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Sep 092015

Trump Pledge

“Donald Trump on Thursday, September 3, 2015 signed a pledge saying he will not run as a third-party candidate in the 2016 election,” according to The Hill.

“Insisting he has been treated fairly by the Republican National Committee (RNC),” Trump announced at a press conference upon signing that “he is pledging his allegiance to the Republican Party.”

“I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and the conservative principles to which it stands,” Trump said. “We will go out and we will fight hard and we will win, and most importantly, we will make our country great again, because that’s what it’s all about.”

Asked if he would change his mind, Trump said, “I see no circumstances in which I would tear up that pledge.”

Trump Brand

The RNC’s strategic move and first-offer albeit surprisingly public announcement at the Cleveland GOP presidential debates on Thursday, August 6, 2015, now secures Trump’s signed pledge with the aim of removing any potential third-party breakup of the GOP off the front-pages of the international newspapers and breaking news reports across international broadcast media.

“However, the RNC pledge is not legally binding and Trump is a wild card in the GOP race and committed to running on his own terms,” The Hill reports.

One must take note here as a brief aside that this election 2016 is more than just usual politics – it’s highly extraordinary in its exceptional complexity and historical uniqueness – especially given the possibility of the first woman presidential nominee in Clinton, or a RFK-McGovern last stand challenger in Sanders, perhaps going up against an outsider billionaire mogul in Trump to a first Latino presidential hopeful in Rubio, up against an establishment insider in Kasich versus an establishment outsider in Cruz.

This presidential election 2016 cycle is more than just politics, it’s social, technological, educational, and economic breaking news, impacting more folks than we can shake a stick at.

Most of all, this particular historical election 2016 is more passionate than the history-making election 2008 ever was in the age of demography shift and heightened engagements from the electorate.

Which party nominees, historically speaking, has won popular vote consensus? Considered in the appendix as low compared to previous party nominees, according to What Happened In The March 15 Primaries, by Nate Silver at FiveThirtyeEight.com, Trump has won 37.1 percent share in contrast to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s much higher 57.8 percent share of their party’s popular vote as of Tuesday, March 15 in the GOP 2016 primaries and caucuses.

Silver notes Trump’s GOP popular vote share should significantly increase with only three candidates (Trump, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich from the original 21 candidates at the Cleveland GOP presidential debates on Thursday, August 6, 2015) still in the GOP nomination race as of Tuesday, March 15, 2016.

As party nomination primaries became the standard in 1972 going forward, Silver adds George McGovern, significantly aided by his party’s new delegate rules, clinched the Democrats nomination in 1972 with the smallest 25.3 percent share of his party’s popular vote.

“GOP convention rules allow a series of ballots if none of the candidates has the requisite 1,237 delegates, and the eventual nominee would not necessarily be the candidate with the most delegates heading into the convention. But that is where Rule 40b would come into play, limiting the alternative names that could be considered,” reports The Washington Times on March 16, 2016. “Most of the fear of hoodwinking relates to Rule 40b, adopted at the 2012 Republican National Convention, which says candidates must come in with a majority of delegates from at least eight states before they can be nominated and put to a vote.”
Nonetheless, the RNC’s strategic move on Thursday, September 3, 2015 is classic high-stakes political gamesmanship, discussed below as the primary focus of this piece. But first, let’s look at how remarkably history repeats in centennial cycles in this country.

Teddy Roosevelt 2

Photo Credit: 26th U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt

We asked a century ago to “Make America Great Again!”

Thursday’s RNC political chess moves were specifically focused on Trump, the multi-billionaire business mogul running at a huge capacity of political brinksmanship.

As history a century ago could repeat itself going into 2016, a strategic option available to Trump to launch his own third-party presidential bid for the White House in 2016 is akin to 1906 Nobel Peace Laureate Teddy Roosevelt’s strategic third-party move back in 1912.

Some of you may already know, upon the assassination of the 25th U.S. President William McKinley, then vice-president Teddy Roosevelt succeeded McKinley as the 26th U.S. President in 1901.

During his presidency (1901-1908), Roosevelt was not only the Russian-Japanese War peace architect, but later on, he was the leading force of the post-war, then-original Progressive Era.

Writing thirty-five books, mostly related to his passion for progressive causes, benefitting America’s poor and working classes, Teddy Roosevelt’s ethos adhered to his motto: “to lead a life of strenuous endeavor.” Teddy Roosevelt passed his old-moneyed class ethos forward to the future generation of his namesake in President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who’s evoked Teddy’s same old-moneyed ethos of hard work, turning his own disability into the best of his ability, and by treating everyone with courtesy and respect, regardless of their status across the Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s social fabric. Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt neither exclusively used their power of their presidencies nor their influences to benefit the just moneyed class to a broader extent at the exclusion of the poor and working classes.

And, this old-moneyed Roosevelt ethos of hard work, self-made welfare and education, and one’s individual liberty “to be great again” that transformed the GOP party for a century, remarkably began with Teddy.

Teddy Roosevelt’s “Square Deal” domestic policies, like the Trump 2016 campaign today, also promised over a century ago to “Make America Great Again,” as the country reorganized itself post-Civil War between 1901-1908. The “Square Deal”  domestic policies brought about providing the average citizen fairness, breaking up greedy trusts, eliminating monopolistic business lobbies, regulating the federal railroads, ensuring clean food and pure drugs, conserving the environment, creating the Interior Department, and building the Panama Canal, connecting the transatlantic and transpacific oceans of the world, as a foreign policy focused south of America’s border in Central America.

