Regardless of who you support in the 2016 Presidential primary race, most will admit there’s one strategic advantage held by Donald Trump over all other candidates – Trump’s willingness to “own the downside“.
All policies and proposals have a “downside“, there’s no such thing as a policy proposal with benefit to all and harm to none. This empirical truth is toxic to professional politicians – therefore they spend an inordinate amount of time using pretzel logic to avoid it.
As a direct consequence of avoidance, the media love to use the downside as a weapon. For the first time in recent political memory Donald Trump represents a candidacy who is unafraid of their spear; and as a consequence, immune to the damage.
A case in point – NBC’s Chuck Todd thought he could deploy the downside weapon during a Trump campaign stop in Iowa (State Fair). During the exclusive interview aboard the Trumpo Jet Todd deployed his arsenal – “but you can’t actually remove illegal immigrants, I mean you can’t actually deport them“.
Trump owned the downside. “Chuck, yes, yes we will. Either we have borders or we don’t; either we have a country or we don’t“.
Like all other media punditry, Chuck was left aghast. The dangling participle remained naught but a withering “but… but…” Watch:
Every other candidate who has ever existed in the history of modern candidacy, would have given some form of “acceptable” alternative response. (ie. a PC version.) (ie. a lie.)
Not Trump, he owns the downside.
This approach is what makes ‘Splodey Heads!
A Second Case In Point – Trump does it again with CNN’s Jake Tapper, only this time Trump frames the controversial position ownership with an explanation.
Donald Trump is backing up his previous position that removing Iraq’s Sadam Hussein and Libya’s Kaddaffi was not a good idea. Jake Tapper is aghast: “what about the human rights abuses”?
Trump owns the opposite: Human rights abuses? …”you don’t think they’re happening now? They’re worse now than they ever were. People are getting their heads chopped off, they’re being drowned in cages. Right now they’re far worse off than they ever were under Saddam Hussein or Kadaffi”…
Another ‘Splodey !
It doesn’t matter what the issue is.
When confronted by his tax proposal to eliminate taxes on wage earners below $50k Trump is challenged with the “skin in the game” argument. The response is simple: “look, it costs more for the processing of those income tax filers than the revenue which comes from them“…
- Media: Jeb Bush want’s a no-fly zone in Syria?
- Trump: When did ISIS get airplanes?
- Media: You can’t build a wall?
- Trump: I build things, that’s what I do – watch me!
- Media: You’re going to deport 11 million people. You’ll need a “deportation force“.
- Trump: What does I.C.E do?
And on and on it goes. Simple cut-to-the-chase responses with total fearless ownership of any downside from a policy proposal.
- Media: But you used to be a Democrat, you have donated to Democrats?
- Trump: Yes, I live and work in New York. NYC is all Democrats, if I need to leverage assistance for my company goals I need to work with Democrats. It’s a business necessity; I look out for my employees and their best interests.
- Media: But you had Hillary Clinton at your wedding?
- Trump: Yes, it was an amazing event, the best, the biggest, the most elegant, and I asked her and Bill to attend. They did. Wouldn’t you, I mean if I invited you?
- Media: You spend all this time talking about polls. You seem obsessed by polls?
- Trump: Yeah, that’s because I’m winning them. If the polls were not good, I wouldn’t even mention them. Duh.
When you compare how Trump owns the so-called “negatives”, you immediately recognize they are only negatives if he allows them to be. Thus, he doesn’t let them be issues – he owns them, and says “yeah, so?”
Trump has spent decades with Park Row media types. He has never avoided them, he totally understands how they operate – and more importantly “why”?
The most stark contrast is Donald Trump when contrast against others in the race like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Like Trump they all have historical issues and/or policy proposals with severe downsides. However, unlike Trump – Bush, Rubio and Cruz keep trying to play the game of avoiding their history (as if it doesn’t exist) and downsides from policy.
Imagine if Jeb Bush said: “hey, I know Super-PACs are a bad idea, but without them I wouldn’t stand a chance”.
Imagine if Marco Rubio said: “hey look, the reason I supported the gang-of-eight was because I was a freshman senator and their offer made me feel superior, like I was an important and influential member of the Senate – it was a massive ego boost“.
Imagine if Ted Cruz said: “yeah, I know I didn’t support conservatives in the primary races, but it was only because I was trying to ingratiate myself to the powerful interests in the GOP leadership – I was trying to gain more influence”.
Can you imagine that?
Nah, me neither.
See ya at the next Winner’s Rally !!