We only ever end up with two or three presidential candidates at a time, and many people whine about “the lesser of two evils.” But what do they actually want?
A quirky data visualization platform called Displayr decided to ask. From a pool of 16 characteristics, more than 1,000 people named what was most important to them in a president. Overall, the top answer was…
- “Decent/ethical” — 23%
- “Good in a crisis” — 20%
- “Understands economics” — 12%
- “Experienced in government” — 8%
- “Focuses on minorities” — 6%
- “Concerned about poverty” — 6%
But if you focus on just Trump supporters, you get a very different picture. Understanding economics ranks higher than ethics, and two new traits push concern for minorities and the poor out of the top: “success in business” and “Christian.” Poverty and government experience barely make the top 10, and “minorities” doesn’t figure in at all.
As Displayr concludes, “capabilities trump character” for the people who made Donald Trump our president. They prize an understanding of the economy and business acumen more highly than everyone else does — and that would make sense, if Donald Trump actually had those things.
Trump doesn’t know how anything works in government or the economy
Aside from citing all the jobs numbers he said were fake under Obama — taking credit for a trajectory that hasn’t really changed much — there are obvious signs that Donald “nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated” Trump doesn’t get it.
For instance, Trump says he wants to renegotiate all of America’s “unbelievably bad” trade deals because we have “no good deals.” He claimed earlier this year that we have nothing but trade deficits — and that that’s a bad thing…
I’m trying to find a country where we actually have a surplus of trade as opposed to a deficit. Everything’s a deficit. […] I actually said to my people, find a country where we actually do well. So far we haven’t found that country. It’s just losses with everybody. We’re going to turn that around.
He made his ability to negotiate a central theme in his campaign, right up there with building the wall. But actually, we have a trade surplus — meaning we sell them more stuff than we buy from them — with most countries in the world, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission. So Trump was either lying, grossly negligent, or doesn’t actually know what a trade deficit looks like.
Furthermore, trade is a lot more nuanced than one dollar figure, as many people tried to explain to Donald Trump long before he became president. The fact that we have an ongoing trade deficit with China, for instance, has translated into more Chinese investment in the U.S. — which makes borrowing money cheaper and is good for the stock market numbers Trump has recently enjoyed citing.
Regardless of Trump’s understanding of the issue, it’s obviously not just hot air to him. Talks to renegotiate NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement and one of Trump’s favorite punching bags, have already begun. One thing Trump is pushing for: More car parts made in the United States instead of imported.
Guess what that means for Americans? Maybe more manufacturing jobs in the short term to meet demand — or maybe not. As automakers pointed out in a report about NAFTA after the election:
Limiting the flow of vehicles from Mexico into the United States will not automatically create the replacement manufacturing capacity for those vehicles in the United States. Canada serves as an obvious likely replacement source of capacity. In fact, current exchange rate makes Canadian labor costs lower than those in the United States.
Either way, there would probably be fewer manufacturing jobs in the long term because of higher costs and a push for automation to reduce them. And it almost certainly would mean more expensive cars going forward.
Donald Trump’s ignorance is more likely to make the U.S. less competitive, not more — and is one reason his supporters should value government experience more highly than they do. Or at least learn enough economics to know when Trump is full of it.
Trump on other measures
It’s a good thing ethics isn’t a top concern among Trump supporters, because his federal ethics director quit in protest last month when it became obvious Trump would not stop trying to profit off his presidency.
Of course, Donald Trump does care about minorities. He said so at the infrastructure-oriented press conference this week, the one where he was dogged with questions about whether he was giving equal blame to neo-Nazis and white supremacists on the one hand and what he called the “alt-left” on the other for a violent confrontation that killed a 32-year-old woman and left dozens injured.
Asked about race relations during all that, he confidently said his job creation plans would have a “tremendous, positive impact.” That’s probably why he randomly screams “JOBS!” on Twitter. It’s his deep and abiding concern for the poor and minorities.
For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2017
Unfortunately, virtually every CEO on both of Trump’s business councils resigned or agreed to disband them because of Trump’s inability to clearly and unequivocally rebuke neo-Nazis and the hate movement that calls itself the “alt-right.”
We’ll have to wait and see whether that has any impact on the job numbers, job policy, or how often he shouts the word “jobs.”
Article last modified on August 18, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC .