Maine used to have only one entry in the official political pundit’s book of clichés: It’s “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.”

It was a leftover from the days when Maine held its elections in September instead of November, giving us some Iowa caucus-like claim to influence over the process.

This week I saw a new one. In writing about the impact of third-party candidates in this year’s presidential race, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo wrote about a potential “LePage scenario,” which, he said, is what happens when “you have a widely reviled buffoon who is elected against a divided opposition.”

Congratulations, Maine! “Widely reviled buffoon” has just replaced “old codger who makes fun of tourists” as the state’s iconic figure in the national imagination!

The similarities between Maine’s governor and the Republican presidential nominee have been noticed before, even by LePage himself, who likes to boast “I was Donald Trump before Donald Trump became popular.”

You can see the likeness. They are both businessmen who ran as outsiders. Both have a reputation for “telling it like it is” even though they’ll make up as many facts as they need to when the truth won’t work. Both pride themselves on not being “politically correct,” which means that they are willing to say things that are cruel, obscene or racist.

But the similarities run deeper than that, and there is plenty the nation could learn from Maine’s experiment with this kind of leadership. It can be entertaining at times, America, but don’t expect to get much done.

A thoughtful Republican, who seemed to be trying to talk himself into voting for Trump, recently told me that he’s not crazy about a lot of what Trump says, but he believes Trump would shake things up if he were elected. America’s problems are fundamental, he argued, and the country needs the kind of disruption that Trump would deliver. This was also a key to LePage’s appeal.

Remember: LePage didn’t run for governor because he wanted to make small changes. He wanted a revolution: He wanted to remake welfare, education, environmental regulation and energy policy.

So how did that work out?

Where the governor could use executive power and act alone, he did. But when he needed to cooperate with the others, he failed repeatedly, especially after Republicans lost their majorities in the House and Senate in 2012.

LePage has succeeded in shrinking the welfare budget, but not changing the programs in any fundamental way, and his administration wastes millions through mismanagement. After Stephen Bowen resigned as education commissioner in 2013, the administration stopped trying to advance its education reform agenda. Three years later the commissioner position is vacant because LePage refuses to subject a nominee to tough questioning from legislators.

His successes in energy policy have been on defense, killing an ocean wind experiment and killing a solar power bill, but never achieving his dream of making Maine energy prices competitive with Southern states by bringing in gas from New York or low-cost hydropower from Quebec, big moves that require playing well with others.

He got his tax cut through in 2011, probably his signature achievement, but he paid for it by cutting aid to municipalities and school districts, putting the onus on property taxpayers. Question 2, a referendum on this year’s ballot, would create a 3 percent surtax on high incomes to raise money for schools, undoing LePage’s work.

When he wanted to do something big – like eliminating the income tax, something he needed cooperation from other branches of government to achieve – he couldn’t get it done because he doesn’t have the skills. That’s the problem with hiring someone to run a government who hates government. They don’t know how to make it work. They can’t make the kinds of compromises necessary to move toward a goal. There’s no give and take, just take.

That’s what the rest of the country can learn from Maine’s “LePage scenario.”

Trump is not going to build a 2,000-mile wall or deport 11 million people – not because he doesn’t want to, but because he can’t. There are too many powerful institutions in this country that would prevent him from becoming anything more than a dress-up Vladimir Putin.

A more realistic danger is that he won’t be able to do much more than yell and scream.

Look at Maine. We make headlines when a plant closes or our governor insults people, but other states make news by welcoming new industries like information technology or renewable energy.

Fundamental change takes more than a boss running around telling people that they’re fired. It takes the ability to bring people together and build coalitions. “Telling like it is” gets you only so far.

If “as Maine goes, so goes the nation,” maybe we should add, “but not if the nation is smart.”

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