Sunday, December 4, 2016
Ty Wright/Getty Images, BNN Edit
Donald Trump won’t be president for another two months, and yet already he is scoring successes for American workers, as the deal to keep a thousand or more jobs at the Carrier Corporation reminds us.
On November 30, a jubilant Sean Hannity, the Fox News host, tweeted out, “1000 Families will have a better Christmas & future because @realDonaldTrump cared enough to fight for them.” And then he added this apt jibe: “Where was @BarackObama—Useless.”
The following day, December 1, the President-elect visited the Carrier plant in Indianapolis. In his visit, thronged by grateful workers, Trump took time to highlight the good news: that is, not only the jobs saved, but also the $16 million in new investment that Carrier will make—which will, of course, ultimately create more jobs. As Vice President-elect Mike Pence said on Thursday, “Today America won and we have Donald Trump to thank.”
Of course, any success for Trump is a defeat for the MSM. And so The New York Timesstruck back, packing such loaded phrases as “frenetic activity,” “impulsive gestures,” “compulsively theatrical,” and “headline grabbing” into one of its myriad of anti-Trump stories.
For its part, The Washington Post was equally eager to undercut Trump’s triumph, suggesting that it was somehow un-presidential for Trump to roll up his sleeves and actually fight for American jobs; evidently, the Post prefers President Barack Obama’s “what me worry?” attitude of aloof indifference. Indeed, in June of this year, Obama, asked about the jobs that have gone overseas during his presidency, pronounced to an audience that “Those jobs of the past are just not going to come back.”
Oh, but wait, there was one time when Obama personally tried to get something done for the American people: That was his 2009 trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, to pitch Chicago as the site of the 2016 Olympics. As we all remember, he failed; in fact, Chicago was eliminated in the first round. As Hannity said of him, useless.
Returning to the present day, the Post insinuated this nitpicking commentary on Trump’s job-keeping success into the fourth paragraph of its “news” story:
Experts said no modern president has intervened on behalf of an individual company, a move that amounts to the nation’s highest office choosing winners and losers in the economy. Conservatives have long decried such incentive packages as distorting free markets, while liberals have characterized them as corporate subsidies.
For his part, Trump took time not only to rebut the quibbling, but also double down on his activism. That is, he promised to do it again if need be:
I think it’s very presidential . . . We’re going to have a lot of phone calls made to companies when they say they’re leaving this country because they’re not going to leave this country.
To be sure, a few media outlets recognized Trump’s achievement: The New York Postheadlined, “Donald Trump is already helping the working class,” adding:
Sure, it’s unusual for a president-elect to interject himself in the economic mechanizations of a specific company—let alone the economy writ large—but everything about Trump being the next president is unusual.
Yes, that’s a fair statement: Trump is unusual. But he just won a presidential election, carrying 30 states and more than 300 electoral votes—and in recent decades, that’s been decidedly unusual for a Republican.
Indeed, Trump can now be thought of as the opposite of a “lame duck”—that being a politician, still in office, who has lost his mojo. Instead, Trump has demonstrable clout even before taking the oath office.
In the meantime, it’s a safe bet that the average American is thinking to himself or herself: If it takes “unusual” to save my job and other Americans’ jobs, too, then please, let’s have more unusual!
So, even though his inauguration is nearly eight weeks away, we are learning more about how Trump will lead and govern as our 45th president. Specifically, we can identify a quintet of key characteristics:
- He will keep his promises and keep in close touch with his supporters, as well as all Americans. And if that means bypassing the MainStream Media, well, the MSM will have to deal with it.
- As befits the author of the classic book, The Art of the Deal, he will be a hands-on, deal-making activist on behalf of jobs and growth.
- He will adopt an inclusive, even magnanimous, approach to governing, befitting a leader who has pledged to be president for all Americans. And that means making room, at least a little, for even “Never Trump” Republicans.
- He will govern in a common-sense spirit, however politically incorrect.
- He will uphold center-right American nationalism, even if the liberal elite hates it.
It’s all starting to add up to something big—something that might soon be known as the Trump Deal.
Let’s look at each in turn:
1) Keeping promises, keeping in touch. Immediately after the election, the much-reviled TransPacific Partnership, which Trump had vociferously denounced, was tossed out the window. This defeat for “America Last” globalism came as a painful shock to Obama and also to his establishment Republican allies, such as Ohio Governor John Kasich, who visited the White House in September, as part of an obvious attempt to undercut Trump’s candidacy. Indeed, Kasich has been doubly pained; in November, Trump carried the Buckeye State by more than eight points over Hillary Clinton.
