McClatchy’s Anita Kumar reckons “Donald Trump’s greatest strength in the 2016 presidential race was not his business acumen but rather Hillary Clinton’s unpopularity,” saying, “Tens of millions of Americans were so turned off by Clinton’s representation of establishment politics that they took a chance on an unorthodox candidate with zero political experience.”
Trump, who has a vast real estate empire, has long boasted he is a consummate dealmaker, even writing a best-selling book, The Art of the Deal. Four years ago, he chastised Obama for not being able to cut a deal to avoid a similar shutdown.
“The problems start from the top and have to get solved from the top. The president is the leader, and he’s got to get everybody in a room and he’s got to lead,” he said in 2013 after the last government shutdown.
“Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it,” he said in 2016.
Trump even tweeted that “Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully or write poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks.”
In recent weeks, Trump and his top aides held multiple meetings with lawmakers on a spending deal — including the possibility of authorizing the children’s health insurance program and protections for so-called Dreamers who were brought to the nation illegally as children. He pledged to sign off on a bipartisan deal. But then, as a midnight deadline loomed, he held to a hard line position on excluding DACA in the government spending bill.
“We hated Hillary so much we are willing to vote for a unproven president,” said Charlie Sykes, a veteran conservative commentator and former Wisconsin talk radio show host. “This whole ‘Art of the Deal’ image…it was based on a myth.”
The criticisms of Trump as a negotiator are long: His skeptics, both among Republicans and Democrats, say he doesn’t know the issues and doesn’t want to get to know the issues in any great detail. Others note he changes his mind frequently, sometimes agreeing with the last person who speaks to him, other times courting Democrats only to later side with more conservative lawmakers.
The more you think about it, the more obvious it becomes that Trump won the presidential election on a wave of Clinton loathing which made voters overlook his vainglorious boasting and scurrilous name-calling, as well as turn a deaf ear to the barrage of negative media revelations about him during the run-up.
The day after the election, Republican strategist and political commentator Ana Navarro was spot-on when she said, “Democrats probably nominated the only person who could lose to Donald Trump.”