Roosevelt’s 1912 presidential re-election bid eventually led to a rival democratic progressivist and Columbia University president, Woodrow Wilson, elected the country’s president.

Inasmuch as, Roosevelt’s own, Progressive “Bull Moose” Party, called for wide-ranging progressive reforms that Roosevelt believed his close friend and hand-picked White House successor, Ohioan William Howard Taft, as 27th U.S. president, did not go far enough in implementing those reforms as Roosevelt wanted.

As a result of the then-GOP breakup, the Taft Republicans have been the GOP establishment for about a century (in pushing for less government, low taxes to spur supply-side economic growth (aimed at 4 percent or an additional $2 trillion added to the overall economy after 2016), strong defense, sound national security, individual liberty, and economic efficiency in a pursuit of happiness).

About the same time, the Roosevelt progressivists disbanded into today’s Wilsonian progressivists (in pushing for “The 5 Es” — environment, energy, education, economy, and equality — and progressive income and corporate taxes alongside neo-Keynesian public borrowing to pay for them).

GOP 2016 Debate (29)

So, “Let Trump Be Trump.”

Trump’s meteoric rise in the presidential 2016 election cycle pulls from these five mass communication strategies. He can “attack, defend, counterattack, sell, or ignore,” says Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes’ expert thinking on mass communications in conveying “You Are The Message.” Mr. Ailes says if Trump sticks with defense, it will be “his weakest possible position.”

What voters now expects from Trump are broad strokes, largely about the country’s immigration and trade policies, across his large modern-day Monet painting of what will “Make America Great Again.”


Contrary to what the political pundits, experts, campaign consultants, and pollsters bloviate about across the daily news media, voters aren’t necessarily asking at this point for the details of Trump’s brush strokes or the chemical make-up of his paint mixtures. Moreover, his natural instincts say keep giving the voters exactly what they want. Trump knows they are the only ones that matter on primary day and election day.

Be that as it may, the public wants to know the broad messages on how we can right the ship. A majority of Americans now believe the ship is heading in the wrong direction towards a destination away from greatness.

Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc., speaks while announcing he will seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination at Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Billionaire television personality and business executive Donald Trump formally began his Republican presidential campaign today in Manhattan, saying that the United States has become "a dumping ground for other people's problems." Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Donald Trump

Photo Credit: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg. “Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc., speaks while announcing he will seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination at Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Billionaire television personality and business executive Donald Trump formally began his Republican presidential campaign in Manhattan, saying that the United States has become “a dumping ground for other people’s problems.” “

Three broad issues loom large in the minds of most Americans, as Trump is clearly painting for them in his “Make America Great Again” picture going into the 2016 election cycle:

  1. Immigration: Lack of a secure southern border spells immigration restrictionism, as a means to better secure our domestic way of life for 2016 and beyond;
  2. National Security: Seven of ten Americans see the upcoming Iran-Nuclear Deal as destabilizing to our national security. Just as much, the public is knowledgeable and concerned about what Washington is doing in this deal. And, the public wonders what is Congress’ substantive and procedural role here, and are our representatives really listening to us. The public clearly wants a better deal. Why, because they’ve watched our soldiers, as they have been continually killed by derivatives of Iranian aggression for a generation or about three decades since Reaganism back in 1983;
  3. Economy: Despite the federal government’s “full-employment across the U.S. economy” announcement recently, about 95 million Americans are still out of work, as the economy slowly steams along at 2 percent growth since the Civil War. Albeit, we are now working in a high-technology, high-growth era. This is because the government only measures unemployment accumulatively over the past 4 years, after which those out of work fall off the government’s labor participation calculations. Eventually, this causes the official unemployment percentages to fall to the surprising August full-employment levels. On top of this, full-force Obamacare 2016 and beyond will weigh the economy down by as little as $4 trillion and as high as $6 trillion dollars, according to a wide range of Washington beltway think-tank and Congressional Budget Office long-term estimates. So immediately, we will need to increase economic growth from 2 to 4 percent (perhaps even 5 percent) to yield an additional $2 trillion dollars annually to the U.S. economy just to simultaneously pay for social security entitlements and keep up with Obamacare chugging along its new entitlement tracks.

Mondale v Reagan 2

Photo Credit: President Ronald Reagan and Democratic candidate Walter Mondale during the second debate on foreign policy in Kansas City, Missouri, October 21, 1984.

Roger Ailes, a stellar corporate communications consultant back in 1984, told the Reagan White House Staff (particularly Reagan close aides, James Baker and Michael Deaver) to “Let Reagan Be Reagan” in preparation of his second debate on foreign policy in Kansas City on October 21, 1984 with Democratic presidential campaign rival Walter Mondale.

“You don’t get elected on details. You get elected on themes. Every time a question is asked, relate it to one of your themes. You know enough facts, and it’s too late to learn new ones now, anyway,” Ailes counseled President Reagan, as he prepared to debate Mondale.

This same advice also rings true especially now for Trump in the midst of a heated national election campaign amongst two dozen rivals.

Besides, the public can’t keep up with the information-age overload of too many details about where a presidential candidate wants to take the country right now to be great again.

GOP 2016 Debate (30)

When we “Let Trump Be Trump,” we hear his modern message more clearly through the loudest noise of attacking, defending, counterattacking, selling, and ignoring that are constantly in the constellations around his innovative campaign.

Trump’s first-offer not only has defined a third of the presidential GOP nomination pie so far among the hopefuls. But also, his first-offer charts new territory in presidential politics in the millennial age of mass social media technologies outstretching, outlasting and outreaching over conventional media communications.

