If I Were Trump (July 2020)

A time capsule where I explained what I’d do to get Trump out of his summer 2020 slump

A lot of design critique is boring because people spend all their time finding problems and not enough time explaining how they’d do better. For example, maybe you don’t like Apple Maps. It’s easy to write a snarky post about it, but very few people sit down and really analyse the ways they’d do better.

A Mask Pivot

Until now, countries around the world have presented themselves with a false choice: economy or health. But it’s increasingly obvious you can’t have a strong economy if everyone is terrified to go outside. The very first thing I’d do if I were Trump is to reverse course on the mask thing.

The Trump Act

It’s totally cheesy and probably illegal to name an act after a sitting president, but it’s very on brand for Trump. His people should introduce the framework for bills to the House and Senate that would provide more stimulus for the economy, and his PR folks should make sure everyone knows this has strong input from Trump himself.

Start a war with Russia

Not a shooting war. But pick a fight. Say what most Americans believe, which is that Russia’s bounty program for killing Americans is an act of war. Authorise what most of Washington wants to see: a punishing response. The American people want to see, at minimum, a president that that cares about protecting them. And not looking like a Russian spy would be a nice bonus. Sanctions work. Use them.

A surprisingly candid Oval Office speech

Trump gets himself into trouble when he’s allowed to riff instead of following his teleprompter. But when he stays on message, he sounds wooden and bored. Also, there are rumours he should be wearing glasses but thinks they make him look nerdy. I’d combine all three of these factors into a single tv event.

Double down on the message

Trump haters won’t buy it. And actual racists will be annoyed by it. But it will change the debate in a way that benefits Trump. Because the way you win is through the middle of the mainstream. And the middle of the mainstream can still be reached if Trump manages to stop sounding racist and sexist for at least one news cycle.

Have a clear vision for a second term

He should come up with a series of popular bills that have broad support. For example, he could say the second term will be about Education, Health, and Economy. He could go to Pelosi and say he wants only bipartisan legislation, and he wants lots of it. He wants results for the American people, and he’ll fight hard for them.

And yet…

But we all know none of this can happen, because Trump hasn’t shown an ability to rise to the occasion. It’s not like this sort of advice is hard to come by. Plenty of Republican strategists tell him things like this all the time, he just refuses to listen.

I love building things.

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