by Scott Adams
The presidential campaign is being covered by political reporters, for the most part. That makes perfect sense because the subjects of the reporting are mostly politicians.
But Donald Trump is a business person. If you apply a political filter to a business person, you get nonsense. Likewise, if you have a goal-oriented view of the world, as politicians typically do, a business person with a “systems” approach would appear crazy.
That brings me to Trump’s newly-published immigration policy. For our purposes here, you don’t need to know the details. All you need to know is that it sounds totally impractical and draconian.
If you apply a political filter to his proposal, it is pure nonsense mixed with evil and flavored with crazy. That’s how the media is reporting it all over the Internet. Just like Trump planned.
If Trump were a goal-oriented thinker, or even a real politician, the reporters would be interpreting this situation correctly. They would report that Trump’s plan is ridiculously impractical and even inhumane. And they would be right.
But reset your filter for a minute. Remember that Trump is a business person who promises to bring a deal-maker to the job of President. Now look at his crazy plan again but use your business filter this time.
Trump sees immigration as a negotiation. His opening offer is an anchor. This is how world-class negotiators work. The first offer has no purpose except to create contrast to whatever you eventually agree.
For example, Trump’s plan has two ridiculous ideas that will never happen. One involves a change of the constitution to remove the right of citizenship for people born in this country. The other involves rounding up 11 million aliens and shipping them home.
Not going to happen.
If Trump were a goal-oriented thinker, or a politician, he would be setting himself up for failure. His plan has zero chance of success as it stands.
But Trump is a systems thinker. He plays the long game. Every move is a negotiation.
Trump wants a wall on the border, and he wants Mexico to pay for it. That is such a big ask that few people think it possible. I can only imagine one way a wizard with Trump’s skills could convince TWO countries to do this thing that is amazingly hard to get done.
You start with an opening offer that anchors people’s minds to the most outrageous parts of the plan and then you trade those things away until you get the only thing you wanted: the fence. Negotiators (Congress in this case) will feel that a negotiation happened and all parties met in the middle.
But only Trump decided where the middle is. The debate is already over and Trump won. We’re getting a wall. But my guess is that America will create some sort of a path to citizenship for current illegals after the wall gets built. That will make both sides feel like they won something.
Trump can’t say he will give illegal immigrants a free pass while at the same time trying to get a wall built. That would trigger a wave of immigrants trying to beat the wall construction.
There was exactly one path available for Trump to get his wall. He had to set an anchor in the negotiations that inspires his core anti-immigration crowd to vote for him while setting the stage to negotiate away the crazy parts of the plan and keep the fence.
Another way to look at Trump’s immigration plan is that he’s working on America’s branding. That’s Trump’s area of expertise. If you want your brand to have value, the first thing you do is make sure no one can get if for free. You need a sense of exclusivity. Tightening immigration does that.
Keep in mind that trump is open to legal immigration for people who bring technical skill to the country. He wants more of that and less of the criminal element. That’s hard to argue against in principle. And if he succeeds in branding America as the only place you want to work if you have tech skills, imagine what that does to the economy over time.
Bonus Thought 1: When Trump stuck an anchor in the immigration problem by calling the Mexican immigrants rapists, he also established himself as the only Republican who is talking about violence to women. Name the other Republican candidate who is out front on a gender issue. You can’t.
Bonus Thought 2: On the question of abortion, if Trump says he doesn’t understand why men even get a vote on the question of abortion he would take that issue off the table while keeping his personal views intact.
Bonus Thought 3: Much has been reported about Trump’s bankruptcies. If you view Trump as a goal-oriented thinker, those are examples of failures. If you view him as a systems-oriented thinker, he built a diversified portfolio of holdings and kept the bad ones from infecting the others by creating separate entities that could fail by themselves.
Bonus Thought 4: In all likelihood, Donald Trump will pick our next president. If he runs as a Republican, he will be picking himself, and winning, assuming he keeps going this way. If he runs as an independent he will be picking Clinton as president. There’s your republic: One guy gets to vote for President this year.
Here I’ll remind new readers that I have no idea if Trump would be a good president. In my view, all the candidates are within the realm of competence. How they might perform as president depends on what future they are paired with. For example, the best president for winning a war might be the worst one for fixing a recession. You can’t know who will be good on the job if you don’t know what the job will entail.
Scott (Adams: creator of Dilbert)