The Product Marketer Sees That Trump Is In Power Because People Want To Keep Their Jobs And/Or Make More Money: Including The Senate, The Congress, And Various Policing Agencies

We have been told that Trump was elected because a neglected segment of the American population wants to keep their jobs.

I propose that Trump remains in office now, and is likely to remain there for the next 4 years, because a non-neglected segment of the country feels the same way. Hello Congress. Job security much?

A product manager’s view of American Politics in 2017

That’s a diagram. It explains things. Until better thinking saves us.

But let’s first put some context behind those scratchings. My perspective is informed by my career. I have been in product marketing and product management in Silicon Valley for 20 years – in other words I’m a political neophyte.

Think Like A Product Marketer

Good thing Silicon Valley is used to newbiehood. We are forever opening new doors and being asked to Make Something Happen, even as we stare into the void. We have our ways.

Coincidentally those of us who are concerned by Trump stare into a void of our own right now. We want to Make Something Happen. We want to find some way to prevent Trump from doing what he says he will. And we don’t know how.

So let’s all become product managers for America’s roadmap.

What do I mean? First, self-educate. Listen carefully to those who know the domain. I follow the informed on social media, for example, and read white papers, also known as long-form journalism, from trusted periodicals.

In the end, though, every product manager worth their salt has to diagram the system they are trying to work with, even when they don’t yet understand the details. They have to point out the leverage points that may yield to pressure, also known as, “Git You Some Arrows And Rectangles.”

Above, my diagram of the American political system today. Diagrammed for no other reason than to understand, Can We Dislodge Trump?

The answer is yes, but not directly.

And we can at least discern an over-arching principle that makes sense of current events. Also known as, “How can intelligent non-criminal people in our government let Trump continue?”

People want to keep their jobs. That’s all. No genius required.

Look, the Senate and Congress are Republican-dominant. They are also people who want to keep their jobs. Elected by Republicans, they now have a Republican president. As long as Trump in place helps them keep their jobs, they’re with him. And they can logically make the case that since they were elected by a constituency, unless said constituency loudly and clearly objects, they feel justified in keeping those jobs.

The Cabinet, well, Trump owns their jobs, so, that’s that.

But. Courts are different. Why? Because federal judges hold their jobs for life. What happens when people don’t worry about losing their jobs? They begin to care about their reputation and their legacy. They begin to care about the respect of their peers. They begin to care about, not to be dramatic, but, truth.

That’s why the current resistance is happening in the court system. The ACLU raised $24 million since the election and is hiring 200 new lawyers. Hey there Justice.

(As an interesting semi-digression if you look at my diagram, the court resistance is being countered so far by the behavior of those we might call “remote court officers” (I’m sure there is a real term someone else knows?). Note the border officials at the airport who held the visa detainees and refused to let them go. Here we see workers who fear for their jobs, and may have few career options, standing against the orders of highly-educated, many-optioned judges. I don’t know the history behind this— it does seem like a modern example of how authoritarian governments rely on Secret Services. Don’t they often reach down through the courts to the enforcement agency staff and prey upon a population that is vulnerable in its own way?)

What To Do?

So how to effect change when you aren’t a judge? Send coffee and doughnuts to our local judiciary every day? Good, but unfortunately insufficient. It’s simple. We have to either get Trump out, or convince Congress Republicans that their jobs are at risk if they support his policies. Actually it’s not simple. But we can make forward progress. Another product manager trick.

Option 1: Can We Get Trump Out Before 2020?

  • I see no probable path to impeachment unless Trump releases his tax returns and reveals incontrovertible fraud and/or conflicts of interest. I’m sure there were improper discussion with the Russians, but I doubt anything will turn up that can convince Republicans to change sides. I hope I’m wrong.
  • Provoke Trump to such bad international behavior that, say, Korea blows up and the experienced Republican senators and the military carry out some kind of coup. Yikes.

Can we non-politicians to do anything here? Unless you’re a hacker, or an accountant who once saw something and isn’t afraid to speak out, there’s nothing we can do directly about the taxes. I’d never urge anyone to foment international unrest.

Option 2: Can We Convince Republican Officials Their Jobs Are At Risk?

  • Surely we should all support Democratic candidate efforts in midterm elections. Donate. Volunteer. And work to flip Republican districts and undo the damage of past gerrymandering. Try Flippable and Swing Left to help you figure out where to focus.
  • Just as surely, we should keep protesting. If we’re getting tired, so is Congress. As has been made clear by the Indivisible movement and almost every liberal on Twitter, call your representatives as often as you can manage. Then do it again.

Option 3: Can We Get Trump Out in 2020?

Of course we can.

  1. He has an odd coalition. I force myself to follow extreme conservatives, and I see factions in Trump’s voters argue among themselves. Fractures are likely.
  2. He may shoot himself in the foot and fail to deliver on his promises, which were unrealistic to begin with, thus alienating his base.
  3. Liberal and centrist Americans are in the absolute if not electoral majority and we underpin much if not most of of America’s economy. We have power, we just need to organize.
  4. Despite all of the above, removing Trump will take an enormous amount of work and concomitant optimism. My amateur self guesses we have a lot of work to do on our own coalition, so let’s settle in for the long haul.

In sum, because in Silicon Valley we tell you what we are going to tell you, we tell you what we are telling you, and then we tell you what we told you, just keep making forward progress. PROTEST. Make phone calls. Whir the motors, chop the logs. Do the legwork. Give money and take heart.

Let’s say Trump is a weed in the grain fields of American democracy. Metaphors are helpful with ambiguity. We can’t dig him out directly with a trowel, but we might be able to shake him loose by rototilling his dirt.

Below are some relevant links. Please feel free to point out mistakes in my thinking.