President Donald Trump took office on the promise that he would end issues in communities ignored by the previous administration.
And he's just done that, depending on which week it is.
Trump's biggest policy problem is that too many of the industries he is trying to help are mutually exclusive. If he is somehow able to fix one problem, he creates another. A source for The New York Times called it "whac-a-mole policy."
And there's no better way to compare it. Trump constantly wants to have his cake and eat it too, and this impossibility has seen Americans watch Trump consistently attempt to put out fire after fire without ever making any progress. Each industry is being forced to wait until Trump adds a new tariff, pulls out from an international deal, or does something without thinking of long-term consequences.
One recent example is the administration's decision to seem tough by pulling out of the Iran Nuclear Deal and putting sanctions back on Iran. This has led to protests in Iran and tension with other world powers involved in the deal, but more pertinent to this point, the cost of oil has increased because Iran needs more money to survive under those sanctions.
On top of that, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) leaders said they increased the cost of oil based on Trump's tweets alone, leading the cost of oil to hit a nearly three-and-a-half-year high.
Trump was able to whack a mole in Iran, but another one popped up in the states. Because of higher prices of oil, the auto industry, which Trump promised to save could be potentially hurt, and the oil and gas boom he has prophesied cannot take place.
Furthering his damage to the oil industry, Trump has also hammered on trying to save the coal industry, a sector that widely voted for the president, by putting in policies that would, in turn, hurt natural gas producers.
Dan Eberhart, a Trump donor and the owner of an oilfield services company, told the New York Times, “He campaigned on unleashing America’s energy, but this tortured coal policy penalizes natural gas.”
The president has also put tariffs on steel and aluminum that will hurt more than help as time passes. Predictions say that 48,585 people could lose jobs while only a few thousand gain them. Companies like Harley-Davidson and Mid-Continent Nail are feeling the brunt of these tariffs, with Harley- Davidson moving its production offshore and Mid-Continent Nail likely closing soon.
Again, the auto industry is feeling attacked by Trump's tariffs, and the E.U. has put financial penalties on some U.S.'s exports like motorcycles, playing cards, boats, and bourbon. Too many industries filled with Trump supporters are being hurt by Trump's decision to help a very small group of people.
It's not even that he's trying to help only his supporters and harm Democrats; many of the most affected industries are comprised of his supporters. Whether or not this will take its toll come reelection season is yet to be seen. Key swing states voted for Trump along economic lines, after all.
Trump may be able to convince his voters that it is not his fault though. As any politician would, he will try to blame the consequences of his poor leadership on someone else. With the oil situation, we can already see the beginning of this.
On July 4, Trump tweeted: “The OPEC Monopoly must remember that gas prices are up & they are doing little to help. If anything, they are driving prices higher as the United States defends many of their members for very little $’s. This must be a two way street. REDUCE PRICING NOW (sic)!"
This tweet doesn't entirely make sense, but Trump's main point was to shift the blame onto OPEC. The goal is to convince Americans the blame for this rests solely with OPEC.
Trump also did this when Harley-Davidson announced that it was moving some production offshore, tweeting, "Harley-Davidson should stay 100% in America, with the people that got you your success. I’ve done so much for you, and then this. Other companies are coming back where they belong! We won’t forget, and neither will your customers or your now very HAPPY competitors!"
It’s a naked attempt to make himself and the American people look like the victims of a decision Harley-Davidson made without provocation. Again, the actual argument is left out completely: the E.U.'s response to Trump's ridiculous tariffs.
This tactic has obviously paid dividends for Trump to a certain extent. Fox Business Network's Charles Payne, who shares the opinion of those who believe Trump can do no wrong, called the move a "cover" for Harley-Davidson to move out of the U.S. with little public backlash.
With conservative news media on board and a dedicated echo-chamber of supporters, Trump will continue to insist that he is doing the most for business, especially those he campaigned for. But as we’ve seen, even when that’s partly true, it’s far from the whole story.