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What Local Candidates Can Learn from Donald Trump

Perhaps the most difficult thing for any candidate for any office is answering the simple, most basic question most often asked by the media, potential donors and voters: “Why are you running?”

Most – who cannot articulate their motivation at all, let alone in a 30-second or less sound bite – defer to the old, “I want to give something back to the (insert community, city, county, state or country here) which has been so good to me.”

Blecchh.

Compare that to Donald Trump, who last week, when asked by Laura Myers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal why he would run for president, replied, “The reason I would do it is because I love my country.”

OK, that’s the standard-issue response, but he went on…

“And the country is not going to be the country for very long if these same people who are grossly incompetent continue to run it.”

Yes! The Donald “gets it.”

Elections aren’t can’t-we-all-just-get-along Kumbaya moments. They’re about contrasts. And if you can’t or aren’t willing to tell voters that your opponent sucks, then why run against him or her in the first place?

In addition, when you, as a candidate, explain why you are running, it should be because you want to “do” something, not “be” something. Trump also nailed that aspect with this statement in the Myers’ interview:

“(The public is) tired of being ripped off. And every nation in the world is ripping off the United States. And if we stop that, we can have a great country again. We can have a thriving country with jobs again.”

Yes!

I’m running to stop people from ripping us off. Who would be against that? I’m running to make the country great again. Who could be against that? I’m running to help the country thrive again and create jobs. Who could be against that?

If only more candidates would learn how to articulate their reasons for running in this manner.