Still, the RNC likes order not chaos. It always has, always will, even as it manages its way through modern outreach and diversity challenges across twenty-one presidential campaigns in the dawn of the twenty-first century.

At the same time, the GOP is strategically committing its political X-Factor in Trump to message forth its Roosevelt-Taft “Grand Ole Party” established principles in a new age of demography shift and heightened engagement of an increasingly diverse electorate.

As a persuasive messenger across public opinion, Trump relies on three aspects of public opinion management:

  1. His business and media mogul instincts,
  2. His overarching themes about immigration, national security, foreign trade and the economy, altogether tied to what the country needs to fix and steer the great iron ship (well before the ole’ captain ignores the cold of the north Atlantic and speeds up The Titanic into an iceberg, heaven-forbid), and
  3. His vast experience in negotiation and mediation practices alongside his gamesmanship and brinksmanship in crafting and closing “The Art of the Deal” with the American voter on primary day and election day.

My late Harvard professor, Richard E. Neustadt, counsels inside his classic, Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents – The Politics of Leadership from Roosevelt to Reagan, presidents turn three keys of power: to sign, appoint, and persuade. The White House is words of persuasion.

But also, as we now discuss below, The Road to The White House is strategic gamesmanship and competitive brinksmanship.

GOP 2016 Debate (45)

Presidential Hopeful Game of Limiting Strategic Moves and Options

Presidential gamesmanship and brinksmanship is a branch of political-economy concerned with assessing optimal decision-making of political leaders, when all of them are assumed to be rational, and each is attempting to anticipate the strategic moves of its political rivals.

A mathematical Nobel Laureate John Nash game occurs when each presidential hopeful elects a strategy that gives him or her the highest payoff in their campaign, given the strategies elected by the other twenty or so presidential hopefuls in the Nash game.

For instance, a take-no-prisoners’ dilemma game, elected by either U.S. Senator Rand Paul against Donald Trump early-on or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie against U.S. Senator Rand Paul later-on during the Cleveland GOP presidential debate last month, illustrates the conflict between self-interest and collective interest.

In the Nash prisoners’ dilemma game, each presidential hopeful takes on a “non-cooperative” action, even though it is in the presidential hopeful’s collective interest to pursue a cooperative action, much as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush or a Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker are generally currently taking in their campaigns.

A pure strategy, taken by either U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Ohio Governor John Kasich, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, or business woman Carly Fiorina, is a specific choice among various possible strategic moves in the presidential hopeful game of limiting rival campaign maneuvering options.

Generally speaking, what goes on among the presidential campaigns is a classic “tit-for-tat” game of “you play nice, I play nice; you play rough, I play rough.” In this repeated prisoners’ dilemma game, the presidential hopefuls might campaign cooperatively. The likelihood of a cooperative outcome is enhanced when the presidential hopefuls are careful in their numerous interactions, and cheating and backstabbing is easily observed, whereby any single gains on such strategic moves is small.

GOP 2016 Debate

Taking a closer look into the political sequential-moves game between the GOP establishment and Trump reveals that taking the first-move in the presidential hopefuls game has significant strategic value in the long run.

A strategic move is an action a presidential hopeful’s campaign takes in an early stage of the political game that alters the presidential hopeful’s behavior and that of the other presidential rivals in a way that is favorable to said presidential hopeful.

Of course, strategic moves tend to corner a presidential hopeful or to restrict a presidential hopeful’s campaign flexibility. But also, such cornering or restricting can have strategic value for said presidential hopeful.

trump 14

For instance, the RNC committed in advance to a political course of action in publicly asking GOP presidential hopefuls for a pledge of allegiance to the “Grand Ole Party.” Whereas, Trump has the surprising strength and flexibility to respond to the RNC. Yet, the RNC’s bag of inside political tools is twice as large as Trump’s arsenal to manage public opinion and the media.

After all, the “Grand Ole Party” has been at this game of inside politics for a century, since the old Roosevelt-Taft days of presidential politics. Albeit, the game was retooled and updated during the 1980 Reagan Revolution and its economic “Seven Fat Years” alongside some exceptional presidential persuasion and Michael Deaver image-making in conventional media engagement and outreach that “Let Reagan Be Reagan.”

Nonetheless, by surprisingly and publicly asking at the Cleveland GOP debate last month for a pledge of allegiance to the “Grand Ole Party,” the GOP and RNC strategic commitment in its first-offer in advance fares far better for them in the long-run, than for Trump to maintain his inefficiently outlying, yet subordinated publicly-stated intent, to remain flexible in the presidential race.

GOP 2016 Debate (33)

This brings forth a fundamental truth in high-stakes presidential political gamesmanship and brinksmanship. Strategic moves that constrains such decision-makers’ options can actually make a leader better off. In other words, inflexibility can win the day. This is so because Trump’s commitment can alter his rivals expectations about how to compete with him. This will cause his rivals to make choices that benefit Trump’s pledge of allegiance and its strategic credibility to the “Grand Ole Party.”

In the GOP-Trump game, when the RNC commits itself in advance to an apparently inferior course of action, like a pledge of allegiance, it alters Trump’s expectations about what the RNC will do on behalf of the GOP.

Had the GOP and RNC not made the strategic commitment, Trump would understand that it would have been in the GOP’s and RNC’s interest to resort to conventional “backroom deal-making,” which, in turn, would have induced the Trump campaign to resort to its “war-room deal-making” as well.

