Ten of the 17 major candidates for the GOP nomination qualified to make the prime-time debate stage Thursday night, but it's real estate mogul and chairman of the Trump Organization, Donald Trump, leading the pack, with 19 percent of Republican primary voters selecting him as their first choice.
Trump, to be sure, is the most outspoken candidate on many topics, but his campaign also raises a basic question about the American CEO as an electable persona. Trump is not the first CEO to try trading up from the corner office to the Oval Office. Recent history offers examples of how candidates with business acumen position themselves during debate and campaigns, as well as to the limitations of the business experience argument.
Robert Litan, a nonresident senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, said Trump should continue to appeal to disaffected voters.
"I predict that Trump will mention that he is not a 'career politician' who may need to curry favor with special-interest groups," Litan said.
Being an outsider is a big part of the CEO appeal when running for public office.