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Stepping up to the mark. Can Donald Trump do it?
I predicted as much last week. Donald Trump is now the US President elect. Breaking the odds and the polls, he's pressed the right buttons and awoken a disillusioned majority. Just as Barack Obama got people to vote who might not normally do so, so also has Donald Trump called out a different demographic.
Beyond the analysis of why, the next question is 'What will he do?' The doom-mongers are predicting terrible things. But then predictions do not always turn out as expected, as we have seen. It seemed an outside chance that Donald Trump would become president, but he did. It now seems an outside chance that he will be a great president. Maybe he will.
The critical question now, is 'Will he step up to the mark'. Even as the election was taking place, the UK's version of The Apprentice is under way. It is run by Lord Alan Sugar, who has already expanded into politics and sits in the higher parliamentary chamber. In this reality show, aspiring business people are set a series of challenging tasks where they have to both show leadership and collaborate with those who compete against them. There is no hiding place for those who sit back, nor is there a place for bullies who cannot get the real buy-in of others.
A fascinating aspect of this and other reality shows (my guilty pleasure is The X Factor) is watching how some people step up to the mark, who learn, grow and develop. These people swallow their pride, listen to the experts and work hard to become better at everything they do. Those who believe they know it all or who major on blaming others fall by the wayside.
So will Donald Trump step up to the mark?
Will he collaborate rather than just dictate? Will he be fair rather than vindictive? Will he lead the people rather than just trying to manage? Only time will tell. Reality participants, of who he has seen more than a few, are difficult to forecast. People who seem ebullient wilt under pressure. People who claim to be expert demonstrate a marked lack of expertise. People who seem nice can turn really bitchy. And then quiet people can step to the fore. Aggressive people rein themselves in. A few such people step up to the mark and show themselves to be true and capable leaders.
Can Donald Trump do this? Or will he blow it? He has the potential to commit political suicide. He also has the potential to get a lot of people killed. Pre-judging achieves nothing. Only his actions will prove this particular pudding.
He has confounded us once. Perhaps he will confound us again. I dearly hope so.