By committing in advance to the more overt strategic move of a public pledge of allegiance to the “Grand Ole Party,” the GOP and RNC are making it less strategically advantageous for the Trump campaign to expand its “war-room deal-making” capacity along any lines of a possible third-party push.

Put another way, this has the result of pulling the 2016 election cycle to a place of less chaos and more order that the GOP can ultimately control best towards a fairer process that is in the best interest of the “Grand Ole Party” in the long-run, as it pushes forward in the age of demography shift and heightened engagement from an increasingly diverse electorate.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, speaks as Jeb Bush listens during the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Photo Credit: AP/Andrew Harnik. “Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, speaks as Jeb Bush listens during the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday, August 6, 2015, in Cleveland.”

Sequential strategic moves, like those we are observing between the preemptive GOP and RNC and the follower Trump, impact how competitive political rivals make their moves as the 2016 election cycle unfolds later down the line. As military generals undergoing war-games have rudimentarily understood the strategic value of inflexibility, sequential strategic moves tend to force the Trump 2016 campaign into more predictability, which till now has charted into very uncharted territory of presidential politics.

More is to come, of course.

As Trump signals in his campaign message, strategic moves are relevant to his approach to foreign, immigration, even trade policies, as the nation’s potential negotiator-in-chief.

Taking stock of lessons learned about strategic moves in the Middle East, the Israeli government traditionally holds to a foreign policy of no negotiation with terrorists under any circumstances. This Israeli hard-line strategic commitment deters terrorist organizations from choosing the brinksmanship of first-moves against Israel by resorting, for instance, either to taking citizen hostages or to public killings of Israelis across international media in exchange for economic concessions, military arms, or release of political prisoners.

Like Israeli’s hands are tied, Trump’s hard-line stance on foreign, immigration, and trade policies actually tied down Americans hands in which unwise negotiation and mediation practices with those acting contrary to American interests are unwarranted strategically in his presidential campaign theme of “Making America Great Again.”

The GOP’s and RNC’s strategic move of pledging allegiance to the “Grand Ole Party” worked, mainly because it is visible, understandable, and hard to reverse. Trump observed and understood the RNC has committed to removing Trump from the early primary balloting, if he did not sign-off on the pledge.

GOP 2016 Debate (34)

What makes such politically-overt strategic moves by political parties and presidential hopefuls hard to reverse?

A key aspect is such strategic moves involves a commitment of a huge amount of specialized assets, which cannot be redeployed to alternative uses by either the GOP and RNC or Trump — specialized assets on the order of at least $1-2 billion to complete a successful presidential bid for the White House.

Given this, Trump must pull together a huge national organization, making it impossible to back out, unless his political rivals make the presidential hopeful game so bad that the Trump campaign cannot cover its average non-sunk costs of the campaign. These specialized assets committed by Trump implies that most of his costs are sunk, so average non-sunk cost is small.

This creates a strong incentive for the GOP/RNC and Trump not to back out of their strategic move of the signed GOP pledge nor Trump’s or any of the presidential hopeful’s bid. This is an especially acute commitment, as the GOP primary demands are insufficient to strategically support the options for more than one presidential nominee on the right and possibly one as a third-party independent challenge on the GOP nomination floor. That, in turn, would possibly induce a multiple GOP ballot nomination in Cleveland, which could benefit a possible home grown Ohio Governor John Kasich, who could possibly survive the presidential hopeful game turned into a food fight and emerge as the lone grown up in the room to save the day.

In this sense that a public GOP pledge or public RNC statements of intentions to take actions to remove GOP presidential hopefuls from the ballots of early primary states can also facilitate irreversibility, the signed GOP pledge is an “implicit contract” or “implicit promise” amongst all the GOP presidential hopefuls in the court of public opinion.

But especially so for the Trump campaign. For this is “The Art of The Deal,” which Trump is proud to pronounce is the core reason he’s built his multi-billion dollar empire, which must remain and survive his Trump 2016 presidential run – win or lose. Above all, it is about being, doing, saying, while Letting Trump Be Trump.

If Trump or the RNC cheats or reneges on the GOP pledge, either side or both loose big in the election cycle of presidential politics. For Trump, as the newcomer, has far more to loose by cheating or reneging, then the RNC and GOP establishment, which has been around longer and playing this sequential strategic presidential hopeful game for centuries.

Trump, his political rivals, and the voters now understand that the GOP and RNC are putting huge strategic credibility, economic commitment, and political risk on the line, if it fails to match words with actions.

Otherwise, erosion of public opinion will result, as it will be further evidence that talk is cheap in Washington, and the electorate will discount the claims, promises, or threats the GOP and RNC are making about adherence to a pledge of allegiance to the “Grand Ole Party” and its brand.

In the final analysis, strategic credibility of last Thursday’s public pledges of allegiance and public announcements of punishment for non-compliance by the GOP presidential hopefuls is enhanced, when it is clear that the integrity, reputation and trust of each presidential campaign and its candidate suffers, when it fails to carry out what it has signed off on in a GOP pledge of what it will do for the “Grand Ole Party.”

Failure to match political actions to pledged words now will result in a significant loss of face or reduction of reputation and trust by the electorate towards the GOP presidential hopeful, who reneges on the pledge of allegiance to the party and the general electorate.


Photo Credit of Painting: Water Lilies (or Nympheas) is a series of approximately 250 oil paintings by French Impressionist Claude Monet. The paintings depict Monet’s own flower garden at Giverny and were the main focus of his artistic production during the last thirty years of his life. The paintings are on display at museums all over the world. The one show above is displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.


