On July 21, President Donald Trump resumed holding news conferences about the progress of the coronavirus task force. This news conference was different from the ones in the past, when Trump was accompanied by key task force members. This time he was alone.
This event was shorter and more concentrated than the ones in the past, as it lasted only about 30 minutes. He took questions at the end but avoided any direct confrontation with journalists who tried to engage him. He answered calmly and politically correctly.
This time, Trump sounded more like a politician than a businessperson.
During his three and a half years in office, Trump has governed as a businessperson. A businessperson knows that problems must be confronted quickly. He knows all options must be considered. Then the optimal solution is suggested and implemented, regardless of the political correctness.
A businessperson is goal oriented, especially if a problem has a negative effect on the enterprise’s profit. A businessperson usually pays little consideration as to how the decision “looks” to the public, unless there is some very negative publicity. In that case the implementation of the decision may be adjusted.
A businessperson is concerned with results.
A politician views things differently. Usually because there is an eye looking toward the next election, the politician is concerned with perceptions. The politician wants to ensure that each decision is politically correct, meaning words spoken and actions taken should not offend any voters.
Often politicians will choose a less optimum solution in favor of a politically popular one. For instance, the federal government is currently considering a second stimulus package. From an economic standpoint, this is not needed. The economy ended the recession on April 30. May and June saw the economy recover rapidly. May and June saw nearly 8 million jobs added, retail sales in those months increased a whopping 25%. Other indicators are similarly showing a strong recovery.
However, mostly because of the negative press concerning the high unemployment rate and the expansion of the virus in parts of the country, members of Congress from both parties favor more stimulus. This is an action that is economically wrong, especially considering the budget deficit for 2020 is already more than $4 trillion, but politically right.
Trump is seeing his poll numbers slip. He knows he must jump-start his campaign since the election is just over three months away. He did just that with the July 21 news conference.
During that news conference, he looked like a politician. He spoke softly. He gave the facts with a bend toward presenting them in a favorable light. He highlighted the positives, especially concerning the rapid progress of the vaccines and therapeutics.
Like a politician, he downplayed the negatives and he tried to be more objective. The pandemic will “probably get worse before it gets better.” He set the tone for the remainder of the campaign season. He believes this new look, along with the huge successes that the country will see in September and October, will carry him and the GOP to victory in November.
When blending some political correctness with his business-like approach, he is concerned with winning the war, even if he loses a battle or two along the way. A pure politician must win every battle.
The current poll numbers show Joe Biden with a very large lead. As long as the virus is a major problem and the economy has an unemployment rate of 11%, it appears that Trump is losing the battle. In another month or two, Trump sees himself surging in the polls.
Contrary to the consensus view, the unemployment rate will tumble. Most economists forecast that the rate won’t fall below 10% until the end of the year. Trump believes the rate will fall below 10% by September and perhaps earlier, approaching 8% or less by year end
Also, in September or October, at least one and possibly as many as three or four vaccines will be approved by the FDA. Trump has shortened the approval process to allow this. He also has ordered hundreds of millions of doses, even before they are approved. That means when the approval comes, the vaccines will already to be produced and can be administered to the public as early as November.
With the economy showing extremely high growth rates, with unemployment tumbling, with Trump ending the violence in cities and with the virus somewhat under control, his approval rating will reach the highest point of his presidency right before the general election.
On November 3, Trump will win the war and get re-elected to a second term, perhaps even flipping the House and increasing the GOP majority in the Senate. In spite of 90% of news coverage about Trump being negative, virtually every Democrat opposing anything he does and with some members of his own party against him, he will win the war.
Today’s battles will be a forgotten memory.
Dr. Michael Busler, Ph.D., is a public policy analyst and a professor of finance at Stockton University in Galloway, New Jersey, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in finance and economics. He has written op-ed columns in major newspapers for more than 35 years.
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