Power is never constant. It waxes and wanes day by day as the world changes. Leaders learn to live with that, and it isn’t always easy. Here’s a quick look at how power rose and receded for leaders in the news over the past day or two:
–Donald Trump gained power as a new national poll showed him virtually tied with Hillary Clinton. In fact, it shows him with a two-point lead among likely voters – a major surprise after weeks of polls showing Clinton with a near-double-digit lead.
-Donald Trump lost power as he suffers from his feud with Ohio Governor John Kasich. You’ll recall that Trump and Kasich engaged in mutual snubbing over the summer, culminating in Kasich’s refusal to appear at the Republican National Convention in his home state. Analysts now seem to agree that this election will turn on the outcomes in four battleground states, of which Ohio is one (the others being Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida). Making an enemy of Ohio’s highly popular governor, whose state GOP organization could help Trump but won’t, was not a wise move.
–Mexican finance minister Luis Videgaray lost power after his daring suggestion of inviting Trump to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto last week proved disastrous. It enraged much of the Mexican public and divided Peña Nieto’s cabinet. Videgaray resigned yesterday.
-Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte lost power when he realized he should apologize for calling President Obama a son of a bitch. The comment was exactly the kind of outrageous insult his supporters love, but when Obama responded by canceling a scheduled meeting with him, he apparently pondered his position. While the U.S. needs the Philippines as an ally in countering China’s expanding influence in the Pacific, the Philippines really needs the U.S. as an ally. For Duterte, backing down is major blow to his image. BTW, the two of them met very briefly at a dinner last night; nothing of substance was discussed.
-Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro lost power as an angry, pot-clanging mob chased him down – and the video went viral. For months he’s been in a desperate fight for his political life – and maybe just his life – as the country’s suffering worsens. When the country sees him on the run from his own citizens, his opponents gain courage and confidence.
Most of the observations on such ups and downs are clichés – uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, etc. But they’re a useful reminder to anyone who thinks he or she wants to be a leader that this is a leader’s life, and it cannot be otherwise. Aspire to it if you dare.
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