Whether you love him or hate him, know that Donald Trump is president because he has an instinctive feel for what messages are likely to move people at a given time.
He was an early adherent to the “birther” movement that tried to convince Americans that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. It wasn’t true, of course, but Trump had a feel for the emotional state of a lot of Republicans and conservative-leaning independents in the rural South and Midwest who felt disaffected by the country’s first African-American president and were doing whatever they could to delegitimize him.
Candidate Trump lent his voice to the anti-Washington forces sweeping the country, which enabled him to run successfully as a populist with little ideological baggage other than his assurances that he was the only answer America needed.
The fallout from the Me Too movement that has swept America following Trump’s election and the numerous scandals that started with Hollywood big-shot Harvey Weinstein and continue today with powerful male leaders losing their jobs and reputations over sexual harassment in the workplace have created opportunities for new candidates — especially women — across the country.
Last March, I was scrolling though my Facebook feed when I ran into a potent advertisement from Amy McGrath, a a retired Marine Corps combat pilot, who was running as a Democrat for the US House of Representatives in deeply conservative Kentucky. She was running onperfect for a time when Americans are angry and frustrated by the workings of the mostly male (and mostly Republican) Congress. Her message resonated with others who feel left out and bullied by their elected leaders. She ran a competitive race for Congress, losing narrowly to an incumbent Republican in a conservative district.
The ad came at the right time — in the midst of the sexual harassment scandals and at the beginning of a movement by women nationwide to run for public office as a result, in part, of those scandals.. Pretty powerful, right? It certainly caught my eye and I immediately sent Amy McGrath’s campaign a little money in support — even though I live in Massachusetts.
Bottom line: understand the mega-trends that are at work where you live and work and find ways to connect your business or organization’s message to them.
— BOB UNGER