Why did Trump beat Ted Cruz? Probably the biggest reason is that Trump talks purpose while Cruz talks policy and principles.
When people hear Trump, they hear a purpose that aligns with their purpose. I know I do. And it’s similar to the purpose Arthur C. Brooks explained in his great book, The Conservative Heart.
Ted Cruz never seemed to have a purpose, just policies and principles. Cruz spoke of abstract principles and left it to the people to figure out if those principles would make their lives better or worse.
To paraphrase Steve Jobs, it’s not the voters’ jobs to figure out how your principles improve their lives. In fact, if you focus on your purpose, you never have to mention your principles.
Here’s a great example of Trump’s simple purpose. At a recent rally in Portland, Maine, protesters with whistles interrupt Trump’s speech. Here’s how he handled the interruption:
Perfect. Pay attention to Trump’s words, because they will hook just about any sane adult:
And what are we looking for? We want strong military, we want jobs, we want good education and healthcare, right? We’re looking for the same things sort of. You want to have a good life, you want safety.
What everyone hears when Trump speaks is just that: jobs, safety, education, healthcare that works. When those things are in place, there’s a chance for living the good life.
That’s all people want.
This is really important to understand, folks. Purpose trumps policy. Actually, purpose determines policy. Principles guide policy, but neither policy nor principles can influence purpose. Purpose is much higher.
By purpose, I mean your end goal. Mine is this: to build a society where every person experiences the dignity of meaningful work, including jobs that give satisfaction and fulfillment, fostered by a government that protects its people and institutions from attack and leaves them alone to live their best lives, successfully or not. That is my purpose, and very few people oppose it. Who would say “no” to dignified work and freedom?
And here’s where the principle comes in.
History shows that constitutionally limited government, free markets, and fiscal responsibility are the best means to those ends, which is why I support those means. But that’s the ONLY reason I support those means. I try to keep the means subordinate to the end, even if I sometimes mix them up.
Trump doesn’t talk about his principles and doesn’t spend too much time on policy. His focus on is on his purpose, and his purpose is remarkably similar to mine and to Arthur C. Brooks’.
You can learn even more about this stuff in my book Turning On Trump which is available in paperback or Kindle.
Also published on Medium.