The Player In The Zone

If you watch competitive sports, you have seen a player get “into the zone”. You probably watch with your afl merchandise, or whichever sport it is and feel like you’re in the zone with them. We have been fortunate to see the greatest players & teams get into the zone & achieve truly great success – Pittsburgh Steel Curtain of 1970s, Magic-Kareem Lakers of 1980s, Bird-Parish-McHale Celtics of 1980, then Michael Jordon’s Bulls on 1990s. These players will normally take some time to themselves with music on to get them in the zone. However, for younger athletes competing in team sports, coaches find that some athletes get into the zone by experiencing sports motivational speakers before their game. This gives them the passion to do well, encouraging them to play to the best of their ability. Everyone is different though, so different things will work for different people.

The one truly great performance we missed was Secretariat in 1973, the greatest horse to ever race. We have watched his out of this world 31 length victory in Belmont on YouTube. But we missed watching live his entire run from the Kentucky Derby to the Triple Crown and that has been a deep regret of ours.

We don’t regret that anymore. Because we have seen a truly unprecedented performance from an Athlete that surpasses every other in the zone performance we have ever seen. Because this performance means more & it has been delivered over a 3 year period against the best competition ever with deep infrastructure, virtually unlimited money and a massive organization.

Yes, indeed. The performance of Donald Trump over the past three years is the purest & greatest “in the zone” performance we have ever seen. Remember a definition of in the zone:

  • Athletes, musicians, and anybody that totally owns a challenge of physical and mental performance can be in the zone.”

Readers of this Blog know when we first saw it. We described this realization on August 22, 2015 in our article – Words That Galvanize The Electorate – Obama in 2008 & Trump in 2015?

  • “We are seeing the same phenomenon right in front of our eyes. This simple realization hit us like a bolt as we watched Donald Trump speak to a large crowd assembled in a football stadium in Mobile, Alabama. We saw the same phenomenon in his speech to the crowd in Derry, New Hampshire a few days ago.”

Trump was not only the player athlete of his game. He was also the Coach & Strategist. The game plan of this novice politician was better than anything Bill Belichick has ever designed. As we wrote on August 22, 2015:

  • “The efficacy of the message and its reception by the electorate depends more on the mood & desires of the electorate than the contents of the message. A Presidential candidate strikes a chord when his/her message is what the electorate is desperate to hear and if the candidate is deemed highly competent to deliver it. That was Obama in 2008 and it seems it is Trump in 2015.”

Remember comparing Trump’s skills as a novice politician with those of the great Obama was a heresy in 2015. But we saw Mr. Trump was in the zone in all aspects of the Presidential Election sport. So we wrote back on August 22, 2015:

  • “The fact is that the more we hear from Trump on real issues, the more we feel convinced of his candidacy.”
  • “His own persona, his stupendous success in real estate and deal-making – Trump wears them on his sleeve just as Obama wore his intellectual brilliance …”
  • “It is clear that Donald Trump of 2015 is becoming to his Republican competitors what Barack Obama of 2008 became to his Democratic competitors. None of them could match Obama in his vision & the appeal of his vision for the 2008 electorate. All of them waited vainly for the magic of Obama too fade.”
  • “None of today’s Republican candidates can even come close to Trump, his clear-cut message and his absolute credibility among the American people to deliver the vision they want – his vision. The best they can do is wait in hope that he fades. As long as the vision Trump is laying out for America works for the electorate, he will not fade.”

Remember this was on August 22, 2015, five months before the first primary votes were cast in the Iowa Caucus in January 2016. The only reason we made this huge mental jump was because we saw that Donald Trump was totally in the zone with his game plan, his style, his confidence in himself, his relentless physical drive to win the real big Championship and, above all, his total commitment to his message, the Anti-Obama message:

  • “Candidate Obama’s vision was to transform America for the betterment of the World. The electorate in 2008 welcomed this vision and elected him. Candidate Trump’s vision is to change the behavior of the World for the betterment of America. This is a vision that 99% of America wants to hear and believe in. If Trump keeps demonstrating that he can deliver on this vision, he could easily be out next President.”

It did not happen “easily“; but it did happen. A novice politician, a real estate Mogul from Manhattan brushed aside 17 Republican opponents and beat the combined might of the Obama-coalition and the Clinton machine to win the Presidency of the United States. In contrast, all Secretariat ever did was win 3 races in one year. Now you understand why we don’t regret missing the Secretariat run of 1973.

We watched the fantabulous & grueling run of Donald Trump from a novice politician to the President of the United States in the most intense, the ugliest no holds barred, contact sport in America. What sports fan would not enjoy it?

2. The Bigger Game – Still in the Zone

President Obama was indeed in the zone during his election run in 2008. But he very quickly fell out of it. In fact, the pinnacle of the Obama Presidency was his inauguration in 2008. It was incredibly giddy, so giddy that even he lost his mental balance, we think. Add to that the fact that President Obama had literally no idea of either what the Country needed or how to deliver what he wanted to deliver. So he became a captive of his advisers & strategists. No wonder, his presidency went downhill after his inauguration.

On the other hand, President Trump is demonstrating that he is still in the zone in the bigger game of being President of the United States. He may not have understood all aspects of governing, he may have made some mistakes. But the trueness of his message, his steadfast dedication to delivering on his election commitments and his ability to stay in the zone weathered the initial stumbles. He is now much more comfortable with his views being right for America, much more comfortable in his team. He has converted the Republican Party into the Trump party, a party dedicated to carry out his plans.

Look around the world to see how successful President Trump has been. America’s private economy is on fire, thanks to the Trump Tax Cut to a large extent. Not only did the Tax Cut benefit America’s corporations, it literally wiped out the competitiveness of European, Canadian & Asian corporations. As a result, capital is leaving these countries & flying out of Emerging Economies in billions.

