The Puzzle Of 1968

A lab technician in 1968 helping with response to influenza. I don't want to be misinterpreted here. But the more I write, the thinner the ice beneath me. A crack, I just heard a crack. Heck with it. I'm going forward, slowly. I'll have to depend on your judgment and willingness to offer me the benefit of the doubt. Yes, I fully support the current understanding of Covid-19 and … [Read more...]

TTP: FuturePast

I happen to believe that the South Carolina Republican primary in early 2016 will one day be seen as the point at which Donald Trump's nomination reached a critical mass. After it, Trump's nomination became increasingly probable. The ability to turn in a different direction narrowed with each passing week. Here's why. South Carolina in early 2016 was a place with public opinion apparently … [Read more...]

TTP: Measuring Shadows

The magic number is 9. That's how many US Presidents have won a first-term in the White House, secured their party's nomination for a second-term, but failed to win re-election. To refresh your memory, here are the 9, starting with the most recent and moving backward: George HW Bush; Jimmy Carter; Herbert Hoover; William Taft; Benjamin Harrison; Grover Cleveland; Martin Van Buren; John Quincy … [Read more...]

TTP: The Moment Never Dies

One moment, one event, can live a long, long time. And if it happens on a public stage or in the public eye, the staying power can take on even greater magnitude. Once more, we have a shared point between POTUS 7 and POTUS 45. Well before any action they took in the White House, this moment had, in the public's mind or at least the collective minds of their followers, made Andrew Jackson and … [Read more...]

TTP: The Role of Ratings

There is a particular aspect of Donald Trump's approach to the presidency that may have been overlooked. Television ratings. Before 2016, Trump was steeped in the world of television ratings nearly as much as he was in real estate and commercial development. Television ratings form a key part of his way of separating success from failure, of what to do from what not to … [Read more...]

TTP: Stronger Stuff In The Glasses

"The Trump Rule" was a creation of mine back in December 2016. Over a tasty lunchtime fare of chicken and salad, I shared with workshop participants three stories from the American past to help them understand the emerging Trump Presidency. After each story and as the cookie tray was passed around the table, I offered a takeaway. The Trump Rule was one of my takeaways. I told folks that the … [Read more...]

TTP: An Open Letter To The Four Horsemen Of The Trumpocalypse

      I'm a big fan of them. For today I'll dub John Podhoretz, Abe Greenwald, Noah Rothman, and Sohrab Ahmari as the Four Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse. They're the commentators of Commentary, a magazine devoted to, as Podhoretz dutifully recounts in every podcast, "intellectual analysis, political probity, and cultural criticism from a conservative perspective." They are also fair-minded … [Read more...]

TTP: Thoughts Over Wine Tonight–The 1832 Election And The 2020 Election

Tonight I have the blessed privilege to enjoy a glass of wine with some very good folks. I'll be talking briefly with the members of the Westfield (IN) GOP Club at Wolfies in Westfield. My topic is as savory as the pinot noir--the lessons of 1832 for 2020. You see, I've maintained that Andrew Jackson was the first quasi-Donald Trump. So, it's natural for me to suggest that we can gain a lot of … [Read more...]

TTP: Taking A Pick-Axe To Nine American Presidents

A vein of resources lies buried in the past. With my pick-axe in hand, I mined for answers to a particular question: What does the past say about POTUS 45, Donald J. Trump, winning re-election as president in 2020? I explored the stories of nine American presidents. Each of them sought re-election to a second consecutive term in the White House. Each won their party's nomination but lost on … [Read more...]

TTP: Reaching Across Time: Four Thoughts on Steve Bannon and Duff Green

Permit me a few additional remarks on the commonalities between Donald Trump (the second Jackson) and Steve Bannon in 2108 and Andrew Jackson (the first Trump) and Duff Green in 1831. As you'll know from my recent posts, I regard Green as Bannon-like. Green was the moving force behind the United States Telegraph, a new kind of political newspaper in the 1820s and 1830s, one that featured scandal, … [Read more...]

TTP: Steve Bannon As Duff Green

I've spoken and written often about the connection between Donald Trump and his leadership forebear, Andrew Jackson. Jackson, in my view, is the first Donald Trump. I don't say that to go on a tangent that is specifically pro-Trump or anti-Trump, pro-Jackson or anti-Jackson. I simply maintain this position because I think it works, it helps illuminate the present and future. The new break … [Read more...]

TTP: The Similar Opposite

    TTP: The Similar Opposite Andrew Jackson as the first Donald Trump, Donald Trump as the second Andrew Jackson. As many of you know, I've been among those who have asserted that a link connects these two American Presidents. I also believe a link connects their opponents. The people who opposed Andrew Jackson share quite a lot with those who stand against—or "resist", to use their … [Read more...]

