His policies would crush the winners:
Like Google and Facebook, Amazon is under attack by European antitrust regulators. If Trump were really the economic nationalist he plays on TV, he would be defending these U.S. stars. But in his picture of the economy, these companies simply don’t count, perhaps because they weren’t around during his 1980s business heyday. Trump is neither pro-market nor pro-business, the usual Republican choices. He’s just pro-Trump.
He’s oblivious to most U.S. success stories. On just about any list of excellence — the most admired companies, the most valuable brands, the world’s supply-chain leaders — U.S. enterprises dominate. Nike has even surpassed long-time champion Louis Vuitton as the world’s most valuable apparel brand, a triumph for American culture as well as a U.S. business. The chemists coming up with new products at 3M or Procter & Gamble are no more important to Trump than the FedEx and UPS drivers delivering packages, the longshoremen offloading cargo at the ports of Long Beach and Charleston, the animators creating new films for Pixar, or the buyers finding bargains for T.J. Maxx. Whether you work for a U.S. company or a foreign company with U.S. operations, if you’re a successful player in a global supply chain, you simply don’t exist to him.
This is a candidate who promised to bring big steel back to Pittsburgh without considering why it disappeared. In Trump’s version of the economy, the only threat to established industries comes from diabolical foreigners and stupid U.S. trade negotiators. (Never mind that Chinese steelmakers already face nearly 500 percent punitive tariffs for corrosion-resistant products, with more tariffs for other types of steel potentially on the way.) He can’t imagine disruption that comes from changing demand or better ideas.
He’s an economic ignoramus, or a demagogue, or both.
But one possible good outcome; could he cause “progressives” to rethink big government?
Having watched the rise of Trumpism — and, now, having seen the beginning of violence in its name — who out there is having second thoughts as to the wisdom of imbuing our central state with massive power? Have progressives joined conservatives in worrying aloud about the wholesale abuse of power?
That’s a serious, not a rhetorical, question. I would genuinely love to know how many “liberals” have begun to suspect that there are some pretty meaningful downsides to the consolidation of state authority. I’d like to know how many of my ideological opponents saying with a smirk that “it couldn’t happen here” have begun to wonder if it could. I’d like to know how many fervent critics of the Second Amendment have caught themselves wondering whether the right to keep and bear arms isn’t a welcome safety valve after all.
Furthermore, I’d like to know if the everything-is-better-in-Europe brigade is still yearning for a parliamentary system that would allow the elected leader to push through his agenda pretty much unchecked; if “gridlock” is still seen as a devastating flaw in the system; if the Senate is still such an irritant; and if the considerable power that the states retain is still resented as before. Certainly, there are many on the left who are mistrustful of government and many on the right who are happy to indulge its metastasis. But as a rule, progressives favor harsher intrusion into our civil society than do their political opposites. Are they still as sure that this is shrewd?
Unfortunately, I’m not sure they’re really capable of thinking those sorts of things through.
[Update a while later]
“Even within the private sector, Trump’s background does not extend to the sorts of decision-making situations that would confront, say, the chief executive officer of a large, well-established corporation. Instead, Trump’s career, apart from his flings at presidential campaigning, has almost exclusively been about deal-making aimed at personal enrichment and enhancing recognition of the Trump brand name. Against the backdrop of U.S. history and past U.S. presidents, Trump’s personal qualifications are breathtakingly narrow and shallow, and his endeavors inwardly oriented.”
You don’t say.