Politics Magazine

Trump Is Utterly Incompetent At Political Negotiating

Posted on the 11 January 2019 by Jobsanger
Trump Is Utterly Incompetent At Political Negotiating (This caricature of "great negotiator" Donald Trump is by the inimitable DonkeyHotey.)
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump told voters that he, and only he, could solve the problems facing this country. He told them that was because he was a great negotiator -- the best negotiator in the world. It hasn't worked out that way though.
It turns out that the only negotiating tactics that he has are threats and bullying. Those may have worked in the business world (at least to some extent). But the political world is different.
He has received a rude political awakening. In politics, his opponents are not intimidated by his threats and bullying. They expect real negotiating, with a give and take from both sides -- and they are well versed in the art of political negotiating. Trump is not.
It turns out that Trump is thoroughly incompetent in political negotiating -- maybe the worst in the world.
Here's how Greg Sargent describes Trump's negotiating skills in The Washington Post:
As we suffer through what by this weekend will be the longest government shutdown in history, the entire country is learning an awful truth: Trump is a deal-maker of absolutely stunning ineptitude, and we’re all paying the price for it. We don't yet know how the shutdown is going to be resolved, but we do know that Trump has bumbled his way through this conflict with such incompetence that even his most ardent defenders would have a hard time claiming he has any idea what he's doing. First, he supported a temporary bill to fund the government, one that passed the Senate unanimously, but when the likes of Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh criticized him for being weak, he quickly shifted his position and refused to sign any spending bill that didn’t have funding for a border wall. Then he went on live television and told Democratic leaders, “I am proud to shut down the government. ... I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it,” thereby making his later (and inevitable) attempts to blame the Democrats almost comical. And now his attempts at "negotiating" are abysmal. He stalked out of a meeting with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi when they wouldn't give in, then went to Twitter to lob juvenile insults at them. That won't get him any closer to a deal, but it does provide some insight into where Trump is coming from. As Shannon Pettypiece and Margaret Talev point out, the dramatic exit is a negotiating tactic Trump has used for many years. In his pre-political life, they report, “Trump was known to have done the same thing when a deal wasn’t going his way. He even walked out of a judge’s chambers during divorce proceedings.” Like most of what Trump believes about deal-making, it’s based on the presumption that he’s the one with the power, and if he’s enough of a bully then those on the other side of the table will eventually just give him what he wants. When he was a private citizen, that was often the case. If he was negotiating with a vendor — probably a small-businessperson who was eager to do work for someone so famous — he could bully them into terms advantageous to him. If they didn’t like it, he could find someone else to sell him the bathroom fixtures or curtains (and they probably didn’t realize that chances were he’d stiff them on the bill). It was all based on the idea that the other person needed him but that he didn’t need them. So aggression was the only tactic necessary. When he ran for president, he figured he could use the same technique. During the 2016 campaign, he said that the way to deal with China was to say, “Listen you mother f---ers, we’re going to tax you 25 percent.” Next thing you know they’d quake before his manly power and give us back all the manufacturing jobs that have been lost over the past couple of decades. Needless to say, that hasn’t happened. One of the consequences of Trump’s simplistic view of negotiating is that he doesn’t know what to do when faced with a situation where the other person has just as much power as him, and things such as yelling and walking out of the room in a huff don’t make them knuckle under. The truth that Trump still doesn’t grasp is that presidential negotiating is much more complicated than negotiating something like brand licensing agreements. It requires knowledge of often complex policy issues and a deep understanding of all the forces at play with the other side. And that might be where Trump’s failure is the most profound. When he negotiated with, say, a developer in Panama who wanted to slap the Trump brand on an apartment building, it was relatively simple: This guy wants the prestige of the Trump name, and we just need to find a mutually agreeable price. But members of Congress have motivations, incentives and constraints that are vastly more complex: ideology, policy preferences, worries about reelection, multiple constituencies whose desires need to be considered, concerns about the next presidential election, and more. In order to successfully negotiate with them, you need to understand all those factors to find a successful resolution. But Trump shows no sign of believing he has to understand any of that. You see it in foreign policy, too: Trump thought that he could charm Kim Jong Un into giving up nuclear weapons, but didn't bother to understand what those weapons represent to Kim and why he might be so loath to part with them. The result is that the weapons are still there, and Trump's talk of winning a Nobel Peace Prize because he negotiated such a great deal now makes him look like a fool. Nor does Trump realize that unlike with his private business, as president he has to negotiate again and again with the same people. As a businessman he could con someone out of his or her life savings or refuse to pay a bill, and it wouldn’t matter because there were always more suckers to be found. But now he has to negotiate with people who have learned that they can’t trust his word, and he might make you a promise today that he breaks tomorrow.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Big Food Giants Manipulate Public Health Policy in China

    Food Giants Manipulate Public Health Policy China

    Coca-Cola is at it again. As soda sales decline in the United States and Europe, beverage companies look to emerging economies like China for growth. And, it... Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • Jewellery for a Precious You

    Jewellery Precious

    Jewellery is always close to a woman’s heart. It completes her look and boost confidence. Considering the changing trends in jewellery fashion, it becomes... Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Dr.jenifer Sayyed
    LIFESTYLE
  • Rajshri Productions’ Next Is A Film On Friendship | Hum Chaar | Trailer

    Abhishek Dixit’s debut feature film Hum Chaar is a Bollywood film made under the banner of Rajshri’s film. Hum Chaar is written and directed by Abhishek Dixit. Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Themoviean
    ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES
  • Saint Paul the First Hermit

    Saint Paul First Hermit

    Today is the feast day of Saint Paul the hermit. This is a sweet and delicate Oatmeal Bread topped with rolled oats and naturally sweetened with agave. Saint... Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Veronica46
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES
  • Irupathiyonnaam Noottaandu | Teaser | Pranav Mohanlal | Arun Gopy

    Arun Gopy’s Irupathiyonnaam Noottaandu is an upcoming Malayalam action-drama feature film starring Pranav Mohanlal and Zaya David in the lead roles. Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Themoviean
    ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES
  • A Year Of Body Positivity

    Year Body Positivity

    Last January, as I sat there on New Years eve all set to make the same old resolutions I've made year after year for as long as I can remember, I realised how... Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Sparklesandstretchmarks
    DIARIES, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – Jan 2019

    Garden Bloggers Bloom 2019

    Euphorbia rigidaWhen I went out to take the photos for this blog post I was surprised at how much was in flower dotted around the garden. Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Patientgardener
    GARDENING, HOME

Magazines