Why I like Donald Trump

This is kind of a difficult post to write, because I can recall a time when I was ardently in the NeverTrumper camp.  That ended after Cruz bailed out, but I’ve written about that before.  And my liking for Trump has grown and faded ever since.  But there are some fundamentals that speak to why I support him.

The thing I like about Trump is that he doesn’t pretend to be something he isn’t. He is no great exemplar of moral rectitude and doesn’t pretend to be. He’s a sinner like the rest of us.  He makes no bones about the fact that he’s been bankrupt in the past. He doesn’t apologize for past mistakes because when he can, he makes them right.

He seems honestly to want things to be better for everyone in America, and I’m willing to believe that he thinks a strong and secure America means a stronger and more secure world at large.  A rich America means a richer world.  A free America means a freer world.  He would not come out, as Reagan did, and call America a shining city on a hill, but he doesn’t have Reagan’s sense of poetry.  That said, he knows that American greatness doesn’t mean that America wants to run the world, but rather, wants to be the example for the rest of the world to follow.

More to the point, he doesn’t tend to bullshit. Yeah, every time he tweets, the world cringes. Even the WSJ has a fit because he has no filter for his tweets. But while I still cringe from time to time, I’ve learned that the tweets have a purpose — they almost always contain a kernel of truth that the opposition misses when they go off on him. Leading to the ability of people on the right to respond, “Well, actshually…..”  Which freaks the opposition out even more.

Even his threats of tariffs are just tools in his toolbox.  He threatens 25% tariffs on certain Chinese imports one minute, then the next minute he says he’s delaying some of those tariffs because he doesn’t want to see prices go up on items Americans will want to purchase for Christmas.  But the threat of the tariff being imposed remains.  And the Chinese economy gets a fresh infusion of FUD.  Make no mistake, this is not Trump being capricious — this is Trump being a businessman who understands the art of negotiation, and moreover the use of the iron fist hidden by the velvet glove.  He can hurt the Chinese a lot more than the Chinese can hurt us — and he already has.  Foreign companies are beginning to move production away from China.  Some of that production is merely moving to countries in Southeast Asia, but some of it is moving back to the United States.  China can massage its GDP numbers as much as it wants (and play games with its currency as well), but the numbers they have been reporting for years are impossibly high, and now they are dropping, if not like a rock, then significantly more than the Party is comfortable with.

Worse for China, production is leaving not only due to the tariff threat, but also because of ongoing intellectual property theft (to complaints of which the Chinese government barely pays lip service), shoddy workmanship if the foreign company doesn’t literally stand over its Chinese partner doing its own QC, rising prices as Chinese workers demand more compensation, and so forth.  A lot of companies have clearly had disengagement with China on the back burner for a while, because it’s not just something they’re talking about, it’s something that is really happening.  Hasbro has been moving production out of China to Vietnam.  Home Depot has reported that a lot of their products are no longer being made in China.  In 2013 the NYT ran an article about textile manufacturing returning to South Carolina:

Bayard Winthrop, the founder of the sweatshirt and clothing company American Giant, was at the mill one morning earlier this year to meet with his Parkdale sales representative. Just last year, Mr. Winthrop was buying fabric from a factory in India. Now, he says, it is cheaper to shop in the United States. Mr. Winthrop uses Parkdale yarn from one of its 25 American factories, and has that yarn spun into fabric about four miles from Parkdale’s Gaffney plant, at Carolina Cotton Works.

Mr. Winthrop says American manufacturing has several advantages over outsourcing. Transportation costs are a fraction of what they are overseas. Turnaround time is quicker. Most striking, labor costs — the reason all these companies fled in the first place — aren’t that much higher than overseas because the factories that survived the outsourcing wave have largely turned to automation and are employing far fewer workers.

And while Mr. Winthrop did not run into such problems, monitoring worker safety in places like Bangladesh, where hundreds of textile workers have died in recent years in fires and other disasters, has become a huge challenge. “When I framed the business, I wasn’t saying, ‘From the cotton in the ground to the finished product, this is going to be all American-made,’ ” he said. “It wasn’t some patriotic quest.”

Instead, he said, the road to Gaffney was all about protecting his bottom line.

That simple, if counterintuitive, example is changing both Gaffney and the American textile and apparel industries.

These companies are not alone, and the writing has indeed been on the wall for a while.

Of course not all of this is due directly to Donald Trump and his tariffs (and his general attitude about China — refreshing to see a president actually go to bat for American business vs. a Communist regime), because the relationship between China and Western manufacturers has been abusive for quite some time, but a lot of it happening right now probably is connected to Trump.  Corporations can see the writing on the wall, and they don’t like uncertainty.  So they’re taking the leap, and other countries in SE Asia who are afraid of China’s 500-pound gorilla in the South China Sea are benefiting from that.  And since it is expensive to move production around like that, China can pretty much kiss all that business goodbye forever.  So far, advantage Trump and advantage America.

Trump also has a great handle on Kim Jong Un, not to mention Vladimir Putin, and if he really does start talks with Iran over a rewritten nuclear “deal”, you can undoubtedly rest assured that it will be a Trump-style “deal” and not an Obama disaster.

The only thing Trump hasn’t done that I wish he had, was he should have popped Emmanuel Macron right in the fucking kisser for being an asshole at the G7 this week.  If he had, I’d have been all like

So anyway.  That’s why I like Donald Trump.

God help me.