He’s a lame duck president if he gets in – and he doesn’t know it yet.
We are all watching on from the safety of the UK or Europe (but that’s another debate for another day) wondering what a Donald J Trump presidency will actually look like. Exciting and swashbuckling for some as the new commander-in-chief orders 15 more super-duper nuclear aircraft carriers and ramps up the rhetoric with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
I can hear it now – the Russians will again be classed as those “commies” who want to ruin the American dream. They want to fire their missiles at us and kill off our American pie – working moms bringing up our wholesome kids in our free society where those who dare to be can be. Oh dear. But so many Americans will buy into this tripe as this fear lurks deep in their DNA, indoctrinated from elementary school: a total wipeout by Russia. But it won’t stop there, I would argue.
The moral panic created by the paranoia over Mr Putin will spill over into extreme patriotism. And we will all have to take a side.
That side will always be in the favour of the US. We are their 12th man. Every now and then the head coach shouts: “OK UK, get your bib off and your boots on – let’s see what you can do.” We then jump on to the pitch with the Americans as the last choice substitute in their game and muddle through.
So, here he is as president with his military being stoked up and his generals not quite sure how to deal with him, when he shouts “Get him out!” when they dare to question him on his strategy. As the general leaves the room with his tail between his legs, escorted by two heavies, then Trump will charge on with his own agenda and plans.
Why? Because that is what most entrepreneurs who have experienced big success do. One has to understand the psyche, mindset and journey they have been through to get to where they are now. It’s not an easy one. It creates a steely, calculating and purposeful mindset.
The entrepreneur, in general, is not a great collaborator. I think it’s fair to say that leaders like our own First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and president Barack Obama are great at pulling people and plans together in the face of conflict and debate. I’ve never seen, nor can I imagine, either of them telling a heckler to “get out” and have them huckled away. They are clever politicians with a deep sense of humanity, not whacky entrepreneurs. A President Trump will revert to type, which is an entrepreneur, who is used to having highly paid advisers, but 100 per cent runs the show – make no mistake.
He likes to win at everything he does and doesn’t appreciate someone scoring a point over him. So, sitting in the Oval Office with his mindset of “I’m the daddy and no-one screws with me” he’ll be hell-bent on proving that an entrepreneur running the US will cut through the white noise and get stuff done. If this was Roman times, the other members of the Senate may be thinking about sharpening their knives…
President Trump has worked his way up on Wall Street and built an empire based on money. Let’s not kid ourselves here – he’s all about the buck. He has spent years amassing cash and dealing in finance and had to have eyes in the back of his head. He is sharp, street smart and clever. I respect him for this. But these skills are honed and suited to the arena of Wall Street, building Trump Towers, golf courses and casinos. It’s all about the deal, the win, the cash, the ego and the attitude to risk. They are not at all suited to politics. Wins in politics take years and will bore President Trump to death. I think so much so, that he will put in a senior manger from his corporation to run the presidency while he goes back to running his money empire. I can see the internal advert within the Trump organisation: “Mid-level manager wanted to run country – must have huge tolerance for not getting a lot done and attending photo ops.” Oh, and “must be willing to do exactly as they are told”.
Entrepreneurs are by their very nature determined to start, build or grow something. Eventually on this path, they cash out their chips and harvest some value. In the world of the entrepreneur this is called an “exit”. They then play golf, do some charity work, get into philanthropy, speak at events and rejuvenate for a short period until they are ready to jump on the hamster wheel again and either invest in those coming up the entrepreneurial ladder, which is a good thing in my opinion, or start and build again. We only need to look at some of our top and rising entrepreneurs in Scotland to see this happening.
This start, build, grow, cash out, build, cash out model of thinking, wired into serial entrepreneurs like Trump, is simply not suited to four years in office as a president. I would seriously worry about his mental health in this role as he will not be able to be who he truly is. The extremes will surface and hence the fascination with winning and warships.
If I had anything to say to Donald Trump it would be: if you inspired, created, supported and funded 1,000 more brilliant entrepreneurs in the US every year for four years, you could create 10,000 times more value and jobs for Americans and make America great again than you would idling away in the White House getting quagmired in policy and bored with advisers.
Sometimes, we just need to stick at what we’re good at.
• Jim Duffy is chief executive optimist of Entrepreneurial Spark, the world’s largest free business accelerator for start-up and scaleup businesses