(CNN)For months, Donald Trump’s success as a campaigner has perplexed most observers (including me). How could he defy gravity so long? But the longer his success in the polls goes on, the more it appears we are watching him through the wrong lens. Instead of looking at him as a politician, we should see him in the role he knows best: Celebrity CEO.
America has had a long love affair with CEOs who are strong, decisive, often blustery and take no prisoners. Jack Welch was a poster boy for tough-minded leadership at GE; his picture and advice on success adorned the covers of business magazines for years. Many thought he would be a great president.
Or think Indra Nooyi at Pepsi, Howard Schultz at Starbucks and Jeff Immelt at GE. As admired as Jack Welch was in his era, the board has been happier with an Immelt on the job today.
Ironically, Trump is playing the CEO card in politics at the very moment when it is becoming discredited in the corporate sector. That’s no doubt why so many business leaders are wary of Trump: They know that blustery strongman tactics ultimately don’t work well in today’s world. Maybe voters who are star-struck by Trump may change their minds, too.
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