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Trump's loss: what it says about power & strategies

Donald Trump lost.

Can we learn something about it?

Sure, but first, a disclaimer:

It's always dangerous and, frankly, often nonsense, to draw general principles from single instances ("Fooled by Randomness").

The media loves taking a single instance and turning into larger lessons.
And that's why most media reporting is noise that doesn't provide much for one's self-development.

Now, that being said, there are probably a few general principles that contributed to make Trump a one-time president.

Let's see:

1. Too Many Enemies Disempower 

Trump was good at rallying his own troops.

Indeed, many of his fights limited damage because he managed to bring along (manipulate?) many people into believing it was their battle as well -likely not the case, for a type like Trump it's always about him only-.

There was still a problem with that approach though: you don't win new allies if you only stick to your own side.

His fiery and incendiary rhetoric inflated those who would have voted for him anyway.
They turned out to vote big time.

But so did all the enemies he picked up along the way.

His win-lose approach ultimately failed because there are only so many people you can recruit on your side.

Seeking a win-win approach would have given him lots of votes among the super-partes, apolitical, and undecided.
That's why incumbents often have an advantage: they always get the vote of their own party, plus they are in a strong position to influence the undecided.
Instead, Trump turned away all the undecided.

2. Leadership Must Provide Some Value

Value from a leader is delivered in two ways:

  1. Material benefits (provides extrinsic motivation to follow)
  2. On a more emotional basis (provides intrinsic motivation to follow)

The second, how people feel about your leadership, is sometimes even more important than the latter -especially once a leader is so far removed from people as a country's president is-.

Trump's leadership was always self-serving.
Either serving himself or, ofen as well, serving his group only (he was very good at masking his narcissism as service for his followers).

Even with the Covid crisis, he couldn't provide a unifying leadership but had to turn it into a huge battle.

I quote:

Trump is the first president in polling history never to have received a positive job approval rating while in office, historically the most reliable predictor of a president's re-election vote. 

Again, he was good at limiting damage by turning it into a crusade for freedom and a strong economy against lockdowns and restrictions.
That was good, and Biden likely lost lots of votes by letting himself frame as the "Covid-first president".

But it was impossible for most anyone who's not a staunch Republican to miss that Trump (lack of) leadership was not for the people, but for himself.

3. Over-selling & over-promotion of Self

Self-promotion is crucial for life success.

But it must be strategic.

If you overdo it, you come across as a braggart, or as an untrustworthy used car salesman-type.
Exactly what Trump did.

As the president, Trump was in a position to let others build him up.
The moment he did it himself, he was bound to come across as cheap and "un-presidential".

At a personal level: I'm happy

Personally, I’m happy.

I’m a liberal, prefer smaller governments, not a fan of political correctness, and many of my beliefs put me closer to the right than to the left.
Yet, I’m very happy Biden won, and Trump was voted out.

People always come before political affiliations.

There is worst than Trump, of course, and some things he pursued were fair (like demanding Europe to pay more for Nato and stop scrounging on American's defense spending)
But still, overall Trump is a bad leader, a rather bad role model, and not the brightest example of human being.

What made Trump fail, fails even more badly outside of politics

One more thing which I think is important:

Trump's style still got him relatively far in this election because everyone votes.

His style would have been even more damaging among higher-value and high-quality individuals. Those folks are themselves leaders, and tend to have a better grasp of manipulation, power dynamics, and what's good and not-good leadership.
Trump was in large part kept afloat by those who fall for the allure of the despot, and those guys are less frequently found among the higher-value folks.

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Another minor point I’d like to bring up is that he’s rather disagreeable than agreeable. I’m not an American but seeing the face day in and day out of such a disagreeable character is a mental pollution in itself.

So I’m happy we’ll get to see less of him. It’s a relief just as a media consumer. He was ever present but in a disagreeable way.

I learned a lot from him anyway: the good and bad. But I think I learned the lesson now.

I’m afraid that now the Republican Party is in a bad situation from an organizational standpoint as they will have to re-invent themselves with or without him.

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Lucio BuffalmanoKellvoStef

Trump is a fighter, not a peacemaker; he's good for setting boundaries, getting things done and toughing it out, but he frankly sucks at bringing people together. He would make a fine president during wartime, maybe even a crisis, but outside of that he doesn't have a place. His skills make for a great businessman, they'd probably make for a fine general or emergency responder too, but as a president? No way.

I supported him in 2016 to spite the SJWs, as I saw them as a threat to me and the people I cared about, but didn't really support him. With his dishonorable tactics trying to sue courts for election losses (you lost, deal with it) and ill handling of the virus, I am glad he was defeated. I don't know much about Biden, but he seems like a solid, stand-up guy. Let's hope the next four years are better than the last.

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Quote from John Freeman on November 8, 2020, 1:16 pm

Another minor point I’d like to bring up is that he’s rather disagreeable than agreeable. I’m not an American but seeing the face day in and day out of such a disagreeable character is a mental pollution in itself.

So I’m happy we’ll get to see less of him. It’s a relief just as a media consumer. He was ever present but in a disagreeable way.

I learned a lot from him anyway: the good and bad. But I think I learned the lesson now.

I’m afraid that now the Republican Party is in a bad situation from an organizational standpoint as they will have to re-invent themselves with or without him.

Gret point!

In the power/warmth matrix he is high in power, and negative in warmth.

That can be attractive to people who are "star-struck" by power and, some psychoanalysts might say, secretly wished they had the same.
But it also annoys a lot more people.

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Quote from Kellvo on November 8, 2020, 2:33 pm

Trump is a fighter, not a peacemaker; he's good for setting boundaries, getting things done and toughing it out, but he frankly sucks at bringing people together. He would make a fine president during wartime, maybe even a crisis, but outside of that he doesn't have a place. His skills make for a great businessman, they'd probably make for a fine general or emergency responder too, but as a president? No way.

I supported him in 2016 to spite the SJWs, as I saw them as a threat to me and the people I cared about, but didn't really support him. With his dishonorable tactics trying to sue courts for election losses (you lost, deal with it) and ill handling of the virus, I am glad he was defeated. I don't know much about Biden, but he seems like a solid, stand-up guy. Let's hope the next four years are better than the last.

Great message, Kellvo.

I totally get the SJW's bit, I felt the same.
Maybe that's one of the positives of Trump's presidency, the message is now much louder on how many people feel about (empty) political correctness.

And yes, the word "dishonorable" is also a good fit for his leadership during covid.

 

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