Beating the Odds: 3 Leadership Lessons from the 2016 Presidential Election

Posted: December 1st, 2016

3 Leadership Lessons from the 2016 Presidential Election

Written by:  Jo Garcia | November 15, 2016

        I don’t normally take a huge interest in politics but, certainly, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were two candidates who were hard to ignore.  On election day, I drove over to a friend’s house to watch the election results; knowing that Clinton was projected to win by as much as 6%, I expected that everything would be over by 10:30pm and Hillary Clinton would be announced as our first Female President.

        As soon as I arrived and I saw that Trump had already won over 10 states, I was riveted.  And then, Trump won Arkansas.  I couldn’t believe it – Trump won over Clinton’s home state!  I couldn’t take my eyes off the TV.  When Trump won Ohio and Florida we all knew that he had more than just a chance to be our next US President: it was a likelihood.

        At 1am, the last polls had closed, and there we were, all of us hanging on to the edge of our seats to see who wins Michigan and Pennsylvania.  It was Trump.  Wow – with 290 total electoral votes – Trump won the 2016 Presidential race.

        How did Trump, an unlikely candidate who most of us didn’t think would make past the primaries, come this far?  I’m sure there’s a hundred different explanations, but after some evaluative conversations with friends and colleagues, three reasons stood out for me.   Each of these reasons are powerful lessons for any person looking to beat the odds in life and succeed.


  1. Believe in Yourself. Donald Trump said it himself, “If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.”   That couldn’t be more of the truth in the case of Donald Trump winning the election. It’s clear that everything successful starts with knowing that you can do something great.  Believe in yourself.
  2. Use Your Capital Wisely. Clinton spent almost double of what Trump spent for his campaign.  The Washington Post reported on October 19, 2016 that Clinton’s campaign raised over $1.3 billion dollars and, respectively, Trump’s campaign raised $795 million. Studying both sets of campaign expenses, it was evident that Clinton’s campaign had a significantly higher level of spending straight across the board.  In every expense category, Trump’s campaign just spent less.  It’s no surprise that within the first 48-hours of being our President-elect, Trump was already wooing one of Wall Street’s most respected financial experts: JP Morgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon, for the Treasury Secretary position. 
  3. Turn a Negative into a Positive. During the primaries, Trump was often criticized as being the least qualified candidate. In the Republican Party alone, Trump was going against career politicians like, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush.  Although Trump was known for his massive success in business, he had very little to virtually no political experience.  Trump’s campaign strategy was successful in convincing voters that America needed a change; that the career politicians who have been running our country were failing – we needed a fresh start.  And that fresh start was to get rid of the politicians and bring in someone new…like Trump. 


The election is over, and Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017.  How Trump went from being the underdog to winning the whole thing is nothing less than amazing.  These three lessons hold true for anyone wanting to succeed:  Believe in yourself, spend your capital wisely, and turn a negative into a positive.

The matters discussed here are general in nature and are not to be relied upon as legal advice. Every specific legal matter requires specific legal attention. 

The law is constantly changing and matters discussed today may not be the same tomorrow. Legal matters are also subject to different interpretations by attorneys, judges, jurors and scholars. No attorney-client relationship is intended or created as a result of matters discussed here. You should consult counsel of your choice if you have any dealings in these areas of the law. Volk Law Offices, P.A. and its attorneys make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the matters addressed.