Trump Trying To Make China A “Win” For Him, Whether They Give In To His Demands Or Not
For the first time in a long time, tariffs and trade — not immigration — dominated the President’s message to his base at a rally in Pennsylvania…
The rally tonight in Central Pennsylvania, may end up being best remembered for the number of people passing out and requiring medical attention. Leaving Trump multiple times in the position of asking “is there a doctor in the house?”, and finessing through a bunch of long delays. And frankly, doing a fine job of it. Trump ultimately blamed organizers for focusing some really hot lights on the audience (we could hear shouts of “turn down the lights!”), and the day was unseasonably hot. (At a recent rally in Wisconsin he criticized organizers for letting surfaces get too icy).
But back to China: Trump’s main message was pretty clear, now that it no longer looks like a trade deal is virtually in the bag. If there’s somehow a deal that will stop China from “ripping us off”, Trump wins. Then again, Trump’s also now claiming he wins if there’s no deal, and instead, an extended and damaging trade war.
“We are going to make our stand, and it’s a tough stand, and a beautiful stand.”
Here’s him speaking more specifically about China (click on the photo to watch):
If Trump’s base can’t cheer his deal-making, he wants them to cheer his stubbornness in not making a deal, and staying on the offensive no matter what. Because, he says, what he’s doing either way will yield the same result: protecting their jobs, and bringing more manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.
Whether that view will hold in practice if prices start going up as a result of tariffs, and workers start suffering, is something we’re a bit skeptical about. But Trump at least seems to realize not doing a China deal could turn into a huge liability heading into the next campaign, and is trying to head it off. So in that sense, it’s a clever strategy for now. Trump’s not immediately winning the trade war with China (even though he still ultimately might), so why not do what he can to flip that loss, or unanticipated delay, into looking like a win by refocusing not on the cost to U.S. consumers in the form of a huge new consumption tax (which is what tariffs really are), but on his, and what he is trying to persuade them will be their resolve?
One thing we found interesting: stories related to this topic in the New York Times and Politico that were published at almost the exact same time, yet come to the exact opposite conclusion. The Times contends Trump’s support remains steadfast in the Rust Belt despite not many new jobs there yet, and the ongoing trade wars, while Politico says it’s fraying. Which means either one of two things (because they can’t both be right):
- One of them’s right, and one of them’s wrong.
- Both of them are wrong. These are stories that originated not with an event, but a “thesis”. Then the reporter went out with the aim of proving their thesis. Especially in the realm of politics, when you’re trying to guess what people are really thinking or how they’re really going to act, you can always pretty much “prove” anything you set out to by finding the right anecdote.
Which makes these types of stories, in our opinion, of very little value.