In a recent commentary, Charlie Weaver, executive director of the Minnesota Business Partnership, lays out a number of economic reasons why the businessman Donald Trump is not making much sense (“Why Trump’s plan would be bad policy,” Sept. 2). The cost of wall-building and deportation and the loss of the current productive workforce places the noisy candidate — Trump on stage — in an economic theater of the absurd.


There is one logical explanation for this type of behavior, explained by the educator Laurence J. Peter in 1968. Trump forces us to revisit the almost-forgotten Peter Principle. In short, he is a textbook case of the successful individual rising in stature and position until he reaches his downfall, at the lofty level of his human incompetence.

To their credit, the media have continually revealed this about Trump.

We have witnessed his character: harsh attacks on women, Mexican immigrants and veterans. Yet potential voters (and those Republicans polled) remain transfixed by the angry trumpeting of the leading candidate. His rise will continue as long as a large body of admirers consider narrow business success and outlandish behavior relevant to the intended position: president of the United States.

Shall we see the Peter Principle through to its conclusion? I think not.

And Weaver and the business leaders he represents suggest that government, like business, would be widely dysfunctional under the terms of Trump.

Thus far, 16 other Republican candidates have generally tolerated Trump’s destructive, divisive “free speech.” By now, a potential leader could have intervened decisively on behalf of multicultural unity and human dignity. But, it seems, the Peter Principle is broadly on the rise.


Steve Watson, of Minneapolis, is a retired teacher.