You see the rest of the world is falling behind. Europe is slowing and seriously so; Chinese growth is also slowing hard. Japan remains post 1989 Japan. And emerging economies are being hit very hard. In contrast, wages are growing in America, the Fed Chairman can scarcely believe his luck & remains committed to raising interest rates which deliver greater income on savings of the large Boomer generation.

And President Trump is using the strength of the US economy to restructure the US trade with EU, Canada, Mexico, China, Japan & emerging Asia to both the short term & long term benefit of America. He knows that he holds most of the cards and his message is resonating both in America and in the world.

In contrast to Justin Trudeau’s theatrics at the G7, there is a conservative groundswell growing across Canada and he, the uber left wing dream boy, may lose his election next year.

Italy is now leading a Trumpian revolt inside the EU. What about Merkel & Germany – the global headquarters of Anti-Trump resistance? Merkel, who cried at the reality of her favorite President Obama being succeeded by President Trump, is facing a mutiny from her own Interior Minister and has only 50-50 odds of having a government next week, according to the New York Times.

And we haven’t yet talked about the summit with North Korea, this past Tuesday.

3. A life long career built for the Big Game

Everybody knows by now that President Obama was virtually a clean slate in 2008 in terms of any business or governing experience. As a first term Senator & a community organizer before that, President Obama found himself singular unequipped to either plan or do much. He had no background, no personal experience of any competitive business or governing combat.

In contrast, President Trump came into power with a life time of experience in battling stronger & wealthier opponents. Read his history and you will see that Mr. Trump was never the biggest player or the strongest player in his business dealings. Others were bigger & richer developers; the banks he dealt with were financially much much stronger & had far more legal muscle.

Despite all these disadvantages, Donald Trump survived & ended up a winner. In doing so, he became a master of using his personal brand to outwit much stronger, bigger & richer opponents. In other words, Mr. Trump knows most of the tricks & tactics weaker opponents can use to get out of trouble and survive or even win.

Now, after a life time of winning as the weaker guy, President Trump is the strongest guy in any dispute he chooses. He has the strongest, biggest and the healthiest economy on earth, his currency, the Dollar, is the reserve currency of the world and he has the most dominant military in the world. In addition, he knows virtually all the tactics weaker opponents can use against him & America.

No wonder President Trump is in the zone when dealing with disputes with other countries. We all saw what that can lead to in this past week’s summit in Singapore with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

4. President Trump with Chairman Kim Jong Un in Singapore

This summit shows why Chairman Kim came to meet President Trump and why he said this summit would not have been possible under any other President.

It is imperative to understand that Chairman Kim Jong Un is the one who is making the 180-degree turn in his policy, his father’s policy and his grandfather’s policy, the policy that sought nuclear weapons because they guaranteed the survival of the Kim regime. Chairman Kim understands that the same weapons now represent the greatest threat to the survival of his regime under President Trump. He knows and really gets that President Trump is ready to go to war if he does not agree to denuclearize. So he has decided to make a 180 degree turn and agree to denuclearize.

That makes Chairman Kim Jong Un a rare dictator, an incredibly smart & tough dictator who knows when to fold. But dictators who fold tend to lose their power and get sent away in one fashion or another. So it was imperative for Kim Jong Un to look like a winner in front of the world and especially his military and people.

How well did President Trump understand this? Look at the exquisite grace & impeccable respect with which President Trump behaved with Chairman Kim. It was not only for Chairman Kim but also for North & South Koreans everywhere to feel good about the respect shown to Kim and by extension to them. We think the smartest & most long lasting act of President Trump at the summit was the salute to a North Korean General.


Kim Jong Un may not be able to push denuclearization across his military unless they feel North Korea is being treated with respect & that their leadership is being recognized. Hence the salute.

What did President Trump give up in all this? Absolutely nothing. His decision to suspend military exercises with South Korea was very smart. It gave Chairman Kim a victory that was necessary. If Kim doesn’t follow through with his deliverables, President Trump can simply restart the exercises.

This summit and President Trump’s impeccably polite & gracious behavior actually makes it easier for him to bomb North Korea if they don’t come through. Had he begun attacking before, South Korea and the rest of the world would have rebelled in intense anger. Now if Kim doesn’t follow through, President Trump can say he tried everything; he bent over backwards for peace and that didn’t work. So he can threaten a military attack more justifiably than he could have without the summit.

Remember what President Trump said in his letter to Chairman Kim cancelling the summit? – “ultimately, it is only that dialogue that matters” – “that” meaning the dialogue between Trump & Kim. That is why the first & most important meeting of this Summit was a private meeting between President Trump & Chairman Kim.

This is a deal between two men, two leaders that seem to have come to trust each other. As long as that trust remains, the deal will come to a fruitful conclusion. Note what President Trump said – that the US problem with North Korean nukes is solved, meaning the US has ended the threat from North Korean nuclear-armed ICBMs to America. That, in itself, is a big deal indeed.

For us, the best signal from this summit is this clip from North Korean TV that shows Chairman Kim as a winner.


Look back & think a bit – If the victorious Allies had treated defeated Germans with grace & respect in 1918, would German psyche have been as wounded it was, so wounded that it slowly led to the rise of one Adolf Hitler who promised retribution.

Kudos to President Trump. It is a very rare leader who is so self assured, so confident that he can show such grace & respect to a lower ranked opponent who needs it. How self assured is he? Look at his demeanor when he did a free wheeling press conference on the White House lawn on Friday – a performance that even the New York Times called “a victory lap” over North Korean summit.

President Trump is a player in the zone and a very rarified zone at that. That is great for America.

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