When Celebrity Apprentice Meets Presidential Politics
July 29, 2015
July 29, 2015
I’m going to go out a limb here and say: Donald Trump will not be our next President.
But that’s not to say he can’t cause some pain and suffering to his fellow Republicans (as long as he stays in the party and doesn’t run as an independent as he has threatened to do).
Let’s remember, we are in the beginning of the first chapter of the 2016 campaign. The first Republican debate is coming up and the very first hurdle for all the candidates will be to be on the stage when the gong sounds.
We know Trump will be there. And we can be guaranteed that given he has nothing to lose, he will be as forthright and provocative as he wants. He’ll tell it like it is or at least like he thinks it is and the rest of you be damned.
There are clearly a lot of folks in the Republican Party who agree with his outrageous comments and flock to his events, whether to see his hair in person, or to hear him shoot from the hip.
I get it. I’ve been there with a candidate– John Silber– the then-President of Boston University, who ran for Massachusetts Governor in 1990 and lost to William Weld. I had a front row seat as his press secretary. Silber was smarter and had more substance than Trump. But he, too, felt the public needed to hear the truth–and he believed he was the only one willing to say it.
This led to a series of what became known as “Silber Shockers”, phrases that were met with a combination of outrage and derision by the media but agreement by many in the public. Talking about the welfare rolls, he referred to Lowell as the “Cambodian capital of America.” When talking about the cost of health care at the end of life, he said, “When you are old and ripe, it’s time to go.”
What he was doing, it turned out, was giving voice to the very fears and anger that many in the public shared. They loved it. “You tell ‘em, John!” they told him at the many rallies he attended.
The approach led him to capture the Democratic primary but, ultimately, the anger and outrage were more than the public wanted in their Governor. By a narrow margin, they voted for the Republican.
There are lessons here for all of us and for the candidates as well. It will be fascinating to watch the other Republican contenders tackle the “Trumpisms”. It’s not an easy task, as the formidable Democratic field found in Silber’s race. But in the end, the public will decide that anger only goes so far.
They want more in their President.