President-elect Donald Trump is already getting so much done so seamlessly that he’s conveying the attitude of Reese Witherspoon’s character, Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde,” when she informs a skeptic that she’s been admitted to Harvard Law School: “What, like it’s hard?”
We have been told over and over again — by the bipartisan ruling class that protected its power by shrouding issues and process in mystery — that certain problems were simply too vexing to solve. They struggled with them every day, they said, but they were intractable. We’d just have to live with the status quo, they warned, and woe be to those who tried to change it.
They also told us that globalization is an irreversible trend, that it’s therefore impossible to rescue manufacturing jobs, that the economy and the world are in a certain order and that only the foolish or naive would seek to overturn it.
Then Mr. Trump arrived on the scene.
For a new hire who doesn’t start work for another six weeks, he has been a whirling dervish of decision-making, deal-making and status quo-busting.
The man hasn’t even clocked in yet, and he’s already saving American jobs, reassuring allies, striking fear and anxiety in our enemies and standing for freedom and free enterprise.
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He began by leveraging the power of the presidency to negotiate a deal with Carrier to keep approximately 1,100 jobs in the United States rather than transfer them to Mexico as the company had planned. He and vice president-elect Mike Pence, who also serves as the governor of Indiana where the Carrier facility in question is located, offered a mix of state-based tax and other incentives to convince the company to retain the American workers.
Criticism of the deal from the right (charges of interference in the free market) and from the left (charges of hypocrisy toward those who opposed President Obama’s economic interventions) were muted. And for good reason.
To the working class, making America great again was always about restoring respect and validity to their lives and livelihoods. In striking the deal with Carrier to keep those jobs in the United States, Mr. Trump delivered on the core promise of his campaign: that he sees these hardworking Americans, hears them, respects them and will deliver for them. He has already demonstrated that he will put their interests on par with — or even ahead of — those of the rich, powerful and influential.
They now believe that the soon-to-be most powerful person in the world is on their side.
That is economic and political dynamite.
In fact, a Morning Consult/Politico poll released this week shows just how big a win it was. A whopping 60 percent of voters said Mr. Trump’s intervention with Carrier made them view him more favorably. “Rarely do we see numbers that high when looking at how specific messages and events shape public opinion,” Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult co-founder and chief research officer, told Politico.
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Further, Mr. Trump’s favorability rose across party lines: four out of 10 Democrats said they now view him more favorably, as do 54 percent of independents. Even 32 percent of Hillary Clinton voters said the deal improved their view of Mr. Trump.
More good news for Mr. Trump and his economic approach: 56 percent of voters said it’s appropriate for the president to negotiate directly with companies on a case-by-case basis, and 62 percent said they would approve of the president offering tax breaks and incentives to individual businesses if it means retaining American jobs.
Less than a week after the Carrier pronouncement, Mr. Trump struck a deal of a different kind. After he met with the CEO of Japanese tech company SoftBank, the company announced that it will invest $50 billion in the United States, creating up to 50,000 new jobs. The dealmaker at work.
Mr. Trump’s economic plan is designed to make the country more competitive by implementing policies that apply to all companies: cutting taxes, including the corporate tax rate, repealing and rolling back stifling regulations, including the biggest of them all, Obamacare and those clobbering the energy sector, renegotiating trade deals such as NAFTA, and killing off the nascent Trans-Pacific Partnership. Through Mr. Trump’s leadership and initiative, he’s already started resuscitating manufacturing and leveling the playing field by putting American workers first.
No wonder Democrats are panicked. Mr. Trump is winning over the working class, perhaps permanently, by honoring their work enough to save their jobs — something politicians have constantly said was impossible to do.
The intangible part of an economy is having people believe in that economy. Half of the president’s job is to advance a pro-growth economic agenda that creates real wealth and prosperity for the American worker. The other half of his job is to sell the agenda with a sense of optimism to create the psychological environment for growth and prosperity.
Mr. Trump isn’t even president yet, and he’s already doing both.
“What, like it’s hard?”
• Monica Crowley is editor of online opinion at The Washington Times.