Please see my latest post for the Quarterly Review, ‘Trump Awakens the Entrepreneurial Spirit’:
Businessmen don’t understand politics. Success in the marketplace doesn’t necessarily follow in the political arena. Early criticism of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign were variations on this theme, from the first day he rode down the escalator at Trump Tower to announce his candidacy. How that tune has changed. Trump’s business acumen may prove his greatest political asset to an America that elects him president.
He may be learning on the fly the science of politics, but Trump instinctively comprehends the craft of intuiting the people’s discontent and offering them an alternative to the Capitol Hill duopoly. Whether on illegal immigration, terrorist threats, endless wars, or disappearing jobs, Trump reads the American mood like the practised pols of old. What he lacks in sophistication he more than compensates with gut instinct.
His outsider status is Trump’s self-proclaimed ace card — he’s not a politician but he understands how they operate, since he’s been negotiating with them all his life as a mega-developer. It’s these transformative skills that he exploits in his White House bid. ‘I’ve been very lucky. I’ve led a great life,’ he told an audience Sunday in Greeley, Colorado. ‘Now I want to give back to the country which has been so good to me.’
It may surprise that a student of the political careers of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, and Sir John A. Macdonald would take such a dim view of protectionism. I simply refer you to 19thcentury French economic journalist Frédéric Bastiat’s Economic Sophisms and his rigorous deconstruction of the protectionist argument.
With respect to Donald Trump and his policy of border tariffs, as I suggest in this article (and my two columns to which I link), Trump has offered two alternative methods of addressing American business decline: an end to global currency manipulation and entrepreneurial innovation.
And it is Trump’s appeal to the entrepreneur and to the ‘law of markets’ in which ‘demand is constituted by supply’ where great opportunity lies.
So my approach has been much like Kennedy’s attitude to Khrushchev’s conflicting messages during the Cuban Missile Crisis: ignore the one full of bluster and bellicosity, and focus instead on the note promising hope and a way forward. Take Trump’s protectionist threat as a negotiating bid with other nations (and U.S. industries) while defending and encouraging his call to entrepreneurs.
Conservative essayist Joseph Sobran limned the political divide between nomocracy with its simple plan to enforce the ‘rule of law’ and teleocracy with its vision of the perfect society to foist upon an unsuspecting public.
Donald Trump is, in my view, a nomocrat, as evidenced by his ‘America First’ presidential campaign. As such, he should be criticised when he errs and, if elected President, be subject to the checks and balances of American constitutional federalism; but Trump should also be praised when in the right and given all the support and assistance of the American people.
My thanks to editor Dr Leslie Jones of the Quarterly Review.