Christopher Grey is CFO and co-founder of CapLinked, an online platform for connecting entrepreneurs and investors. He was a senior executive and managing partner in private equity, finance and banking for 15 years and directly involved in the origination and management of billions of dollars of debt and equity investments in various industries. He founded Crestridge Investments and Third Wave Partners, and was managing director of Emigrant Bank, the nation'sMore ↓Less ↑
Donald Trump could be exactly what this country needs.
Conservatives have good reasons to be suspicious of Trump’s unofficial Republican candidacy for president. He has no track record as in the Republican party. He is a reality TV star. His personal life shows that he is not a social conservative. He inherited a large amount of his wealth even as he touts himself as a self-made man. He is an elitist New York real estate developer with close ties to the financial industry all his life. He has a reputation for changing his mind at the last minute and changing deal terms during negotiations whenever it suits him. For all these well known faults, Donald Trump could be the best hope for Republicans to win in 2012 and also exactly what this country needs right now. Here’s why.
First, Trump is probably the only Republican presidential candidate who would have no trouble competing with the formidable Obama spending machine. Between his own money, wealthy friends, and his name recognition the amount of money he could bring to the table would easily match or exceed anything Obama could muster.
This is extremely important and should not be discounted. Many people forget that Obama outspent McCain by a huge margin. McCain probably would have lost anyway, but Obama’s spending was a major factor in how well he did. None of the other Republican candidates, even Romney, can match the kind of money Trump could bring to the table.
Second, Trump has mass appeal and incredible charisma. Even though he is a billionaire and a beneficiary of inherited wealth, he commands tremendous popularity among regular people from every demographic group, regardless of age, gender, or race.
His television show is a huge success. In one survey, when people were asked which rich person they would most like to be, the most popular answer was Donald Trump. His popularity is a function of his charisma, which is a powerful force. Obama also has mass appeal and charisma. None of the other Republican presidential candidates have it. This is stuff that wins and loses elections.
Third, Trump has taken some unpopular and courageous stands on the issues. He has spoken out harshly against China and Saudi Arabia. He has called for stopping the financial bailouts and reining in the big banks. He has even stuck his neck out on the birth certificate issue.
Whether you agree with him or not on these individual issues, his willingness to take these stands shows character. Character is important. Voters know that. Obama has clearly shown himself to have no character in the way that he has reneged on most of his campaign promises, even to his own diehard supporters, and continues to act like he has done nothing wrong.
Fourth, Trump is a fighter with a burning desire to be No. 1. He will not back down. He hates to lose. He will do whatever it takes to win. He has shown that his whole life.
Too many Republicans are overly concerned with looking good or wanting to win the “right” way. While principles and class are good things, winning is more important. If you lose, it doesn’t matter how you look. You’re still a loser. There’s no chance of implementing a conservative agenda with Obama in the White House.
Are there risks to the Republican party of Trump candidacy? There definitely are. He could turn out to be another Ross Perot. If so, he will probably never run anyway or drop out of the race long before he has any chance to win the nomination.
Or, he could turn out to be another Ronald Reagan. Before Reagan came from nowhere to win the Republican presidential nomination in 1980, many party leaders, including George Bush Sr., thought he was a joke. They called him a former B movie actor who was totally unqualified for the job. They made fun of him.
Well, the joke was on them. Reagan is considered by most people, even most honest Democrats, to be one of the best modern presidents we’ve had. The risk of losing this election and another four years of Obama is much greater than the risk of Donald Trump not being a pure enough conservative. For these reasons, he could the best choice that Republicans currently have if the goal is to win in 2012.