Which party nominees won popular vote consensus?
History shows now in terms of popular vote share a potential Clinton-Trump 2016 presidential election contest could closely shape up, analogously albeit remotely in terms of say near “incumbent versus insurgent” nominees, as a reversed Ford-Carter 1976 presidential election contest.
Source: The Green Papers. Wikipedia, What Happened In The March 15 Primaries, Nate Silver, FiveThirtyeEight.com, *incumbent
Reagan* 1984 Republicans 98.8% (popular vote share)
Bush* 2004 Republicans 98.1%
Clinton* 1996 Democrats 89.0%
Obama* 2012 Democrats 88.9%
Nixon* 1972 Republicans 86.9%
Gore 2000 Democrats 75.4%
Bush* 1992 Republicans 72.8%
Bush 1988 Republicans 67.9%
Bush 2000 Republicans 62.0%
Kerry 2004 Democrats 60.1%
Reagan 1980 Republicans 59.8%
Dole 1996 Republicans 58.8%
Clinton 2016 Democrats 57.8% (as of March 15, 2016)
Ford* 1976 Republicans 53.3%
Romney 2012 Republicans 52.1%
Clinton 1992 Democrats 52.0%
Carter* 1980 Democrats 51.1%
Obama 2008 Democrats 47.3%
McCain 2008 Republicans 47.3%
Dukakis 1988 Democrats 42.4%
Carter 1976 Democrats 40.2%
Mondale 1984 Democrats 38.3%
Trump 2016 Republicans 37.1% (as of March 15, 2016)
McGovern 1972 Democrats 25.3%


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Jul 212015

Best Bush-Clinton 13

Retail marketing to ordinary folks now follows the “Rule of 3” on The Road to The White House. Clearly, at this early stage, U.S. presidential politics is about business-government relations in retail marketing. 

This is the focus of this brief summary outlining the current state of the U.S. presidential campaigns after the Federal Election Commission’s June 30, 2015 campaign coffers public release.

With the “Rule of 3” in public-sector retail marketing of presidential campaigns, as in any private-sector industrial market organization, there is always a “market stronghold leader with deep pockets” (e.g., a Jeb Bush) and an “entrepreneurial innovator, having technological uniqueness” (e.g., a Ted Cruz or a Marco Rubio), running up on the heels of a “cautious and efficient-market shaker, feeling a squeeze play in the middle” (e.g., a Hillary Clinton). 

In other words, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz lead the early “Rule of 3” Race in retail marketing of their U.S. presidential campaigns.

If a presidential candidate can reach folks that typically don’t vote and get them to vote for you, then that presidential candidate has mastered their retail marketing on The Road to The White House.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll, taken July 9-20, 2015 of 1,231 Colorado voters; 1,236 Iowa voters; and 1,209 Virginia voters, put former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton head-to-head against Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in three states: Colorado, Iowa and Virginia. 

In particular, Clinton trailed Rubio by 8 points in Colorado, 38-46 percent; and Walker by 9 points, 38-47 percent. The former first lady trailed Bush by 6 points in Iowa, 36-42 percent; and Rubio by 8 points, 36-44 percent. Margin of error in this polling is 2.8 percentage points. A majority of voters in all three states also said they found Clinton not honest and trustworthy. On this issue, The Hill reports, “a CNN/ORC poll indicated that 57 percent of adults said she was not honest or trustworthy, compared to 42 percent who asserted that she was. A Washington Post/ABC News poll put the disparity at 52 percent to 41 percent.”

Right now, the American electorate is signaling that they are fed up with the double-speak in the retail marketing of presidential candidates. Rather, they want some straight talking, some good old fashion retail marketing of persuasion for their vote.

So then, filling the void is a “X-factor market disruptor” (e.g., a Donald Trump), flanking from outside, using guerrilla marketing tactics, sometimes in deep background with an “entrepreneurial innovator, having technological uniqueness” (e.g., a Ted Cruz or a Marco Rubio).

Like the entrepreneurial innovator, the X-factor seeks to shakeup the entire status-quo retail marketing to a wanting electorate, asking for something completely new to listen to and enjoy as a leader in 2016.

Meanwhile, the Trump “X-factor retail market disruptor” is surging in the latest ABC News/Washington Post Polls, leading all twenty-one 2016 GOP presidential candidates at 24 percent, as of July 19-21, 2015, holding down a double-digit lead over the next leading GOP presidential contender, including a 28 percent lead in an Economist/YouGov poll survey of 1,000 respondents between July 18-20, having a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percent.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush polled at second place with 14 percent, followed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker at 13 percent.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson follows with 7 percent, then Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) with 5 percent.
Rounding out the top ten are Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) with 4 percent each, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former CEO Carly Fiorina with 3 percent each.
“Trump led the same poll two weeks ago with 15 percent support, meaning he’s almost doubled his total since then,” reports The Hill.
“There is clearly a core group of registered voters who identify as Republicans that has coalesced around Trump’s tough talk and proposals,” YouGov wrote.

Why? Because an assumption is that Washington political establishment-media is “reflecting public opinion,” when it is surprisingly not on Main Street USA at least for now very early on the Road to the White House.

As discussed at the close of this piece, trust sentiment polling reveals a growing divide between public opinion and the political establishment and media inside an October 9-13, 2013 Pew Research study and inside the Edelman global 2014 Trust Barometer of 27 developed countries.

In other words, the political establishment and media assumption that everybody is outraged “is always erroneous.”

