A Diverse America Needs A Reality Show President

Patrick Basham | Director, Democracy Institute

Snooty types roundly mock Donald Trump’s suitability for the Oval Office. Exhibit A in the elitists’ prosecution of Trump’s candidacy is his lengthy run as a hugely popular reality show star. They ask how a misogynistic, mean-spirited, racist celebrity boss, infamous for uttering the cold-hearted phrase, “You’re fired!”, could possibly lead a nation as demographically diverse as America?

That’s because most critics of Trump’s shows, and of his behavior in them, have never seen a single episode. If they had, they would have seen Trump exhibit the leadership skills and management sensibilities required to be a true “diversity president.”

He won’t accomplish this task by abandoning his reality show persona. He’ll succeed by being the very same boss in Washington D.C. that he was in his televised New York boardroom.

Although heavily lampooned, both The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice provided plentiful evidence that America’s much-heralded social and cultural diversity will be well served by Trump’s election. This assertion is borne out by the many winning and successful contestants whose performances Trump rewarded without regard for their gender, race, age, sexual orientation, political views, or country of origin.

African American contestants favored by Trump over their WASP-ish fellow competitors included Randal Pinket, who won Season 4 of The Apprentice, and Kwame Jackson, chosen runner-up on the show’s very first season in 2004. Trump rewarded these impressive individuals for their hard work and entrepreneurial savvy, as he did Holly Robinson Peete, who was runner-up on Season 3 of The Celebrity Apprentice. In The Celebrity Apprentice’s fifth season, winner Arsenio Hall overcame runner-up Clay Aiken, the gay pop singer and liberal political activist.

On both Apprentice shows, Trump displayed personal and political sensitivities. For example, during Hall’s winning season Trump forcefully defended Star Trek actor George Takei, whose male teammates questioned his stamina.

Trump educated them about Takei’s innate toughness, the latter having survived a childhood spent in a World War II internment camp and an adulthood battling for gay rights. Thanks to Trump, both the celebrities sitting around their TV boardroom and the national audience sitting around their TV sets saw Takei in a new light.

On his shows, Trump enthusiastically advanced the careers of strong, intelligent women regardless of their age, race, disability, or personal history. On The Celebrity Apprentice, Trump’s chosen Season 2 finalists were the then-septuagenarian comedienne Joan Rivers, who was hired over professional poker player, Annie Duke.

Season 4 saw hearing impaired actress Marlee Matlin finish a very strong second. In Season 7, Trump hired broadcaster Leeza Gibbons over legendary Hispanic American journalist, Geraldo Rivera.

The very first woman Trump ‘hired’ on television was real estate broker Kendra Todd, who won Season 3 of The Apprentice. The show’s sixth season saw Trump hire motivational speaker Stefanie Schaeffer.

The writing was on the wall in Season 1 of The Celebrity Apprentice. At that time, Trump set out his tolerance stall, specifically his belief in the humane treatment of immigrants trying to make a better life for themselves in this country. To that end, he chose the foreigner Piers Morgan, saddled not only with being an Englishman but a liberal journalist to boot, as the show’s first winner over country music superstar Trace Adkins.

Throughout the many seasons of Trump’s shows, his respectful treatment of an incredibly diverse cast of contestants ran counter to the politically correct story spun by his establishment opponents.

The reality is the only thing that influenced Trump’s decision-making was the answer to the bottom-line question, can this candidate do the job? The obvious answer for pro-diversity voters is to hire Donald Trump.

Patrick Basham, a British expat, directs the Washington-based Democracy Institute.

Tags : donald trump patrick basham reality television the apprentice
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