Freedom ain't free Ugliness

Why we should hope the Trump family business thrives

November 23, 2016

There is much silliness abroad in the land, but little is as silly as the outrage on the left over the idea that the Trump family might actually profit in some way from the presidency. This, from the side that saw nothing inappropriate in the Clinton family’s sudden prosperity, from “dead broke” in 2000 to centimillionaires — one of only about 5000 families in the United States with that much wealth — a few short years later.

But never mind that moral cartwheel. The manufactured outrage over Ivanka’s bracelet is all you need to know about how the suddenly powerless chattering classes regard the Trump family. If you are late to the story, Ivanka’s jewelry company advertised the “bangle” that she wore on “60 Minutes” as the bangle that she wore on “60 Minutes.” Cue outrage. Repeat.

Please remind us why selling books and receiving royalties therefor — as Kennedys, Clintons, and Obamas, and many others before have done — is somehow less offensive than the daughter of the president-elect, who is a celebrity in her own right, continuing to promote her business after her father has won the White House? Because books are somehow less, er, deplorable than jewelry? Does not the precedent of Billy Beer amply cover the non-book situation? Jewelry is icky but books and beer aren’t? Some might even call that sexist, but who are we to know what is and is not an intersectionality foul?

The bracelet story had traction because the leftist opposition to Trump is trying to make the case that his presidency will be all about his own financial profit, as if there were anybody who voted for Trump who did not know he was a billionaire with sprawling business interests dependent on the glory, or gaudiness, of his name. The basic idea is that Trump will some how make a ton of money because of all the people willing to walk through the demonstrations surrounding his properties just to be seen spending money there. Or something like that. It is all very confusing, perhaps because most of the people who write such drivel haven’t the first clue how business owners and executives make decisions.

No matter. Our broader point is this: We should all hope that President Trump will try to increase the economic value of his business.

Yeah, we just wrote that.

Apart from the obvious point — that leveraged real estate assets are a lot more valuable in a vibrant economy than in a foundering one, and even lefties claim they want a vibrant economy — do the people who are denouncing Trump for this reason (as opposed to other reasons) really think that resorts and hotels and branded consumer goods thrive when half the country is in full-on boycott mode? Remember the liberal laughter back in September when stories emerged that Trump’s businesses were suffering because of the controversy over his campaign? See the comments at the end of this story if you missed that unifying moment.

Trump needs to put an end to the demonstrations and the boycotts before he has a chance of building value in his business. And there is only one way to do that: Tack hard to the center, actually govern as a moderate, and — this is the most important — act neutrally and even inclusively toward the groups who most resent the tone and rhetoric of his campaign. Will he do that? We have no idea, but if you believe that Trump will use the presidency to “profit” in his business, then you also have to believe he will at least try to stop offending and enraging his customers. And who other than an unreconstructed partisan wouldn’t be grateful for that?

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1 Comment

  • Reply E Hines December 25, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Pardon my lateness to the conversation.

    Part of the problem, as I see it, is that it’s the wrong guy whose enterprises will prosper in a prospering economy. After all, no less a light than Barack Obama has said that at a certain point you’ve made enough money. (I could extend that, after de Vattel, to a national level and suggest that Obama is saying (as his economic policies seem to imply) that there comes a time when a nation is prosperous enough, but I won’t.)

    I think another part of the problem, though, perhaps the largest, is that the Left is blinded by its sense of its own worth. After all, it was no less a personage than the Left’s hero Herb Croly who said of us unwashed moral and intellectual inferiors [T]he average American individual is morally and intellectually inadequate to serious and consistent conception of his responsibilities as a democrat. And we’ve elected the embodiment, so the claim goes, of that inadequacy. The Left is just being differently genteel in its hand size critique.

    On a separate and more optimistic note, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    Eric Hines

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