Sound Off! Idea of GOP Businessman President(s) Better Than Reality By Luke Perry
Pundits have struggled to find a good historical match for Donald Trump compared to previous presidents. A more helpful comparison may be similarly inexperienced and charismatic GOP businessmen candidates, such as Ross Perot and Herman Cain.
Their basic pitch has broad appeal- government is broken and could be run more efficiently like a business- but governing is not campaigning or business management. Trump’s vanity and tone deaf political instincts have plagued his presidency.
W. Bush didn’t concern himself with inaugural crowd sizes and conspiracy theories after a narrower victory and much scrutiny. Trump’s belief that Democrats would applaud James Comey’s firing was staggeringly miscalculated; his disclosure of highly classified information to Russian diplomats stunningly reckless.
Perot’s charts, Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan, and Trump’s branding (“Crooked Hillary,” “Lyin Ted,” etc.) were simple and direct. Now America is experiencing what a Ross Perot presidency would have been like. The abstract idea is much better than the reality.
America wants its democracy back.
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Professor of Government at Utica College. His column Sound Off! critiques various aspects of presidential politics.