Meanwhile, the President-elect is on his post-election “Donald J. Trump USA Thank You Tour 2016,” emphasizing, yet again, that he is serious about keeping his campaign promises. For example, as he said in Indiana, “Trust me, we are going to build that wall.”
At the same time, his social-media machine continues to churn, leaving the MSM to spin its wheels. In a revealing November 29 Breitbart piece headlined, “Under the Hood: How Donald Trump Has Cut Around Corporate Media to Reach Millions Directly Online,” reporter Matthew Boyle summed up the efforts of Trump social media director Dan Scavino: During the campaign, Scavino oversaw an operation that generated 21 billion Facebook impressions, 1.3 billion video views, and nearly 50 million “likes.” Meanwhile, on Twitter, Trump’s posts, beaming out to 16.2 million followers, enjoyed nearly nine billion impressions. All in all, 36 million people were within his personal social media reach.
Yet the heart of this social-media cornucopia was Trump himself. As Scavino put it,
The success to our social media platforms comes directly from then-candidate, and now President-elect of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump. It is all Mr. Trump and his messaging. Whether Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram platforms, Mr. Trump is directly involved with our social media messaging. He loves communicating with the American people, and he loves seeing what is going out.
Which is to say, any curious American, fan or foe, can click on “All Trump, all the time.” Of course, Trump’s instant accessibility is bothersome to the MSM, which has enjoyed its “gatekeeper” function for so long. To which millions of Americans might say, “Too bad!”
Indeed, some are even willing to take this new-media reality to the next level. As Sean Hannity, a leading Trump ally, has boldly suggested, perhaps Trump doesn’t need the MSM at all anymore. Hannity says of the press:
They lie. They’re corrupt. They’re dishonest. They collude. They’re all in this hyperventilating mode about “fake news” now, but they are fake news. That’s them. It’s now on display for the world to see.
Then the Fox man added this bombshell of a recommendation:
I suggested the other day that if any of these organizations were involved in collusion with the Clinton campaign, why do they get a seat in the White House press office? Why does Donald Trump need a White House press office?
These are, indeed, provocative questions. The rest of us can observe: If the MSM is relentlessly hostile, and if Trump can reach the American people without the MSM, then the logic of Hannity’s argument starts to come into focus.
2) Deal-making activist. Already, since the election, the stock market is up, hiring is up, consumer confidence is up to the highest level in nearly a decade, surveys of Wall Street analysts show widespread optimism, and the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development has raised its growth forecast for the US economy.
Still, it’s worth recalling that Trump isn’t even president; he hasn’t had a chance, yet, to implement the promises he made at Gettysburg, PA on October 22, including, “lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion worth of job-producing American energy reserves.” That is, energy resources currently strangled by government red tape. Yet even now, investors are factoring Trump’s pro-growth policies into their bullish projections.
We might note that Trump will not be the only big-thinking deal-maker in his administration. As Politico reported on November 30, Trump’s choice of Steven Mnuchin as the next treasury secretary comes with Mnuchin’s declaration that new investments in infrastructure will be a “high priority.”
In addition, Mnuchin strongly praised Trump’s work to keep Carrier in Indiana, labeling it “terrific,” recalling,
The president-elect and the vice president-elect picked up the phone and called the CEO of the United Technologies and told them we want to keep jobs here. Can’t remember the last time a president did that and this is going to be a terrific opportunity.
Moreover, Mnuchin suggested that more such deals would be in the making. To be sure, the Carrier deal is “only” 1000 jobs, in an economy that employs 124.7 million. So yes, of course, America not only needs better deal-making, it also needs better policy-making. And the Trump-Pence administration pledges just that: tax reduction and reform, deregulation, and more energy production, just for starters.
As Trump said on December 1, his mission is to “reverse the stagnation and usher in a period of prosperity and growth.” Then he added:
We’ll compete in the world, we want to compete in the world, but we’re going to compete in the world where it’s a two-way road, not a one-way road. The advantages are going to come back to our country, and they haven’t for many, many years.
And once again, political hope is on its way to becoming an administration-wide policy reality. Here’s the front-page headline in The Washington Post: “Trump nominees map out plans for tax cuts, trade and Carrier-style negotiations.” As Mnuchin also noted:
It starts with an attitude of this administration. This president, this vice president-elect is going to have open communications with business leaders.
Needless to say, Trump’s deal-making for jobs and profits horrifies ivory-tower ideologues and Trump haters. Here, for example, is a tweet in response to the Carrier deal from Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), a hardcore libertarian:
Not the president-elect’s job. We live in a constitutional republic, not an autocracy. Business-specific meddling shouldn’t be normalized.
