Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Donald Trump Genie

Donald Trump is a good if not great salesman and apparently negotiator. But is salesmanship a qualification for being president? Certainly you need a good salesman to sell your budgets and bills to congress. One could argue that Barack Obama was a great president in terms of what he accomplished (Obamacare, the Iran Treaty, the growing of the economy for starters), but one of the areas that he may have fallen short in is salesmanship. He wasn’t great at selling his ideas to congress. Part of selling involves arm twisting too. Lyndon Johnson who studied under FDR’s New Deal was a great arm twister. But salesmanship can only go so far. A great salesman is like an alchemist who can turn shit into gold. A great salesman could also pull the wool over your eyes. Salesmen tend to be positive. They don’t like to tell you anything is wrong. How would Donald Trump for instance have handled 9/11 or a natural disaster like Sandy? Is there reason to believe he might minimize the negative and play up the positive a la the Reverend Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking. That’s a little bit of what seems to be creating the tsunami of support for this latest medicine doctor. One of the adages of salesmanship is “don’t take no for an answer.” And it’s this juggernaut type attitude that people want to believe in. If you say a storm or a terrorist attack is no match for the great I am, than the problem will be minimalized. It’s what psychiatrists call magical thinking. The Wizard of Oz was a charlatans who literally hid behind hot air; he sold his constituency a bill of goods. ISIS, the Mexicans, the Russians, North Korea, global warming, the balance of trade—a latter day Oz will convince us these can all be silenced by simply repeating again and again “We’re number #1” and clapping your heels together three times. Close your eyes, imagine the Donald Trump genie coming out of a bottle and saying something like “I built a great company, worth billions today and who says I can’t balance the budget, eradicate hunger, find jobs and a future for all the disgruntled youth of the world who are in danger of becoming suicide bombers while getting all the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and poof when you open your eyes, voila! all these problems will have gone away. What supporters of Donald Trump are looking for is a genie with magic powers who will pop out of a bottle and set everything right. Of course these promises can't be modest like the economic gains created by the Obama presidency and they'll have to go far beyond Herbert Hoover's famed l928 campaign promise, "A Chicken in Every Pot and a Car in Every Garage." Now every American will have his own hotel, all marked Trump and they'll be no worries about foreign workers since all Americans will be filthy rich, but there wouldn't be any need to pay Polish or Latin American laborers anyway, since these chains will all be manned by Martians.

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