and will get back to it soon.
For now, I want to try and transfer thoughts in my head to this blog. I’m not writing any of these to “go viral”. It’s sort of like a journal and record for my thoughts, but also I’d like to have something that describes who I am – I have a 7 year old and if something ever happened to me, I would love to have some sort of place he could see who his dad was.
One thing I am politically is “fair”. I’m opinionated, but I’m also open to new ideas. As I’ve pointed out in this space, I’ve been a left leaning voter most of my life, but switched to Republican earlier this year to vote for Trump. I live in Pennsylvania. I was one of those 70,000 or so that switched parties. One thing with open mindedness and fairness – is hearing someone else out. If I told people I was interested in some of Trump’s policies, I was essentially “shouted down” by my left friends. My family pleaded with me and told me I was supporting the devil who would take us back to the stone age. No one actually listened to why I was interested in him. No one would hear my frustrations. I am college educated. Because of this, people who supported Trump went silent around their friends. We nodded. We smiled. I actually backed off of my support of Trump late as I just could not support some of the behaviors anymore. I had hoped for the “pivot”. It didn’t come.
Since he’s been president elect, I’ve seen a different tone. This is who I hoped he would be. So, I’m excited to see a lot of change. Had Clinton been elected, I wouldn’t have been pissed, but I’d be disappointed that there wouldn’t be a lot of change of anything.
Anyhow, the meme above I saw on LinkedIn, in which this looked like it was talking about our leaders at work.
But what if this was applied to the leaders we elect?
Ultimately, people didn’t trust Clinton more than Trump. No matter all other bullshit that went into this election, trust may have been the ultimate measure. I want to break down a lot of these things and try and handicap this.
Reputation – Trump had a reputation of a bombastic billionaire who had mastered media who may have had shady business deals and bankruptcies. Clinton’s reputation has been that of a talented lawyer who was first lady and had high profile successes, high profile failures, and the stink of Bill Clinton’s scandals. Trump was trying to craft his reputation politically as a change agent where Clinton’s reputation was “steady as she goes”.
Credibility – Trump has credibility as a successful business person. Say what you will about Trump Steaks and Trump University, but the man owns over 500 companies. There have been successes and failures, but he turned a few million into $4-$10 billion. Risk is something he’s pushed the envelope on, and his knowledge of tax codes, bankruptcy law, and restructuring debt. His credibility with making profit could signal he wishes to reduce government waste and deficits. Clinton’s credibility within the government is mixed. She was a formidable First Lady, but failed with universal healthcare. She was a competent senator, but people like me do not have nuanced details to understand if she was an all star senator or just another senator. She failed to defeat Obama in 2008, then was given Secretary of State. She failed with the “reset” with Russia and her Libyan positions seemed to not be great based on fallout. I don’t know about her 200 successes with the state dept, only a handful of mixed results. I pay attention to the news, so perhaps the average non-biased person may see her credibility within the government as average. There are videos of her essentially changing her position based on what year it was and who her audience was. It is important for a leader to have flexibility, but the videos were pretty damning. As a moderate, she seemed like a C+ politician who had great name recognition.
Performance – Trump took a few million to billions and 500+ companies. Clinton had mixed results. Trump is an executive with 40+ years of executive experience with leading for results-driven industry. The Clinton machine had amassed a massive war chest, millions in speaking fees, a super delegate lead, and tons of celebrity endorsements.
The Three above then lead to results. Trump outperformed Clinton. He outperformed 16 other candidates in the republican field. He means may have been horrific, but no one can deny the results he achieved while spending so little and having such a scant ground game. I could also say that Trump “out hustled” her in campaigning. He’s 70 and was in multiple states daily. 3-4 rallies per day. I have to provide Trump an edge in results, as his Machiavellian means are those created in a show of horrors, but the overall results had him far outperforming Clinton with votes in strategically important areas. He understood the game and the map, he drew a plan, and executed better. 13% of African Americans, 31% of Hispanics and 55% of white woman voted for Trump. All of these are eye openers and focus more on his results than his antics.
Skills – no one can doubt Clinton is a skilled politician. She is almost TOO skilled. Meaning, every single word, facial movement, gesture is carefully crafted. Trump’s skills though appear to be completely different. Engaging others, business executive, media, spin.
Knowledge – This is overwhelmingly in Clinton’s favor. However, the constitution does not have our president requiring political experience to run the country. By and large, our commander in chief is someone who has to hire the right people, rally the people, and lead our military. Our day to day government operations are handled by congress. One thing I wanted to touch on here is “hire the right people” which leads to a form of “good judgment”. While I do not agree with most of Pence’s political stances, he was an incredible hire for Trump where Tim Kaine was questionable at best for Clinton. Now, could this lead to Trump to hire some really competent folks, or could it lead to Clinton to hire cronies? Knowledge here might be a bit of a catch 22. You want to put the right people in charge, get the advice from the best people…and you make judgement calls. So, you have to give Clinton a 99-1 edge on knowledge here, but I’d say I’d give a 70-30 edge to Trump on judgement just based on VP pick. I’d also suggest that knowledge be a little more than just politics. Could knowledge be “intelligence”? I have felt he’s in a far different level than the rest of us. Picking Pence was not only a great pick to stump for him, but he’s also there to keep the left from trying to impeach/remove him – as Pence is far more right than he is. Stroke of genius. She outspent him 10-1. He spent pennies on the dollar compared to his republican counterparts and in an “ends justify the means” fashion, won.
