The Trump Dump

This blog was originally published on Forbes as The Trump Dump on Tuesday, June 21, 2016.

The big news on the political front is Donald Trump’s sudden and unceremonious dismissal of his loyal campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. In their dissection of the event, many media reports attributed the firing to a power struggle with the recently hired political veteran Paul Manafort or to a conflict with Trump’s children. Be that as it may, the real cause is with the message—and not the messenger.

Throughout the campaign, Mr. Lewandowski had advocated to “let Donald be Donald,” to give free rein to his core skills as media star whose most familiar restrain as the host of “The Apprentice” was “You’re fired!” This contentious character served him well in the year-long primary campaign against 16 opponents, attacking each of them, one by one, until they were all fired and he was the last man standing.

Having emptied his guns, he had little left to develop a platform policy. Of course, he did have sharp positions on the major issues in the campaign and he blasted them out to the public with his other media skills: debating, cable television interviews, political rallies, telephone call-ins, and a torrent of Tweets.

However, running a national presidential campaign is very different. That arena requires a candidate to have a thoroughly developed, vetted, shared, and tested platform policy that is expressed with clear and consistent messaging. How ironic that Donald Trump, who built his entire business career on branding, plastering the all-caps gold letters of his name on skyscrapers, resorts, neckties, polo shirts, and vodka bottles, should have forgotten this basic principle of business when he went into politics.

And so, for lack of a clear message, he shot the messenger.

This blog was originally published on Forbes as The Trump Dump on Tuesday, June 21, 2016.