New Delhi: Western Ayatollahs masquerading as liberals are as much outraged by Donald Trump’s election as by Barack Obama’s strenuous facilitation of a peaceful transfer of power to the incoming administration. Will the Ayatollahs win? Or is it the case that Trump will be able to overcome the challenges and keep the United States together and perhaps even make it stronger? Much depends on how Donald Trump approaches and manages the presidency.

Successful politics derives from a fine balance of form and substance. The balance is determined by the political campaign preceding the election and by the requirements of office. While the values deriving from the campaign may be adjusted and managed over the maximum two terms of the presidency depending on the President’s magnetic and gluing powers, the requirements of office are rather more rigid and constrained further by the Constitution, the sharing of powers with the legislature and judiciary, and by the constrictions placed by public opinion. Managing all these variables requires high genius, and this will be Donald Trump’s greatest test.

Form requires that Donald Trump abandons Trump Tower and moves into more modest dwellings in the days and weeks leading to Inauguration Day. The majority of Trump’s voters come from rural, impoverished America. They may predominantly be whites but blacks, Hispanics and other minorities also face constraining circumstances. Donald Trump is President of all of America and not just of the voters who voted for him. They would appreciate very much if Trump leaves Trump Tower and never visits it for the entire duration of the presidency. This is a small sacrifice for Trump to make. But it will make a big difference to America. The Ayatollahs will say this is a PR stunt. Let them. Donald Trump’s actions would speak louder than words.

Trump has taken a wise decision not to draw more than one dollar as presidential salary and bound himself further against availing long and expensive holidays. He should honourably abide by the second decision and not be swayed by family persuasions. Once you make a public commitment, you cannot break it on the sly. You will be exposed, and that will be the beginning of the end. Starting from The New York Times, every mainstream media outlet in the possession of the Ayatollahs has sworn to get Trump, and he could easily outsmart them if he stays simple and true. At some point, Trump will realize it is more valuable to be genuine than just being clever and keeping up appearances. The realization will make a powerful and lasting contribution to his presidency.

In line with staying genuine and true, Trump should keep his family out of the federal administration. Dynastic politics and democracy do not go together. They have damaged India as anyone can see. The George Bushs and the Clintons are more proximate examples to Trump of the rot that dynastic and family politics can bring to public life. Trump’s ex-wives and children should stay out of the administration and carry on with their normal lives. The Trump presidency must be absolutely and verifiably insulated and firewalled from their affairs and activities. On this point, Donald Trump should be uncompromising.

Now let us proceed to the substance of the presidency. For the presidency to be successful, the President must have a long-term vision for America. The vision would need to have several components. No presidency can be a total break from the previous one, and it should be clear to Trump that Obama was not defeated in an election for his legacy to be rendered valueless. The US Constitution simply does not permit a third presidential term. Trump has some important learning to do in this area from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Without fear or prejudice, Modi embraced all those schemes initiated by Manmohan Singh which he thought useful and valuable, including Aadhar. Similarly, Trump should be fiercely objective and pragmatic while assessing Obama’s schemes, including his controversial healthcare programme. If portions of them show promise, he should encourage and expand them.

At the same time as it is important to preserve continuity, change is also essential. True, Obama did not fight an election to lose, but his party’s candidate lost the presidential poll nevertheless. So with continuity, Donald Trump must bring change. And in change will be expressed his personal political vision for America. This vision cannot be licentious, because the continuity of the American nation, expressed through treaties, alliances, partnerships, etc, and via domestic compacts, has to be preserved too. The genius of Donald Trump will lie in diffusing and saturating his vision into this entire whole. He can work from a big vision to the smaller details or vice-versa. This writer prefers the first method provided prior minute study and understanding power the larger vision. The selling of the vision to America and the world is the second stage of the exercise. If the vision is original to the maximum that circumstances and situations permit, reasonable and convincing, and doable within modest timelines, Donald Trump will begin to be taken seriously.

Is all this possible? It has been done before. Donald Trump will be well-served to acquaint himself with the most successful policies and programmes of the most successful past Presidents of the United States. Here, President Obama could provide him valuable counsel. America also has a rich stable of presidential historians who could ably assist the new President.

Finally, there is the matter of the presidential cabinet. The success of presidential vision depends not just on content but on its sellers and implementers as well. A vision that finds no resonance and acceptability with cabinet implementers will remain stillborn. The President, his vision, and his cabinet implementers must all work in the same broad direction for the presidency to succeed. A lot rides on Donald Trump’s success. His rural voters are among some of the most genuine and decent people you can find in any community. Trump should redeem the trust they have placed on him. He should work for every section of America. The challenge he faces is not so much from the Ayatollahs as from being able to restore America to its previous greatness.