It is said that 2 things drive ambitious people: Money and Power. Those that prefer money gravitate toward finance and business where they can live relatively private lives with the comforts of wealth. Those that prefer power gravitate toward politics where they are publicly scrutinised, but get to impose their beliefs on the lives of millions of people. Chasing power occupies every minute of the day. Robert Rubin, the former banker and US Treasury Secretary, famously remarked that dinner parties on Wall St were so much more interesting than in Washington DC, because the conversation on Wall St ranged from Art to culture to travel to anything non-work related, while the conversation in Washington was about who is on the way up and who is on the way down….
So it is refreshing to watch Donald Trump, the Wall St money man, deconstruct the US political system. This system has evolved in a way which layed down rules of engagement to those seeking power. “If you want to be President then you must do the following…”, and the career politicians dutifully obeyed the rules. The rules don’t apply to Trump . He is different from the rest simply because he DOESN’T want power. Money is enough for him, and he has plenty of it.
The latest rule that Trump has wiped his feet on is deciding not to participate in today’s Republican debate hosted by Fox. The two reasons he gave were (i) he doesnt like the anchor Megyn Kelly and (ii) his presence is just allowing Fox to charge more for advertising space. Fair enough. His nearest challenger, Ted Cruz, said not participating is like ‘skipping a job interview’, Rudi Guiliani urged Trump to participate to “address his constituents” while Jeb Bush remarked that Trump cannot run away from debating Hillary Clinton (why not?). But these comments are just the point … to a career politician, debates are job interviews, opportunities to address voters and a way to confront your opponent. A money man like Trump doesn’t need a job and would simply rather not mix with people he doesn’t like nor make the Fox network rich (without taking a cut!), nor engage voters/opponents. The rules that dictate the path to power simply don’t apply to him.
It all makes for great pageantry, with the traditional gatekeepers of power – politicians, journalists – uniformly denouncing Trump as not serious and unelectable. But to those of us who view politics as a power game for egotists, and to the voter population, Trumps anti-establishment behaviour makes him look, like, well…A LEADER!