And The Wall Street Journal editorial page—long a hotbed of Never Trump globalism—also chimed in with a critique. Reading their words, an ordinary American might fairly conclude: These libertarian ideologues care more about their intellectual abstractions than flesh-and-blood workers. And we might further note that such intellectual abstractions have a funny way of always serving the interests of Wall Street globalists.
Meanwhile, many on the left also criticized the deal, including Binyamin Applebaum of The New York Times:
It is impossible to assess the merits of the Carrier deal until we know why the company changed its mind–and at what cost to taxpayers.
And Ralph Nader, too, tut-tutted.
Yet even so, some practical-minded Democrats are climbing on board the Trump Express. Here are the words of Virginia’s Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe, a longtime supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton:
Defense spending, infrastructure—if we can work together on those things, we’re gonna have a good, healthy relationship. The elections are over. Politics is done. Let’s get to work.
One needn’t be fond of McAuliffe nonetheless to recognize this reality: When leaders work together on behalf of job-creating projects, well, it’s more likely that jobs indeed will be created.
Indeed, one can see an emerging political model of, yes, Putting America First. As Trump said on his trip, “Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences.” And that means that the breezy assumption—so dominant during the Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama administrations—that outsourcing and offshoring are inevitable, even desirable, is over.
In fact, across the country, it’s likely that vulnerable American workers are delighted: Finally, a president who remembers the Forgotten Man, and the Forgotten Woman.
3) Inclusive approach to governing. Here we can start by recalling Trump’s selection of Mike Pence as his running mate; Pence, of course, is not only from the heartland, but also straight from the heart of the GOP. And there was the choice also of another insider, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, to be White House chief of staff.
Most recently, we can note Trump’s selection of Elaine Chao—a presidential appointee in the last three Republican administrations—as his secretary of transportation. (Chao, of course, is also the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.)
And then there’s the case of Mitt “Never Trump” Romney. If Trump can forgive him, and even share a cozy meal, then obviously he has the capacity to forgive, and perhaps include, anyone.
Once again, not everyone will appreciate every last one of Trump’s personal, or personnel, choices. But our purpose here is not to praise what Trump does but, rather, to inventory the early clues we are seeing about his governing style. And mixing in GOP insiders is definitely a part of that style.
4) New spirit of common sense. As George Orwell once put it, “The heresy of heresies is common sense.” As for Trump, his entire campaign has been about common sense, starting with such obvious goals as closing the border to terrorists, standing up for law and order, and rebuilding America’s infrastructure.
Indeed, the post-election evidence indicates that Trump’s approach is winning people over, despite the polarization and hard feelings of the last year. And that seems to be a testament to the gut appeal of his commonsensical approach.
Of course, with Trump, a lot of it starts with Twitter. And that’s wise, because as we know, the MSM hasn’t gotten any friendlier.
And so, operating outside of the MSM’s onetime monopoly, Trump has gotten to work. On November 21, for example, he placed a condolence call to the family of slain San Antonio police officer Benjamin Marconi. (Not only did Obama not call, but it’s a safe bet that nobody in the White House even thought to suggest it.)
More recently, Trump has taken up the issue of burning the American flag: He’s against it, and he thinks flag-burners should be punished. Of course, the President-elect’s stance on basic patriotism has evoked much pearl-clutching among establishmentarians; they declare that even the most odious anti-American behavior is “protected free speech.”
Yet what these pearl-clutchers don’t say is that burning Old Glory has only been “protected speech” since a 1989 Supreme Court decision. And as we all know, the Court can reverse itself at any time—and perhaps a Trumpified SCOTUS will do just that.
In addition, Trump undoubtedly spoke for the vast majority of Americans when he tweeted out, in the wake of the latest incident of domestic terrorism, at Ohio State University on November 28, that the Somali refugee who committed the attack “should not have been in our country.” We can add: There aren’t enough NPR reporters in the country to talk the average American out of agreeing with Trump on that one.
As Trump said in Cincinnati on December 1, our current immigration and asylum policies have been “stupidly created by our very stupid politicians.” And he further pledged, “We will suspend immigration from regions where it cannot be safely processed.” We can add that this paradigm-shift is especially urgent since the Obama administration is in the process of admitting thousands of potentially dangerous refugees that have been rejected by Australia. That’s right: Under current policy, we are now taking an allied country’s rejects.
Now let’s look at another f’rinstance that illuminates how Trump thinks, on the one hand, and how the MSM thinks, on the other. Here’s a headline from the left-wing magazine, The New Republic, on November 30: “What Will Happen to Chelsea Manning Under President Trump? Trump has threatened to review the military’s transgender policies, putting the whistleblower’s future at risk.”
We all recall the case of Chelsea Manning, aka Bradley Manning, the Army soldier who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents in 2010. Manning was prosecuted under the Espionage Act and sentenced to 35 years in prison.