Former Illinois senator Barack Obama was the new entrepreneurial candidate phenomenon that understood this back in 2008. Likewise, former California governor Ronald Reagan understood this too, as he was the enjoyable candidate to listen to back in 1980. History does repeat itself again in 2016, doesn’t it, in cycles.

Nevertheless, Republicans still expect Bush to eventually win the nomination by 36 percent of respondents of a July 18-20, 2015 Economist/YouGov poll. Walker followed with 11 percent, then Trump with 10 percent.

trump cruz 3 - Retail Marketing on The Road to The White House

With that context of presidential retail marketing established, these three U.S. presidential candidates raised the most money, early on The Road to The White House, as of June 30, 2015. According to the Federal Election Commission, backers pumped $230 million into the top three presidential campaigns.

Presidential campaign experts expect the winner who would become the 2016 president-elect will have spent more than 2 billion dollars in retail marketing to get to that extraordinary lifetime achievement.

At this point, family matters most inside the Roman Agora of the Presidential “Big Money” Games. Candidates with the strongest family connections to the White House are in first and second place.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, whose father and brother are ex-presidents, comes first with $114.4 million. Former first lady Hillary Clinton is in second position, having raised $63.1 million. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) rounds off the top three with $52.3 million.

Of course, the disrupting X-Factor challenging the “Rule of 3” Race in presidential campaign marketing is Billionaire Business and Entertainment Mogul, Donald Trump, who recently announced his net-worth of $10 billion, as self-made, self-driven contribution to his accelerating campaign marketing coffers, now standing at just $1.9 million inside the Federal Election Commission’s most recent public disclosure.

presidential candidates, money raised (FEC, June 30, 2015)

Here’s how the rest of the field of twenty-one presidential candidates shakes out in money raised as of June 30, 2015, according to the Federal Election Commission:

#4 Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator (R-Fla.), $40.7 million

#5 Rick Perry, Governor of Texas (R), $17.9 million

#6 Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator (I-VT), $15.2 million

#7 John Kasich, Governor of Ohio (R), $11.5 million

#8 Ben Carson, Retired Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon (R), $10.6 million

#9 Mike Huckabee, Former Governor of Arkansas (R), $8 million

#10 Rand Paul, U.S. Senator (R-KY), $6.9 million

#11 Carly Fiorina, Former high-tech business executive (R), $5.1 million

#12 Lindsey Graham, U.S. Senate (R-SC), $3.7 million

#13 Martin O’Malley, Former Governor of Maryland (D), $2 million

#14 Donald Trump, Billionaire Business and Entertainment Mogul (R), $1.9 million

#15 Rick Santorum, U.S. Senator (R-Pa.), $0.6 million

#16-21 (not ranking, as of June 30, 2015, Federal Election Commission release), George Pataki, Former Governor of New York (R); Lincoln Chafee, Former Governor of Rhode Island (D); Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey (R); Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana (R); Jim Webb, Former Governor of Virginia (D); Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin (R);

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Presidential Candidate’s Power of Persuasion in Retail Marketing

Presidential candidates turn three keys of power: to sign off on their retail marketing ads, to appoint great campaign advisers, and to persuade a wanting electorate searching for leadership. In the final analysis, The Road to the White House is quite simply words of persuasion.

Why, because our words create our world. Especially, words of persuasion by our presidential candidates. It remains to be seen as the electorate decides inside the voting booth, whether or not we actually agree with their words about the world they propose to create.

Presidential candidate’s power of persuasion is an art of using words in such a way as to produced a desired impression upon the electorate. The aim is strictly persuasion rather than intellectual approval or conviction.

Homer describes Achilles, as a “speaker of words, as well as a “doer of deeds.”

My late Harvard professor, Richard E. Neustadt, counsels inside his classic, Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents – The Politics of Leadership from Roosevelt to Reagan, “these are the (five) factors that produce self-executing (presidential (candidate) pronouncements) … lacking any one of them the chances are that mere command will not produce compliance.”

  • The first factor “favoring compliance (in retail marketing of) a presidential (candidate’s pronouncement) is assurance that the (presidential candidate) has spoken.” As our presidential candidates make the smallest missteps, or even gaffes, in the meaning of their words heard across a 24-7 online social media news cycle, the core issue of assurance is the presidential candidate’s (somewhat undermined) power of persuasion, that is, “you can’t kick the public to you.”
  • A second factor “making for compliance (in retail marketing of) a presidential candidate’s request is clarity about his or her meaning.” Who knows exactly what one X-factor presidential candidate meant to say when said candidate decided to use honestly freelance “blunt words” publicly speaking about the nation’s pressing issues during a presidential campaign launch from inside said citizen’s hotel. Especially now that the favorable national polling turnaround for the X-factor presidential candidate shows differently that half of the electorate does not really care what the political-media establishment thinks anymore.
  • A third factor “favoring compliance (in retail marketing of) a presidential candidate’s directive is publicity.” We can know definitely each of the twenty-one presidential candidates really believe their passive utterances anytime or anywhere, regardless of whatever context, will go exponentially viral in the atomic speed of social media in the millennial age, a modern phenomena that will indeed get him or her elected or not?
  • A fourth factor “favoring compliance (in retail marketing of) a presidential candidate’s request is actual ability to carry it out.” What do our presidential candidates want us to do with their retail marketing utterances about every single issue in our daily lives on a daily basis at every single moment of our lives for two long years?
  • A fifth factor “making for compliance (in retail marketing of) a presidential candidate’s request is the sense that what he or she wants is his or her by right.” Our presidential candidate has by right his or her power to persuade as he or she pleases on every single issue in our daily lives on a daily basis at every single moment of our lives for two long years. But at what cost to the electorate after the polemical (rhetorical) tsunami of presidential campaign retail marketing has been broken with a record twenty-one presidential candidate buses and entourages now on The Road to The White House.

