Rethinking America

Donald Trump: The Accidental US President

Donald Trump really does not want a second term – and, with regard to policymaking, is trying everything imaginable to avoid his reelection.

Credit: R. Gino Santa Maria Shutterstock.com

Takeaways


  • Trump’s entire 2016 campaign could be viewed as effectively running away from getting into the Oval Office.
  • It is often argued that Trump was counting on the appeal of racism to get elected. But he played to racism because he didn’t want to win.
  • In 2016, Republicans were more than ready to vote for somebody who finally spoke the ugly words that they had harbored for so long in their hearts.
  • As his first term enters its final year, President Donald J. Trump is sticking to his guns. He is doing everything to lose.
  • Trump has now seized on the one thing that he thinks will assure his presidency to end on January 20, 2021: Tanking the economy!
  • To Trump’s own immense chagrin, the American electorate will ignore a shrinking economy as long as they can still vote for a bigot as president.

Donald Trump never expected to be elected President of the United States. When he rode down that escalator in the Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 to declare his candidacy, this was nothing more than one gigantic publicity gig for him.

The “hugest” reality show ever

Trump’s outlandish behavior during his campaign for the Republican nomination would have destroyed any previous presidential candidate.

But unbeknownst to Trump, Republicans proved more than ready to vote for somebody who finally spoke the ugly words that so many of them had harbored for so long in their soulless hearts.

That was the one fact that Trump had never counted upon.

After being nominated, Trump still did not really believe in winning the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In fact, the entire 2016 campaign could be viewed as effectively running away from getting into the Oval Office.

To that end, Trump’s behavior became more bizarre by the day. He prepared his fans for defeat by charging that he would likely be cheated out of his deserved victory.

There really wasn’t any downside in any of this politicking for Trump. Even by losing the election, Trump knew he would score a big win for the Trump brand.

Was Trump just not cynical enough?

It is often argued that Trump was counting on the appeal of racism to get elected. But the opposite assumption also holds. He played to racism because he didn’t want to win.

What Trump just hadn’t realized was that throughout the country, there were enough voters who preferred a racist, sexist, white-male nationalist over a woman who bore the name Clinton.

Onward to 2020

As his first term enters its final year, President Donald J. Trump is sticking to his guns. He is doing everything to lose.

While disgraceful behavior has marked basically every single day of his presidency, Trump has now seized on the one thing that he thinks will assure his presidency to end on January 20, 2021: Tanking the economy!

As Bill Clinton famously stated in his first campaign for president “It’s the economy, stupid.” With that one-liner, he stunningly defeated the incumbent George H. W. Bush predominantly because the economy was in tatters.

Trump: A Clinton disciple, in reverse!

While Donald Trump would never want to be named in the same (political) breath with Bill Clinton, he seems to have taken a page out of the campaign play book of the former president — by turning it on its head.

By making the economy collapse, so he hopes, he will for sure be freed from sitting in the smallish White House and return permanently to his gaudy mansions come 2021.

It is a well-known truth that presidents (or political leaders of any country) get way too much credit for a booming economy and far too much blame for a tinkering one.

Don’t overrate politicians’ influence over the economy

The ultimate reality is that top leaders either show up to run for office when the economy provides them with wind in their back – or they show up when there are strong headwinds. Thus, timing – not economic policymaking skills – determines whether one wins or loses.

Business cycles are business cycles and they are nonpartisan. Sure, fiscal and monetary policies matter, but by and large they either help to strengthen an underlying growth period or to soften the blow of a recession, if applied appropriately.

Trump = Steppenwolf: Yearning to be free

But Donald Trump really wants to get back to his golf courses and make more money with reality shows. He is tired of sitting in meetings with heads of state who are way smarter than he is (about every one of them is).

Amazingly, those are people who have managed to read entire books – and more than just one of them.

Trump understandably hates the confines of the presidency (it’s an awful job to have). He cannot wait for the day, when he can berate his successor as an incompetent fool. That’s why he throws an unpresidential temper tantrum almost every day.

Not MAGA, but MTEK: Make the economy tank

And so, Trump’s strategy is to make the economy tank. While he insists, of course, that this is the biggest and “bestest” American economy ever, he has calculated correctly that an out-of-control trade war with China and Europe will lead to a collapse in confidence, stock markets and eventually the real economy in the United States and globally.

That combination is why Trump – with Bill Clinton in mind – believes that he can finally assure his own defeat and allow him subsequently to insult the ungrateful American electorate. His predictable charge? These dumb people stupidly failed to reelect the greatest president in American history.

Conclusion

In the end, despite his best-laid plans, Trump — as he has done in the past — will once again beat both political convention and himself.

To Trump’s own immense chagrin, the American electorate will ignore a shrinking economy as long as they can still vote for a bigot as president.

So, Donald, you are likely stuck in the White House for another five years because even you cannot put the genie of hatred back in the bottle. Perhaps it is time to hit the library after all, Mr. President?

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About Uwe Bott

Uwe Bott is the Chief Economist of The Globalist Research Center. [New York/United States]

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