And once in prison, Manning declared that he was a she. And so, bolstered by a slew of ACLU lawyers, Manning demanded a sex-change operation, as well as associated hormone treatments. That’s right, a criminal demanded such a remarkable medical dispensation, with, of course, the insistence that Uncle Sam pay it. Not surprisingly, the Obama administration quickly agreed.
Thus we can step back and see: The left has slipped into the dialogue the silly notion that gender-reassignment surgery—which costs $30-50 thousand, not including hormone treatments, etc.—is just another worthy form of “healthcare.” And so, of course, as with Obamacare, the government should pay for it.
Now we can pause for a moment to recall that Trump himself has zero anti-gay animus. Indeed, in his Cleveland acceptance speech, Trump carefully articulated the words, “LGBTQ” as he recalled the terrorist attack in Orlando, FL. And he also invited Peter Thiel, the gay Silicon Valley mogul, to speak for him to the conventioneers.
Yet still, Trump has kept his perspective, distinguishing between basic human rights and foolish liberal boondoggles. And so during the fall campaign, Trump challenged the “politically correct” Obama policy of “social engineering,” adding that instances such as the Manning case were “ridiculous.”
Yet as The New Republic sobbed:
It took Army officials nearly 18 months after she sought treatment for gender dysphoria to approve her for hormone treatments, but she is still required to conform to male military dress standards.
And the magazine further worries that under a Trump administration, “She would probably be the first person to lose care”—care being defined, of course, as including costly gender-reassignment surgery. Meanwhile, the rest of us can say: Manning is a criminal, and maybe this is what a true punishment looks like.
5) Uphold center-right American nationalism. It wasn’t so long ago, 2008, to be exact, that Obama traveled to Berlin to address his worldwide audience as “citizens of the world.” To which the proper response, of course, is that to be a “citizen of the world” is to be a citizen of nowhere.
Trump, of course, has always seen things differently from Obama: As he also said in Cleveland, “Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo.”
In the meantime, we are starting to see, more and more, that pro-American philosophy translated into personnel. It’s been obvious for a long time that Trump admires generals; indeed, on December 1, he picked another one, Marine Gen. James Mattis, to be his secretary of defense.
So what might the rest of us conclude from Trump’s choices so far? This much is obvious: Trump respects the military uniform, and those who made the conscious choice, decades ago, to don that uniform on behalf of the nation, thereby assuming the greatest possible personal risk.
Indeed, we can go further, and make a larger point about American nationalism: It’s hard to think of any category of American that more epitomizes the patriotic, nationalist spirit than the man or woman who volunteers to shoulder the burden of our national defense.
Of course, not everyone agrees: According to the MSM and most professors, nationalist sentiments are to be deemed only as “racist,” or “xenophobic.”
Yet here’s a dissenting view from a self-declared gay liberal, Jonathan Haidt of New York University, writing in The American Interest. Haidt maintains that nationalism is, ultimately, an expression of affection, even love, for one’s own fellow citizens—nothing more, and nothing less:
Nationalists see patriotism as a virtue; they think their country and its culture are unique and worth preserving. This is a real moral commitment, not a pose to cover up racist bigotry. Some nationalists do believe that their country is better than all others, and some nationalisms are plainly illiberal and overtly racist. But as many defenders of patriotism have pointed out, you love your spouse because she or he is yours, not because you think your spouse is superior to all others.
Thanks to the hard work and heroism of Gen. Mattis, Gen. Mike Flynn, and all the other military officers in Trump’s orbit—along with, of course, the efforts of all other active-duty personnel and veterans—those who don’t agree with Haidt are free to express their contrary opinion.
Yet in the meantime, those who agree with Trump, Mattis, Flynn, et al. are equally free to express their opinion. (Except, of course, on PC college campuses.)
As Trump said on December 1:
We are going to bring our country together, all of our country. We’re going to find common ground, and we will get the job done properly.
God bless Donald Trump for seeking to bring the country together. And yet here we can say, with all due respect, that perhaps the President-elect was being a bit, shall we say, aspirational. That is, do we really think that George Soros, Al Sharpton, and their legions of paid and unpaid protestors are ever going to clasp hands with Trump?
Yet as we have seen, Trump is ready, if need be, to do battle—and he has the tools he needs, including a social-media army, a pro-growth action agenda, a basic common sense, and an instinctive pro-American patriotism. And so the battle of is to continue, and it probably will, Trump is well-equipped. In other words, this tweeting and deal-making commander-in-chief will be governing in his inclusive, commonsensical, center-right style.
Yes, the Trump Deal is emerging—and the MSM and the Democrats will just have to deal with it.