Stanford Erickson: WHY Trump’s Views Resonate



Stanford Erickson lives in Vero Beach, Florida and is author of “Mama’s Boy Presidents: Why Do We Keep Electing Them?” His website is

BEFORE I WAS HIRED TO BE AN EDITOR OF ONE OF KNIGHT-RIDDER’S NEWSPAPERS, I HAD TO FLY DOWN TO THE  COMPANY’S HEADQUARTERS IN MIAMI to be interviewed by the Ph.D. psychologist who headed up its human resources department and take a standardized test.

Later, at lunch with this psychologist, he informed me I flunked the standardized test.

“Don’t worry,” he said, “I will approve your being hired. The best editors always flunk the test. Those who pass the test are generally programmed linear thinkers. The best editors think in all sorts of crazy unpredictable directions.”

Readers of newspapers today get upset with many columnists because they seem to promote the same causes and issues. Many professional columnists who appear on the left and right side of the page tend to be highly predictable in how they write about issues and, therefore, less interesting unless readers want to reinforce their own point of view.

A relative of my wife graduated from Harvard University. We attended her graduation in Boston. I told my wife once we were on the Harvard grounds I could predict nearly all the answers I asked the Harvard students. I mentioned to her a couple of questions I would ask them about national politics and social issues and then predicted what they would say. Sure enough, they answered how I predicted. In other words, our best and brightest often have been programmed to think in a similar fashion.

When I was a reporter for McGraw-Hill and later an editor with Knight-Ridder, I generally interviewed managers and owners of major commercial companies. I had a masters in business from Columbia University, so I was chosen for this assignment. What surprised me is that when I interviewed the owners of companies, they nearly all responded to my question about where their children had been educated by saying, “We had tutors educate them at home through grade school.” After hearing this response a few times, I asked “Why?” They all responded similarly. “We wanted our children to know they could fire the teacher.”

Owners teach their children that they own their own thoughts.

It did not surprise me when doing an article about Bill Gates, who founded Microsoft, that he chose to drop out of Harvard. Gates had an owner’s mentality and did not want to be programmed to think like a manager. Our best educational institutions generally groom and development managers to do the bidding of owners.

I personally have always had the mentality of an owner. Most authors do because we are owners of our own writings. I also always have gotten along with owners. They relate to me and me with them.

Often those less educated than our best and our brightest have more common sense than their educated betters. Why? Because they are less programmed. Why is Donald Trump doing so well? Because much of what he is saying is inconvenient truth. It is common sense. I personally probably would not vote for Trump; but I agree with many of his positions on issues.

We need a wall along the border with Mexico, and we need to take care in bringing in refugees from Syria. I just don’t want Trump to be the manager of our country.

By the way, Trump’s father was an owner, and Donald Trump is an owner.

Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Interview

Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc.



3 thoughts on “Stanford Erickson: WHY Trump’s Views Resonate

  1. Mr. Erickson,

    To begin with, your title, “WHY Trumps Views Resolute,” is syntactically incorrect. Perhaps you meant “WHY Trump’s Views Resonate.” (Note the possessive form of “Trump’s.”) Your “Resolute” makes no sense in this context.

    I suppose your “owner’s mentality” is similar to other business-school jargon like “non-linear thinking,” “thinking outside the box,” and “non-silo mentality,” among others, all barriers to optimal organizational efficiency. Granted, Trump embraces this attribute in the extreme to the point where he wants to “own” the thinking of his supporters—and he does. In other words, they accept his ideas without question and simultaneously surrender their ability to think independently. To put it in everyday terms, it’s either his way or the highway (lemming mentality?).

    Unlike you, I find certain of Trump’s ideas repugnant. His declaration that he’ll build a wall along the Mexican border and have that country pay for it is untenable. Imagine the outcry of ordinary Mexicans should President Enrique Peña Nieto say that Mexico will pay for Trump’s wall. Besides, Trump’s declaration is the height (depth?) of hypocrisy. At one of his building sites in Washington D.C., interviews with construction workers revealed that many of their coworkers were undocumented (see article in The Washington Post by Antonio Olivo on July 6, 2015). Trump has built his empire in no small part on the backs of Latinos, and Latinas now perform housekeeping duties for that empire.

    Trump is the ultimate “birther.” He still implies that President Obama is not a citizen, despite all the documentation that affirms his citizenship. He has further leveraged his birther credentials by similarly claiming that Ted Cruz’s citizenship is in doubt. Is Marco Rubio next?

    Of course, Trump’s most repugnant assertion is that John McCain is no hero “because he was captured.” This from a man who equates time spent in a military high school with McCain’s five years in a Vietcong prisoner-of-war camp where he was tortured repeatedly. And let’s not forget Trump’s military deferments during that same period.

    Bill Britton

  2. Pingback: Bill Britton on Stanford Erickson’s Article: “Why Trump’s Views Resonate.” | Vero Communiqué

  3. Pingback: Back and Forth on Stanford Erickson’s Article: “Why Trump’s Views Resonate.” | Vero Communiqué

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