Donald Trump is not the first candidate in American history to spot a coming wave before others did, or ride a seismic shift in public opinion to the Presidency.
In this video, how they spot it, where they look.
There have been others, including Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, Franklin Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan. All of them transformed the established order.
Donald Trump spotted something a lot of other smart people missed. Ted Cruz thought he could leverage social conservatives to win a nomination. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush thought the Republican primary voters were pro-trade and pro-immigrant. John Kasich and Scott Walker thought they could win by appealing to main street republicans who for years have been the backbone of the party in red state America.
They missed something that Trump saw. George Wallace Democrats, combined with Reagan Democrats, combined with Tea Party populists had become a potent populist wing in the Republican Party. And they were in rebellion over an ever intrusive federal government, trade policies that shipped their jobs overseas, unbridled immigration, porous borders, and needless wars that were killing our young. Trump expertly exploited their anger. And remade what was once a ‘conservative’ party into a potent populist movement. Trump saw it. Others didn’t.
What is the lesson for candidates running for office? Before your campaign begins, dig into the data…census data, election data, income data, employment data and long term trends. And before you start talking, get out of your house and listen. Talk to the waitress working the coffee shops, the barber, hairdresser, the people shopping at WalMart, the taxi drivers if you have them in your community. If there is a surging wave on the horizon you will see it in the data, or hear about it on your listening tour. Just make sure your ears are listening.
I was watching Tom Brokaw on election night. Around 2:30 in the morning, when it became apparent that Trump had won, Brokaw turned to Chuck Todd, and said “Maybe we should get out of New York, go to the heartland and listen more.” No kidding Tom. You and a lot of other people.
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Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.
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