GOP 2016

Shown in photo is a record fourteen of a total of nineteen GOP presidential candidates.

Campaign Branding Matters Most After Obama for America’s Remarkable Campaign Marketing.

Interestingly, several presidential campaign logos have made waves on social media. Logos nowadays contributes substantially to presidential campaign branding and resulting retail marketing persuasion, placement, promotion, and pulls for campaign dollars.

Hillary Clinton’s, in particular, has garnered some early criticism, which might be a slight contributing factor as to why her campaign may be lagging behind the Bush campaign in the early race for campaign dollars.

According to a poll by YouGov, Hillary Clinton’s logo is disliked by 55 percent of the public – the highest level among the candidates, followed by Rand Paul’s logo, which the public says it is disliked by 48 percent of those polled.

Largest favorability in campaign branding goes to Ted Cruz’s and Marco Rubio’s campaigns, whose logos are liked by 63 percent and 53 percent of the public, respectively. This definitely plays into how their early standing in retail marketing in the race for campaign dollars is so remarkably positioned closely at third and fourth places behind Jeb Bush’s and Hillary Clinton’s campaign marketing pull of dollars.

campaign logos of presidential campaigns

The White House and the New Diversity.

In the age of demography shift and heightened engagement, ethnic and gender diversity is the new vogue in U.S. presidential leadership, and even in Wall Street business relations with Washington’s K Street and the Federal enterprise.

With two women, including former state secretary, Hillary Clinton, and former high-tech business executive, Carly Fiorina, running for the White House in 2016, Pew Research asked Americans, if they want to see a female commander-in-chief and federal chief executive their lifetime.

Among that 38 percent, there is a strong partisan divide – 69 percent of Democratic women want to see a female president compared to just 20 percent of Republican women. Among men, those figures drop to 46 percent for Democrats and just 16 percent for Republicans.


Statista’s Niall McCarthy adds: “It is important to point out that the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency may have influenced Republicans, when it came to answering this hypothetical question.”

Interestingly, opinions on the issue depend more on party-affiliation than gender. Generally, 38 percent of adults in the United States are hopeful that a female president will be elected eventually.

Most recently, a June 2-7, 2015 Gallup Poll has revealed 93 percent of adults in the United States say they would vote in 2016 for a female candidate for president.

Be that as it may, the odds remain daunting with only two women and nineteen men presidential candidate buses negotiating The Road to The White House.

So, this begs a related question in business-government relations: Who Are America’s Best Female Chief Executives in the Private-Sector?

According to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ and Bespoke Investment Group, Marissa Mayer is in first place. The Yahoo boss comes seventh in terms of overall CEO pay, with her total annual compensation amounting to $42.1 million. Safra Ada Catz of Oracle is the second highest-earning female CEO with $42.1 million, while Lockheed Martin’s Marillyn Hewson completes the top three. Her annual pay is an impressive $33.7 million.


Times have changed for female chief executives in the private-sector. In fact, they now earn more on average than their male counterparts. During the latest fiscal year, female CEOs in the S&P 500 earned $18.8 million, substantially more than the $12.7 million paid to the male CEOs listed.

Public-Sector Workforce Satisfaction is Rising for the Next White House Chief Executive.

Interestingly, government employment is on the rise across the U.S. workforce, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics trends are showing going forward in the next seven years into 2022. So, any chief executive inside the White House will be leading an increasingly satisfied and growing workforce not only inside the Federal beltway in Washington, DC, but also inside the statehouse capitols.


Forbes and Statista asked over 20,000 workers at large U.S. companies, nonprofit institutions, government agencies, and U.S. divisions of multinationals the following question: how likely would they be to recommend their employer to someone else on a scale of 0-10? Their answers helped formulate America’s Best Employers 2015.

Top employers in government services, as rated by employee satisfaction (out of a highest possible score of 10, lowest possible score is 0), according to Forbes:

Fire Department of the City of New York, 9.25

Department of State, 9.13

Forest Service (Department of Agriculture, USDA), 8.95

National Institutes of Health, 8.9

United States Coast Guard (Department of Homeland Security), 8.83

City of Los Angeles, 8.78

NASA, 8.76

State of Arkansas, 8.72

Los Angeles County, 8.7

U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, 8.64

When it comes to working for the U.S. government, the Fire Department of the City of New York comes first with a score of 9.25. Benefits of being a firefighter in New York include lifelong medical coverage, up to four weeks paid vacation each year and a competitive salary that more than doubles in the first five years of the job. Read more on Forbes.


Any chief executive inside the White House will also be facilitating an increasingly closer relationship with big business on Wall Street. Google. Costco. Marathon Petroleum. The Container Store. L.L. Bean. These are America’s five best employers! Statista and Forbes have performed an extensive survey to discover America’s 500 best employers. It’s not a surprise at all that Google is ranked first, but who would have expected the Fire Department of the City of New York to be ranked in the top 20?

Top employers in the private-sector, including U.S. companies, institutions, and U.S. divisions of international firms with a minimum headcount of 2,500 employees, as rated by employee satisfaction (out of a highest possible score of 10, lowest possible score is 0), according to Forbes:

Google, 9.55

Costco, 9.53

Marathon Petroleum, 9.53

The Container Store, 9.51

L.L. Bean, 9.49

Baxter, 9.44

BMW, 9.4

Shaw Industries, 9.39

Wegmans Food Markets, 9.38

Harley-Davidson, 9.35

The 500 Best Employers in the U.S. 2015 were chosen across 25 industries based on an independent survey by Statista 20,000 American employees working for large firms or institutions have been asked if they would recommend their employer, or any other employers in their industry, to a potential employee.

