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It's common to describe ruthless or devious politicians as "Machiavellian".Go down the list of Trump's controversial characteristics and you will find many of the qualities the cynical Machiavelli thought were essential for a tough leader. Trump can be a liar, which the Florentine philosopher believed was sometimes a necessary part of leadership. To say that Trump displays attributes that Machiavelli deemed necessary in the fractious, perpetually warring states of the 16th century is not to recommend him as a modern leader. The American public voted last Tuesday for Trump, perhaps in part because it shares Machiavelli's concept of strength, or as he liked to call it, "virtue".Machiavelli mocked the version of "political correctness" of his day. He thought most advice manuals for princes were nonsense, in calling for saintly goodness rather than strength. For Machiavelli, leadership was about the decisive exercise of power, not about morality. Trump's hunger for public affirmation might have worried Machiavelli.
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