In the past week, Donald Trump has emerged as the nation’s premiere case study of how not to lead–something we would be wise to keep in mind when deciding who we crown as head honcho of the conservative movement. If we can not, even after a bungled “red wave,” take a brutally honest look at 45, I’m afraid we are hopelessly beholden to him.

Saying nothing of his past leadership, the former president’s behavior immediately preceding and succeeding the 2022 midterm election has been downright embarrassing and childish.

Supporters and opponents alike know that Trump’s fatal flaw has always been his ego. When he was in office, his self-conceit often worked in conservatives’ favor. When the left hit, rather than cower into the fetal position–as establishment Republicans often do–Trump hit back. Since leaving office, however, his ego has lost its usefulness.

Now, he just spends his days gloating in self-proclaimed awesomeness, critiquing Republicans who critique him, and dividing the party by demanding that everyone with an “R” by their name fall in line with his petty demands. He has “put the fear of Trump” into the hearts of conservatives nationwide who know he single-handedly can–and will–end the career of anyone who dares cross him.

Instead of pulling for his own party, he seems to delight in pulling down perfectly good candidates–which is why we should ask ourselves: is Trump really the man we want leading the conservative movement?

SEE ALSO: Midterm Review: The Left is Intentionally Stuck on Trump

The first rule of good leadership that Trump has failed is a humble willingness to take the blame when something goes wrong and share the praise when something goes right. Trump does neither.

On Election Day, Trump declared of Republicans he endorsed, “I think if they win, I should get all the credit. And if they lose, I should not be blamed at all, okay?”


How does that even make sense?

I have followed Trump’s political career for more than six years now and heard him say some pretty egotistical things. But this was shocking even for him. Did he really say he deserves all the credit? 

Imagine his bizarre words in another context: the annoying kid on a team project who does nothing but cause trouble for the team, yet expects all the accolades if the project gets an A+ but to be recused should the project fail. No one wants that person on their team.

The red wave was unequivocally a bust. Republican strategists are rightfully questioning whether Trump is to blame (in the opinion of this author, he is). But even if he was not at fault, a good leader in the face of such a devastating loss would at least say something humble. Not “I should not be blamed at all.” That is the antithesis of leadership.

The second principle that Trump stands in gross violation of is an eagerness to share the spotlight with others and celebrate them for their successes.

Governor Ron DeSantis pulled off a stunning win on election night. His reelection, although predicted, was one of the only victories for Republicans and DeSantis became the hero of the party. Predictably, Trump could not stand to be out of the spotlight even for a moment and quickly launched into a series of unhinged, unprovoked attacks on the popular conservative governor.

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The drama began days before the election when the former president publicly nicknamed DeSantis “Ron DeSanctimonious.” Then, Trump said that if DeSantis runs for president, “I would tell you things about him that won’t be very flattering — I know more about him than anybody — other than, perhaps, his wife.”

After DeSantis’ second term was secured, a jealous Trump then published a three-page letter bashing the governor for no apparent reason. “NewsCorp, which is Fox, the Wall Street Journal, and the no longer great New York Post (bring back Col!), is all in for Governor Ron DeSanctimonious, an average REPUBLICAN Governor with great Public Relations, who didn’t have to close up his State, but did, unlike other Republican Governors, whose overall numbers for a Republican, were just average—middle of the pack—including COVID, and who has the advantage of SUNSHINE, where people from badly run States up North would go no matter who the Governor was, just like I did,” Trump rambled in one of the more absurd sentences to ever come from a president’s pen.

DeSantis may be the GOP’s best shot at the presidency in 2024. But he has become a threat to Trump’s personal ambitions and Trump would rather sabotage his own party than play second fiddle.

Once again, this is the antithesis of good leadership.

SEE ALSO: We Have Forgotten What It Really Means to Have Courage

Trump’s ego is tearing the conservative movement apart and is playing into the hands of the Democrats. As The Hill observed, “[n]o one is enjoying the public fight between former President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis more than President Biden, who if he chooses to run for another term may be battling one of the two Republicans.” 

“It will be fun watching them take on each other,” Biden sneered the day after the election.

“Watching them take on each other” really just means watching Trump rail against his own ally. After all, DeSantis–clearly the more shrewd of the two–has not publicly said a word against the former president.

These petty fights are all on Trump. They could all end–to the disadvantage of the left–in a moment–if only Trump had the prudence to get past himself.

It is safe to say, however, no one is holding their breath.

Jakob Fay is a staff writer for the Convention of States Project, a project of Citizens for Self-Governance.