The Trump brand succeeded big-time in real estate:
From the late-80’s forward, the Trump business model was simple. He would swap some of his brand prestige for shares in a deal, like a casino. The people on the other end needed the brand to promote the project to investors and politicians, so they were willing to cut Trump in on the deal. Genuinely smart real estate people from the Trump organization would then swoop in a maximize the profit for Trump Inc. …
The genius of this approach is every new casino or resort property with his name on it enhanced the brand, thus opening up new deals. Trump Inc. became a frog in a pond full of lily pads. They just hopped from one to the next. Unlike other real estate developers, they did not have to find new deals and cultivate the political relationships required to make the deal a possibility. Others did that and brought these opportunities to the Trump people, hoping to get the Trump endorsement.
This worked amazingly well in real estate, but not in politics. …
But the political system was immune, and spat him out:
It was a good system that was never replicated in Washington. His team was ignorant of how things were done in Washington. His son-in-law was actually working for interests outside the Trump administration. Official Washington was happy to send a stream of their people to fill posts and undermine Team Trump. His organization never had a chance to turn the Trump brand into anything, because they did not know how to do it, even if the brand had real value to official Washington.
That is why the Trump years were lots of promises, but no delivery. Team Trump would bring out the brand hoping someone would come forward with a deal. Either the deal on offer was garbage or there was no deal to be had. Trump’s DACA moves are a great example of the no deal. He was sure he could trade that for his wall. Instead, they ignored him entirely. Trump was begging them to do a deal on DACA and they just ignored him harder. The art of the deal had no market in DC.
How can the political system ever by reformed (wrested from the left’s bureaucracy)?
The Trump phenomenon is a good example of why democratic reform is impossible in a liberal democratic system. …
For generations now, the political system has been selecting for people who defend the interests of the system and the people in it. You cannot get a job at any level of politics unless you are useful to the people in the system. The entry points of the system, primaries, elections, staffing jobs, are all designed to filter out people who could be unhealthy for the system and select for those who will defend the system. Even if a reformer sneaks in, they are surrounded by antibodies of the system.
This is something the paleoconservative thinker Sam Francis recognized with the conservative movement a million years ago. As soon as they decided to engage in democratic politics, they would be forced to trade their conservative principles for access to the system. Otherwise, they would be shut off from the system. Over the years conservatism has traded everything away. They are now a shuffling husk that staggers long behind the Left living on scraps. …
The system appears to be un-reformable:
Those “liberal principles” that are supposed to constrain the excesses of democracy end up becoming obstacles to democratic reform.
On the other hand, a genuine effort to reform the system from outside is framed as a threat to liberal principles. Trump immediately became Hitler, the great bogeyman of liberalism, solely on the grounds that he was a creature that existed outside the liberal democratic system.
That is the real lesson of the Trump years. There is no way to reform liberal democracy from the inside, as it has evolved to prevent reform. … Real reform begins with the rejection of the system and its moral framework.
Some interesting insights there.