TTP: 75 Days

TTP: 75 Days Last week, on April 6, I spoke with a group of healthcare leaders from Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and North Carolina. I spoke about my constantly updating presentation, "3 Pieces of the Puzzle: Understanding The Trump Presidency Through Three Stories From American History." During the third story, I shocked the room. See photo above. "75 days," I said. "75 days." That … [Read more...]

TTP: Presidency on the Brink

For anyone who wants to know what it's like in the Trump White House, on the Trump presidential team, I have a book recommendation for you. Season On The Brink, by John Feinstein. It's a look into the world of former Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight. One season seems to last a lifetime. A few words from Season on the Brink that might apply to Presidency on the Brink: … [Read more...]

TTP: A Pair of Obamas at the Table of Trump

Pretend the past is a card dealer. It just dealt out a pair of potential Obamas at the table of Trump. Without doubt, the Presidency of Donald Trump will be affected by the post-Presidency of Barack Obama. This will be one of the most important and fascinating aspects of the next Stretch of River, the next set of years. Obama is young, healthy, ambitious, and eager to seal a legacy.  The … [Read more...]

3 Sharpened Pieces of the Puzzle

Here is your 2-minute video invitation to a leadership event that is like no other you'll attend in 2017. "3 Pieces of the Puzzle" prepares you to deepen your success as a leader during the Trump years ahead. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h0rkOVPmig When you attend "3 Sharpened Pieces of the Puzzle," I'll offer you three takeaways for your leadership. I call them Paddles … [Read more...]

TTP: The Presidents & The Judges–The Lessons of a Saturday

TTP: The Presidents and the Judges—The Lessons of a Saturday Today, February 7, a federal court hears the appeal of the government's attorneys on behalf of President Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration. You and I can find an important story from a Saturday in early March, 185 years ago. I invite you to stay with me for a few minutes while I provide you with a perspective on this … [Read more...]

TTP: The Trump Rule

TTP: The Trump Rule As promised, and promised, and promised again, henceforth and forever more shall it stand, drum roll, here is the Trump Rule: You must react to Trump's leadership in your own leadership. That's it. Underwhelmed? Don't be! Please remove your finger from that delete button for one minute...let me explain. Some of Trump's presidency is unique. Some isn't. Within the … [Read more...]

TTP: A Piece Of The Puzzle From 1913: The Trump And Wilson Inaugural Speeches

TTP: A Piece Of The Puzzle From 1913—The Wilson and Trump Inaugural Speeches I know, you're swimming (or seeking dry land) in the coverage of the 2017 inauguration of Donald Trump. And yes, I know I just posted a piece yesterday. I ask for forgiveness and pledge to keep this short. But I want to show you something. I've recently designed and led a seminar on using history to understand a … [Read more...]

TTP: The String-Cutter Escapes Through The Window

TTP: THE STRING CUTTER ESCAPES THROUGH THE WINDOW He was a President unlike any other, his long hair, wispy and unruly, waving in the wind, brushing the collar of his coat. It was after his inauguration-day speech, in the afternoon before the music and dancing of the inaugural balls later in the evening. Andrew Jackson—the first Donald Trump—dismounted from his horse and stepped into the White … [Read more...]

TTP: The Mystery of the Second Time

TTP: THE MYSTERY OF THE SECOND TIME I read today that only twice in the American Experience have we had a string of three two-term American presidents. Credit for this observation goes to George Will, a respected conservative columnist. Place this fact alongside my previous post, my explanation of our first Donald Trump-like president—Andrew Jackson. Do you have a guess as to when the first … [Read more...]

Meet The First President Trump

TTP: MEET THE FIRST PRESIDENT TRUMP I believe we've seen a US president similar to Donald Trump before. Allow me to introduce you to Andrew Jackson, seventh President of the United States. Other commentators have made the point, too. My arrival at this conclusion was done independently, after thinking through the histories of 44 American presidents.  Jackson and Trump share several key … [Read more...]

The Uniqueness of #45

THE UNIQUENESS OF #45 No question that Donald Trump is unique as President of the United States. But let's be sure we know precisely what is unique about him. It's not his home state or birth state. Seven other American presidents were born in the state of New York. It's not his pre-presidential career as a political outsider. If you define outsider as not having been elected to … [Read more...]

3 Pieces Of The Puzzle–My Upcoming Leadership Now Workshop

Tuesday, November 22, is a day I'm excited about. That's when, running from 11:30am to 1pm, I'll be doing a special Leadership Now Workshop at Capital Grille in Indianapolis. The title is "3 Pieces Of The Puzzle: Using History To Clarify A Trump President And The Impact On Your Leadership." The cost is $75 per person and includes an excellent lunch, meaningful fellowship, and powerful interaction. … [Read more...]

