Donald Trump was never a very likable person -arrogant, obnoxious, inconsiderate, demeaning, a womanizer and narcissistic. The list could go on. He’s not eloquent, not inspiring and not a role model unless, that is, you fancy yourself an entrepreneur like him. There’s no arguing his success as such. What he lacked in the aforementioned qualities he made up for with ruthless ambition and a keen sense for business. So it’s not surprising that his reality TV show, The Aprentice, was a hit at a time when millions of workers were falling victim to globalization and were left with few options but to try their hands as entrepreneurs. Even if you didn’t like Trump, it was entertaining to watch contestants get a heavy dose of reality about what it took to make it as a businessperson.
But Trump as president? I scoffed at the idea. No way could such an unlikable person get enough people to vote for him. I never would have. When he announced his candidacy, I just assumed that a businessman like him would, of course, be another globalist. People often said that we needed a businessman to run the government more like a business. I always replied that what would really happen is that the government would be run for the benefit of business, to the detriment of everyone else. But he got my attention when he started talking about “making America great again” and what that meant – tearing up bad trade deals, bringing jobs back home and reining in out-of-control immigration – especially illegal immigration. These were all the things I’d been writing about for years.
So I turned a blind eye to all of his onerous qualities and took a chance. Why not? It wasn’t as though I hadn’t voted for populist losers before. To my amazement, the “silent majority,” who’d been getting their asses kicked by globalization for decades, had had enough of it and voted for him too. Like me, they were willing to overlook his many flaws and take a chance. It’s not as though we didn’t know what we were getting. The Access Hollywood tape had long since been made public. News about his affairs with “Stormy” McDaniels and Karen McDougall had already come out.
I’ve been pleased with the results – with his policy decisions – but not ecstatic. He’s been tough on illegal immigration, but where’s the badly-needed border wall? Making Mexico pay for it would have been easy. Just tear up NAFTA and slap tariffs on Mexican imports. Instead, he became mired in a year-long renegotiation of a trade deal with Mexico, which still isn’t signed and is questionable as to whether or not it represents any improvement at all for the U.S. The tariffs on steel and aluminum were a great first step, followed by the small tariffs on half of Chinese imports.
But now his agenda is stalled, thanks to caving into to the Chinese when they promised reforms at the G20 meeting in Argentina. We all know how that’ll go. There’ll be promises from the Chinese that’ll never be kept, but they’ll be enough to win them more concessions from Trump. The long-talked-about tariffs on auto imports have never happened. The problem with all of this is that, while what Trump has done so far has been a good start toward an overhaul of trade policy, it hasn’t been enough yet to achieve the desired effect – a migration of manufacturing back to the U.S. Our trade imbalance is now worse than ever. Trump has ceded the podium to the hand-wringing globalists who scare the hell out of markets with their daily dire warnings of a trade war or worse. Now they’re conjuring up images on a new Great Depression, worse they say than 1929. It’s ridiculous, of course, but it’s having an effect as people turn negative on the economy. And companies clearly aren’t yet taking this new trade policy seriously, as GM recently announced plans to close plants in the U.S. and move more production to Mexico, and as Boeing just announced that they’re moving some assembly to China.
Given this past week’s news about the conviction of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen on felony charges of campaign finance law violations, it seems inevitable that Trump will face impeachment. Never mind the fact that the hush money payments were already old news when Trump won the election, indicating that those events weren’t enough to dissuade voters from desperately seeking a change in direction for the country. Trump won’t stand a chance of re-election with impeachment hanging over his head. And you can be sure that the House Democrats are smart enough to bring it to a head just as the election draws near.
There’s only one chance for Trump to survive. The economy has to be going gangbusters when the next election rolls around. The only way that happens is if he aggressively resumes his implementation of tariffs. That means that as soon as the 90-day “truce” agreed to at the G20 ends on March 1st, he must immediately raise the tariffs on Chinese imports to 25% as originally promised, and must extend them across the board to all Chinese imports. Secondly, he needs to immediately implement the long-promised 25% tariffs on all imported autos. Finally, he must make it clear that the tariffs will remain in place regardless of any promised concessions from China or any auto exporters. Tariffs cannot be negotiated away. Lowering the tariffs can only be considered when a balance of trade has been restored, and then only incrementally. Trump needs to immediately change the conversation, refocusing news coverage on changing trade policy and away from his legal predicaments. If he does all of this – and the economy is doing great – voters will be willing to overlook an impeachment just as they overlooked his many flaws two years ago.
Anything short of that and Trump will be gone in two years, replaced by globalists who will undo everything he did. And history will judge his presidency a failure.