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What role does charisma play in appeal

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    Assignment ID: FG133135985

    Donald Trump is an American businessman who was elected as 45th President of the United States in 2016, upsetting the odds and defeating the more fancied Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton. Trump was born in 1946, the fourth of five children, into a middle-class family with Germanic roots. He took over his father’s property business in 1974, aged 28, before turning it into a huge, sprawling business empire employing some 20,000 people and generating sales of $3.5 billion with a value of commercial properties totalled at $1.3 billion. The organization is now housed in Trump Tower, a skyscraper in Manhattan, New York. As a businessman his track record attracts comment because, while he is certainly wealthy, he has had almost as many projects fail as succeed. For example, a casino-hotel he owned and ran filed for bankruptcy in 1991; another hotel of his did the same in 1992; it happened again to his entire organization in 2009, and it almost happened again in 2014. But he remains a very wealthy man worth over a billion dollars.

    One of his characteristics is to both self-promote his achievements and yet seem ‘authentic’ in the public eye. This gives him the ability to appeal to a wide range of Americans, from the wealthy to the relatively poor, old and young. He hosted The Apprentice on US television for eleven years before declaring in 2015 that he would stand as the presidential candidate for the Republican Party. By using both his own massive personal fortune and his celebrity status to promote his populist agenda, Trump won his party’s nomination to be their candidate for President of the United States. However, both at home and abroad he remains a hugely divisive character. For example, Der Spiegel (the German magazine) has called Trump the ‘world’s most dangerous man’ and the BBC suggests that he believes the world would be better off if Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi were still in power.

    Although he has been widely mocked for what many see as the inconsistency in his policies, his apparent charm is based around portraying America and its current position as a world power as weak and disrespected. His election campaign was based on the claim that he and only he could reverse this position and raise American esteem again in the world. In his book Crippled America, Trump states, ‘I’m passionate and determined to make our country great again.’ The question so far unanswered is exactly how he intends to do this. In 2019 his focus is on building a wall across the entire 2,000-mile Mexican-US border, something said to cost upwards of $12-15 billion. As a comparison, the Berlin Wall built in the 1960s was 96 miles long and cost $200 million with inflation.

    1. Why does Trump provoke such extreme reactions in different people?

    2. What role does ‘charisma’ play in his appeal?

    3. What lessons could other leaders draw from the example of Trump

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