Trump's transition to government

With less than half the votes cast, Donald Trump, a famous New York-based real estate developer, won the race to be President of the United States. His success was based on his outsider status and a desire among voters to reject the status quo. But it’s very unusual to throw someone into such a demanding job without any prior experience in a similar role.

Most private sector business people are unable to successfully move into the complex world of politics and government.

Does Donald Trump, business magnate, investor, TV personality and author have any chance of being one of the few that make the transition?


Benjamin Franklin leads the short list of American entrepreneurs that successfully moved to a government job and achieved widespread approval, according to a recent Forbes article.

A reminder of what Franklin did — he signed the Declaration of Independence, invented bifocals, the lightning rod and the urinary catheter. He helped found the United States of America and was “the real deal” as Forbes claims.

A more recent example is billionaire Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City from 2001 to 2013. He owns 100 percent of Bloomberg LP, a successful news gathering organization, and was highly regarded as Mayor of New York. In late 2001, when he took over the largest city in the U.S., Michael inherited a $5 billion deficit with the World Trade Centre site still in ruins. By 2013 he’d pulled off a very successful turnaround.

It’s obvious that Michael Bloomberg isn’t a Trump admirer. Bloomberg flirted with the idea of running for President, and decided against it, partly because it would help Trump win.

Here’s a link to Bloomberg’s announcement that he will not run for President from March 7 2016.

“I have known Mr. Trump casually for many years, and we have always been on friendly terms. I even agreed to appear on “The Apprentice” -- twice. But he has run the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people’s prejudices and fears. Abraham Lincoln, the father of the Republican Party, appealed to our “better angels.” Trump appeals to our worst impulses.”

Although he won the Presidency, Trump had the lowest net favorability rating among voters of any recent Presidential candidate. So he has a lot of work to do in just four years. Can he do it?

It’s a very long shot.

The Atlantic ran a story about Trump’s flawed personality.

The writer, Dan McAdams, says, “Trump exhibited a trait profile that you would not expect of a U.S. President: sky-high extroversion combined with off-the-chart low agreeableness.”

Some of Trump’s policies are as extreme as his personality. Banning Muslims, mass deportation of illegal Mexicans, tearing up trade agreements like NAFTA and repealing Obamacare are just a few of the promises that he’s made.

The rally in the stock market since Wednesday seems tied to a promise to cut taxes and to spend money on infrastructure. Both of these more mainstream policies have a good chance of getting approved by the Republican-controlled House and Senate. But they aren’t likely to have a positive impact on the economy. At this point in the cycle running HUUGE government deficits might trigger a bout of inflation rather than create jobs. After all, unemployment is already below 5 percent. And tax cuts for the most powerful and wealthy haven’t worked so far and will be very unpopular with most voters.

When people reflect on what Trump achieved in his first term, his character and personality will shape that judgement, along with the economic record. While some people are ready to give him the benefit of the doubt for now, his personality will hurt his chances, in the long run.

Trump is likely to join a long list of business people who flounder once they achieve elected office.


Hilliard MacBeth


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Hilliard, The MacBeth Group team and their clients may trade in securities mentioned in this blog.


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