Experience – two different things here. Obviously she has political experience in an overwhelming fashion. But both have experience talking with high profile people. Donald has executive experience as well as tons of media experience. He also demonstrated a strong ability with rhetoric and controlling the media cycles.
These all lead to capability. I believe Trump’s capabilities may be stronger in rallying a voting base, “draining the swamp”, economics, and putting competent people in places of leadership. Clinton’s capability seemed to lead to “steady as she goes”, being a political insider, appointing well known insiders, and massaging back channels. Capability to me reads as “upside for change” which I have to give an edge to Trump here.
Capability and results are part of competence. Obviously Clinton has been a mostly competent politician, but Trump has demonstrated competence with capability and results. Competence has an edge to Trump in this context. He also has a very asymmetric means of doing things to put people off balance, which no politician has shown competence in beating yet. Let me put this another way. A billionaire who has had many appearances on the Howard Stern show, multiple ex wives he’s cheated on, and many business failures – sat in his living room one day in his boxers and decided he wanted to be president. He was faced by an overwhelming leading and popular democrat with hundreds of millions of dollars, super delegates, a rigged DNC, and a Clinton money machine. And his plan, strategy, and execution was better than hers. And…he did it with far less money spent. I have to suggest that he’s more competent than her based on capability and results.
Moving over to the character side, we might have a bit of a shift. Somewhat.
Honesty – I think both of these candidates had some issues. Trump had seemed like he was a leader who would adapt his position which was never clearly defined. She appeared to deceive and audience depending on who she was in front of. He said in republican debates, “yeah, I took advantage of the system and know all of the laws that need to be changed to keep people like me from taking advantage”. She had to try and walk back things 800 times on her email server and she still never seemed to tell the truth. If you look up the numbers, people felt Clinton was far less trustworthy than Trump. Now, it’s not saying people trusted Trump a lot, but she was far worse. Benghazi, email server, Clinton cash, pay for play, whitewater – there was a mountain of things there with smoke and no fire. Trump owned being shifty. He boasted about it. Clinton was shifty and tried to tell you she was honest. Trump was honest about being dishonest, it appeared, and we loved him for it. Edge to trump.
Fairness – I’d have to say this might be a massive edge to Clinton. Trump was continuously unfair to his opponents. He was not a fair businessman. Clinton was not fair in the DNC fight against Bernie and didn’t report that she got leaked questions from Donna Brazile from CNN.
Authenticity – This is a massive win for Trump. He turned off the filter and just did what he felt. You felt he was authentic in his race for the White House. While the Clintons may have been cementing a legacy in American politics – Trump lost perhaps over $700 million in business based on his controversial positions and seemed to speak from the heart. You can say he was a sleazy salesman when he spoke of two Corinthians, but you cannot deny the dude spoke off the cuff…where Hillary had everything run by focus groups, read off of teleprompters, and had everything sanitized word for word. The most authentic moment I’ve ever seen Hillary was during her concession speech, where she had a tear in her eye and spoke from the heart.
The above three lead to integrity. Trump won 2-1 here, so he had an edge in integrity. He owned being sleazy at times, which I believe was the ultimate way to take away the moral high ground with his dealings.
The last category here, intent, could be a wash. While Clinton seemed to portray herself as more caring, without a doubt, her transparency suffered with the emails and his suffered with taxes. However, we all knew he was rich, we just didn’t care how rich. With openness, I’d suggest he was more open with his family on camera, he was open about his intent…and she was much more closed and guarded. So – intent is a wash.
So, character would also then be a close to a wash, with integrity and intent might be equally bad for both candidates.
This election I believe then boiled down to competence over character, as both candidates demonstrated character flaws that disqualified both of them. Could Trump’s business acumen, skills, intelligence, and want to “drain the swamp” be more effective than Clinton’s….”steady as you go” philosophy?
To me…Trump winning demonstrated a competence I was not prepared to comprehend. I felt in the last month or so, there were just too many character flaws for me to support him anymore.
Why am I hopeful? Dude just demonstrated extreme levels of competence. We want to make our government work better and put someone who is competent in charge.
I choose to trust Trump at this point. His character is flawed, and since his competence is leading to trust…I choose to trust him now until and unless he demonstrates incompetence.
For my left friends, I do not think the social political aspects will be huge in the next 4 years.