This is not Donald Trump’s first run for president. He has actually been here before. He considered running in 1988, officially launched an exploratory committee in 2000 for the Reform Party, and again, considered running in both 2004, and 2012.
Yet at each stage, Trump seemed to feel that the odds didn’t favor him. So he chose not to enter, and instead, developed skills that would better enable him to run in the future. He lacked an effective public speaking skill, so he developed it. He could make sound logical arguments, but people weren’t connecting with him on a visceral level. There wasn’t enough passion. Though he had already developed some ability to get himself media attention, he really hadn’t mastered media dominance.
So what did he do? He developed every single one of these skills. He wasn’t an effective public speaker, so he started giving public speeches for Mitt Romney and the RNC.
He wasn’t connecting on an emotional level, so he started emoting more, simplifying his language, and tried to make sure that when he spoke, people felt the ideas in their gut, before they ever had time to mull it over.
He also learned that the media is literally addicted to controversy. And if you say something outside of the media defined range of “acceptable discourse”, they flip out and cover the story non-stop for days on end. He learned how to manage this with his numerous feuds over the years.
So at each stage, Trump found weaknesses in himself that would prevent him from winning. And he worked on all of those skills, until he had the skill set required to succeed.
Take that in comparison to Gary Johnson, and Hilary Clinton. They have a number of flaws that prevent them from being great candidates, but unlike Trump, they absolutely refuse to develop those skills. They just run over and over with their existing skills and refuse to evolve or improve their skills in any useful way.
Both of them suffer from a total lack of charisma. They are not likeable. They speak in a largely monotone voice, with very little intonation. They resist using emotional language or evoking emotional responses. Instead, they speak in facts, details, and logic. Very few people respond to this type of messaging. And most of the ones who do, aren’t auditory or visual, so their speaking skills won’t impact that person anyway. The only people who respond to this, are readers. And they’re not particularly influenced by speeches or events of any type.
Further, both of them have a problem gaining media attention. Clinton has some media coverage, but it mostly is quite bland. “Clinton was in Iowa today” - yawn. Nothing about her coverage is holding people’s attention or engaging them.
Most people don’t even know who Gary Johnson is, or that he’s wasting his time yet again, running with a deficient skill set and no hope of influencing the discussion.
So all three candidates suffered from very similar problems, but how did each one handle it? Trump set out to develop skills to fix each problem, and emerged as a powerful candidate. Meanwhile, Hilary is on the brink of squandering yet another coronation, and Johnson is busy panhandling outside the streets of Austin, because they refuse to learn or grow in any way shape or form.
But is it just Clinton and Johnson? I would say it’s most politicians. Perhaps all of them. I may have personally liked Ron Paul, but he suffered from the same issue. The only reason he was more successful in 2008/2012 than in 1988 was because he was running for a major party, and haphazardly stumbled into an internet following based on pure luck. He really didn’t learn much, or change anything he was doing. That’s why I supported him in 2008, but not 2012. He clearly hadn’t learned anything or developed any new skills.
One thing I think is demonstrably true of Trump, is that in any area he may be deficient as president, he’ll work hard to improve. Trump may well be the first person to ever serve as president, to be significantly better in his second term, than his first. He’s always seeking to improve himself and refine his abilities. This is a rare trait, and one that should be highly desirable in a president. He learns from his mistakes and addresses his deficiencies. Is there anyone else running that can say this?