This is my take on how Trump could form his cabinet: invite the democracts, published today on Caixin. Below is the English translation
It seems that unity from the bottom is difficult as individuals who voted for Clinton have not yet come to terms with their defeat. Trump’s appeals to the people of America for unity have not yet had the desired effect. Therefore, the new president needs to change approach. If ‘unity from the bottom’ is not working, he should try ‘Unity from the Top’. This strategy is centered on trying to involve top members of the Democratic Party in his team.
Like in Dante’s Divine Commedy, where the souls of the dead are arranged in concentric circles, according to their degree of beatification, so Trump needs to build his team in a similar fashion. The inner circles would naturally be composed by his most faithful supporters and people he fully trust, from those who helped him in his campaign to his son in law and other trusted family members. As we move towards wider and wider circles, we should expect Trump to seek support and cooperation from those who were not fully convinced by his political program but that now seem to lean back towards him – it is easier to agree after he won elections, more daring was to support Trump during the primary and during the final campaign. But Trump is not an ideologist, he does not hold grunt on those who doubted him. Rather, he is a pragmatic person that will surround himself with the people he needs, with experts from various fields.
From a personality point of view, Trump may look abrasive when you watch him on TV, but when you meet him in person, you will have a different perception. He is a visionary. I had the honor to meet him when I was a student. He came to MIT to give a talk on the real estate market. Being part of the New England liberal intellectual society, most of us in Boston looked down upon him as a ‘quick-get-rich’ person, lacking broad culture. I went to the meeting very skeptic. He then started talking, loudly telling us to get our act together quick and go to Shanghai to buy real-estate. It was 1994. We didn’t really know anything about Shanghai property market. We, students in the top school of the words, had very little idea of the tremendous transformation that was occurring in China. Yes, we knew that Deng Xiaoping was reforming, we knew about Shenzhen, but it never occurred to us to get on a plane, leave the United States and invest in property in Shanghai. Trump knew it and in ten minutes half of the people in the room were ready to go with him. From Fifth Avenue to Pudong. What a journey.
Trump is here to be successful and to be remembered as a good president. His ego is bigger than him. He needs to pull America together. And, as businessman, he recognizes that he needs help also from people in the Democratic Party. Trump’s inaugural speech mentioned that the forgotten people will be forgotten no longer. This is what you would expect to hear from a left-wing socialist. His social programs seem to be an attempt at protecting the weaker sections of the population. He plans to pull out of TPP. This action would hurt America overall economic growth; without TPP America will be a bit less rich on average. But only on average. With TPP, the income gap in the US would have increased and, without proper wealth transfer mechanisms from the winners to the losers, the low end of the population would have been hurt badly by TPP. So, scrapping TPP is another way for Trump to protect the low income class, those who more strongly supported him during the election.
This is the paradox: Trump, a republican, gets support from the low income classes. But it is not really a paradox. Trump is not really a republican. But he needs help from the left-wing section of the American political spectrum. Who best than Sanders to start occupy some of the outer circles of the Trump’s Heaven (not Hell). The outer circles are the easier spots that can conceivably be occupied by those people outside the traditional Republican elite, but who still share socialist ideas. Sander has already indicated officially that he is available to work with Trump (Link). Hillary needs to calm down a bit and perhaps, later on she, too, can be part of the new Trump world.
To read the article in Chinese, please click here.
Photo from bbc.co.uk