More information and the complete list of the 500 best American employers can be found on Forbes.com or in the print issue, available from April 13, 2015.

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Whom Do You Trust in Retail Marketing on The Road to The White House?

Which political-economic institutions interwoven across our social fabric do Americans trust most or least in 2014?

By a wide margin, we put our trust most in small businesses with 84 percent of people now saying that they trust small businesses as a private merchant economic institution more than before, and the U.S. military, with 78 percent of people now pronouncing that they trust the military as an institution more than before, followed by churches and religious institutions with 59 percent of people now believing that they trust the church as an institution more than before, according to a new poll by Harris Interactive.

Notwithstanding the political seismic shift right on November 4, 2014, trust in Congress is plummeting, as 72 percent of American adults reported a decline in trust over the past few years, says the Harris Poll.

The White House has also experienced a major deterioration in trust, not only in the run up to the 2014 midterm election cycle, but also a historical record of twenty-one 2016 presidential candidates currently engaged in retail marketing on The Road to The White House. Henceforward53 percent of people now saying that they trust the presidential executive and Cabinet secretarial administrative institution less than before, the Harris Poll concludes.

In the run up to the 2016 presidential election cycle, here are 5 questions that have to be asked of the next legislative and administrative president and chief federal government manager in order to further our trust in retail marketing onThe Road to The White House, as a cherished institution:

  1. Have you ever run an organization of very large size and complexity?
  2. How many people have you overseen on a large scale and scope?
  3. Have you ever overseen a large budget and established financial integrity of a large organization?
  4. Have you establish a vision for the way forward inside and outside a large organization?
  5. Have you ever laid out operational efficiency of a complex organization and established incentives to a large labor force toward performance excellence over 5-10 years?

Well, that’s neither here nor there, as the person answering these questions for our trust remains to be seen.

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A Gallup Poll taken in the middle of 2013 concluded American’s trust in our branches of government separate in how effective and efficient we see their power. The legislative branch garners the lowest trust at 34%, compared to the executive branch at 51%, and the judicial branch at 62%.

“Congress needs a mindset change, an attitude change. Everybody just wants to fight all the time, and nobody wants to get anything done.” Former President Clinton said on Saturday, October 18, 2014, as he stood in front of a Hope, Arkansas revitalized railway station, at a lectern sporting an “Arkansas First” sign, and embracing political candidates he’s known for decades, according to The Associated Press. “This election is really about economics, education, and families. The rest of it is all smoke and mirrors,” Clinton said, adding, “Don’t let anyone fool you.”

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Photo Credit: Jerry Habraken / Associated Press. Democratic candidates James Lee Witt, left, and Mike Ross, right, watch former President Bill Clinton speak to the crowd during a rally at the train depot in his hometown of Hope, Arkansas. Saturday morning. Clinton praised all of the democratic candidates up for election and touched on topics such as the Ebola and healthcare.

Historical trends reveal overall we fell from a high of 78% trust in government in 1958 to a woefully low 19% trust in government in 2013 (and even trending downward in the run up to the recent Congressional election on November 4, 2014), see Pew Research Center Study, performed October 9-13, 2013.

The downward trend shown below represents a three-poll average of percentage of Americans saying “they trust the federal government to do what is right, either just about always or most of the time.”

Data was compiled and averaged from Pew, Gallup, CNN, ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, and the National Election Survey.

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These trust sentiment findings were additionally confirmed in an Edelman global 2014 Trust Barometer of 27 developed countries (including the United States), and involving 33,000 respondents (surveyed for 6 years in 20+ markets, and 9 years in 10+ markets).

Remarkably, the Edelman Trust Barometer reveals a striking 14-point trust gap between government and business.

“Trust in business and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) remains stable, as trust in government and media decreases,” according to the Trust Barometer.

In terms of percentages of the study’s respondents having “total trust,” and those having “trust a great deal” in 2014 [2013], the findings are as follows:

#1 NGOs at 64% [63%] (“total trust”) and at 23% [22%] (“trust a great deal”);

#2 Business at 58% [58%] and at 16% [17%], respectively;

#3 Media at 52% [57%] and at 16% [17%];

#4 Government at 44% [48%] and at 15% [16%].

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By and large, media and breaking news is increasingly driven in 2014 by your highest trust by a wide margin in search engines, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, and social media, like Facebook and Twitter.

Our levels of trust in sources of information, according to the Edelman 2014 Trust Barometer, rests in both online search engines and traditional media at 65%, hybrid sources of media at 54%, social media at 47%, and purchased or owned media at 45%.

When Edelman Trust Barometer respondents were asked about their “first source to turn to for general business information,” 30% said they go to online search, 26% read newspapers, and 21% tuned into broadcast or cable television news.

As trust respondents were asked about their “first source to turn to for breaking news about business,” 28% said they immediately search online, 20% quickly grab a newspaper, and 25% click the remote to their favorite broadcast or cable news television.

Finally, trust respondents asked about their “source used to confirm or validate information on breaking news about business,” 36% said they do an online search, 19% open up their newspapers, and 20% watch the broadcast or cable television news reports.

It is a real kindness to trust certain people with your secrets; they can feel so important, as they pass them along!”



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