Some of the New Water Ahead

You'd have to be brain-dead not to realize that both the result of the 2016 presidential campaign and the campaign itself have opened a new era in the American experience. Some of you know that I call such things "a new Stretch of River." Part of the new Stretch is the water I'll describe below. Oh, and that's Justin Bieber in the mugshot. See where I'm going? Part of the new Stretch of … [Read more...]

Of Gaps and Horses

Well, the national horse race that is the American presidential election is nearing the finish line. I ask your indulgence on a final few thoughts. I'll start with 1912. When you look at Woodrow Wilson victory in the electoral college, it was a large span of victory. That span masked an underlying point of divergence from appearances--the opposition was deeply split. I think the same thing … [Read more...]

1+2

From strictly a horse-race perspective, here are a few of my near-final thoughts on the 2016 presidential election. First, as with so many other presidential elections, the basic fact that produces an outcome is turn-out. My gut tells me a lower turn-out favors Trump, a higher favors Clinton. But there's another pair of numbers that I think will matter, too. I'm referring to the pairing of … [Read more...]

Post-Election 2016 & Your Leadership

POST-ELECTION 2016 & YOUR LEADERSHIP Regardless of how the US presidential election turns out, we are in for a tumultuous stretch of time moving into 2017-2018. To most of us, it may feel rather like the biker in the photo. Recently, I conducted a special seminar on the 2016 election and an earlier presidential contest that I think offers some clarifying points for the road ahead. I believe … [Read more...]

Learning From 56 Years Ago

Heading into Monday's presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I recommend a look back at the only other televised presidential debate to rival this one in importance and impact--I'm referring to 1960 and the Nixon-Kennedy debate. There is something to learn here that affects your viewing on Monday night. First, like now, there was a powerful sense of old and new. These … [Read more...]

Coming Up On Five Months Ago

Nearly five months ago I posted on my blog that I thought the best way to understand Donald Trump's appeal as a political force was to look back to the phenomenon that was Bob Knight as an active college basketball coach. In the midst of what some are calling a "meltdown" of Trump's presidential campaign, I return to that point from early March 2016. I stand by it. I started out as a fan of … [Read more...]

Solutionism and 2016

Solutionism is one reason why Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for US President in 2016. I don't like Trump as a person but I do think that if we step back, we can see a very interesting reality at work. Take a few moments with me to delve into solutionism. I'll define solutionism as the opinion, principle, value, and belief seen in the act of solving. More than solving by itself, … [Read more...]

A Past Slice For Today

This is a 20 dollar gold piece from, you guessed it, 1854. You were doing one if you had these in your pocket. Let's take a slice from it for our use today, in 2016. In trying to sort through the confusion and strangeness of the 2106 presidential campaign, I've been thinking about an earlier time when the American political party system exploded. That was in 1854, the same year that freshly … [Read more...]

The Messed-Up Factor

Know who this is? Of course you don't. I wouldn't if I hadn't searched it out and posted it here. This is Chester Arthur, obscure President of the United States from the early 1880s. He is Exhibit A is what I'm calling my Messed-Up Factor. Part of the problem we're grappling with in the 2016 presidential election is the Messed-Up Factor. You see, we're to blame not because we're active or … [Read more...]

Water Tides

Like the currents and tides, events flow back and forth between the US and Europe on one hand and between the US and Asia on the other. As we move into the nominee/nomination phase of the American presidential campaign, I urge you to remember this. We saw this happen last summer with the radical Islamic attacks in Paris. I suspect we may see it again as the story solidifies of what happened to the … [Read more...]

The Ripples of Beer

I make history. That's not an egotistical statement. I literally make history--I write stories about the past. As some of you know, I talk about history being a partial reconstruction of the total past. So, in that use of phrasing, I make history. Let me give you a brief look into how I would make part of the history of the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton. In my … [Read more...]

My Number 33

We have a long way to go until November 2016. Countless things can and will happen, some of which will be unexpected and with deep impact. Having offered the proper qualifiers, permit me to suggest that the Number 33 could prove of major importance to Donald Trump if he wins the Republican presidential nomination. 33 or more specifically, one-third. I suspect that if Trump alters one-third … [Read more...]

A View Of Our Heart

I ask you to consider an analogy based on this photo of open-heart surgery. I'm not trying to shock or sensationalize. Let's think about a political event last week that will quickly fade from the scene. We had a moment when we looked into the beating heart of the American experience. For the equivalent of a few seconds, we saw one of the most powerful impulses that make us who we are as … [Read more...]