How The Republican’s Failed Health Care Bill Exposed Trump As the Terrible Deal Maker He Is
Conventional wisdom says that Donald Trump is a master negotiator.
But if the election cycle didn’t make it clear enough, his first two months in office have shown that his real talent is for self-promotion.
His business career wasn’t built around making one great deal after another. It was based on a string of celebrity endorsements. And that has proven to be terrible preparation for being the most powerful person on earth.
The Trump Organization is not a real estate development company as much as it is a licensing operation. When it comes to what to license, the product didn’t matter to Trump — just the fact that his name and picture were on the label. And his talent for self-promotion meant an endless number of opportunities came his way.
Steaks, bottled water, board games, ghost-written books, and vodka to list a few. Not to mention online “universities”.
Trump’s involvement with all these ventures was not as the entrepreneur who conceived, created and marketed the idea. His only job was to be the public face of the operation.
Trump knows as much about distilling vodka and writing books as he does about healthcare.
The people who brought each of these Trump-labelled products to market made the calculation that teaming with Trump was a good way to quickly get their product in front of a large audience.
Trump was never a great deal maker. Just a busy one. He entered into a lot of these ventures. Many failed spectacularly.
And with a transactional business model like the Trump organization uses, that’s fine. A business doesn’t need to succeed with every venture. The winners just need to out-earn the losers.
Each deal stands or falls on its own — and has no impact on any other deal. Trumps suits and ties can flourish at the same time Trump University shuts down amid a barrage of fraud allegations.
The Real Estate Side Of The Business Was No Different
The Trump Organization negotiates with real estate developers all over the world for the right to slap the “Trump Tower” name on their buildings. It’s the developer who invests huge sums of money and takes all the risk. Trump just collects a fee for lending his name to the project.
That’s one of the rewards for being a world class self-promoter.
As with the vodka, eyeglasses and steak businesses, each Trump Tower licensing deal stands on it’s own.
If the developer in City #1 backs out of their deal with Trump because they think he has lied or failed to fulfill his obligations, that debacle has no impact on the development in City #2. The first group of developers have no connection to the second group of developers.
All this means it that Trump basically spent his business career as a glorified door-to-door salesman. The successful door-to-door salesman forgets every door slammed in his face. He just moves on to the next one and repeats the same sales pitch. And there is always a next door.
Develop a good spiel and keep giving it to every prospect you can find. Eventually someone will bite.
It is a numbers game.
Some people have predicted success for the Trump administration specifically because he is this sort “transactional” businessman.
But this approach doesn’t work when you’re the President. The legislators, media members and foreign leaders you burn today are the same people you are forced to deal with in the future.
You can’t walk away from your failures and start over fresh with the next group of business people.
But if Trump’s reaction to the failure of the Republican healthcare bill is any indication, that is exactly what he is going to try to do. After the bill’s failure Trump immediately tried to shift blame. Meaning blame his partners. The leaders within his own party. The very same partners he will have to work with again and again in the future.
And just like in business, he is now repeating the same impossible promises he made with the original bill. Last week, while speaking to a bipartisan group of Senators (with the media present) he gushed to his audience:
“I know that we are going to make a deal on health care. That’s such an easy one, I have no doubt that that’s going to happen quickly.”
“That’s such an easy one”? This is his promise after a bill has already failed — within his own party.
He is doing what he has always done. Keep giving the sale pitch. Make the same promises.
Except now he is doing it with the same audience.
Republican Healthcare — Now with Even More Disapproval!
Before the Republican healthcare bill collapsed it had a 16% approval rate with the public. Now Republicans who supported the bill are trying to hash out a compromise with the right wing Freedom Caucus.
All indications are this new bill will be even less popular with the public. Reportedly the Freedom Caucus wants to reduce coverage for preexisting conditions and eliminate the rule that 10 essential health benefits be covered in every policy.
Their plan seems to be to take the original plan with a whopping 16% approval rating and make it more unpopular. Which makes sense when you realize their most important constituents are the health insurance companies.
If his pattern holds, the door-to-door salesman in the oval office will give us the same sales pitch as before. This healthcare bill is going to be great, beautiful, even better than before. Obamacare is a disaster. This is going to “give everyone better coverage for much less cost — people are saying they’ve never seen anything like it”.
Which won’t make sense to any rational, informed person. But it makes perfect sense if you understand that Trump has spent his entire adult life giving the same sales pitch over and over.
But always to a different audience.
Previous disasters didn’t matter in his old life because he was always moved on to a new audience.
How long will it take for him to figure out things have changed?
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