The Trump bubble

In an interview with, Fox News’s Bret Baier, Donald Trump was typically vocal about his support for the government's use of its powers of eminent domain.  This support was not just for public projects, but also to force private owners to give up their land to private sector developers such as him.  This is always justified as being for the good of the many, but in practice such private developments often benefit only the politicians who receive opportunities for graft and the developers.  While enthusiastically promoting this use of government power as the engine for jobs, Trump may instead have shown how much he resides inside the insular bubble of the modern American urban oligarch.

Trump did more than upset constitutional conservatives with his support for using government power to transfer ownership of land from the middle class to the wealthy.  He also made an unforced error by unwittingly undercutting one of the major pillars of his claim to have the skills needed to be president – his self-proclaimed image as one of the world's best deal-makers.  Surely such a stellar negotiator as Trump should have easily arrived at a win-win solution with an elderly homeowner who didn't want to move.  Instead of further negotiations, Trump tried to call down the powers of the state of New Jersey to force her to sell to him.  Nor is this the only example of Trump's resort to colluding with politicians to use eminent domain to force people to sell their property.   

Four years ago, I warned people that Mitt Romney's business deals would be a negative, not a plus come the general election.  I worried that there were too many little guys who felt they got screwed by venture capitalists.  I also noted that voters who value business experience don't see the value in shuffling capital around as opposed to rolling up one's sleeves and producing tangible projects.

Trump's image raises two obvious lines of attack in a general election.  One is that over the years as a developer, he was involved in some very shady deal-making that hurt some of the same people he now claims to champion.  The other is that in more recent decades, Trump's image as a bricks and mortar-type guy can be shown as a false narrative – that when he started to turn his name into a brand to be licensed many years ago, he slowly began to become more hyped image than substance.

In an interview with, Fox News’s Bret Baier, Donald Trump was typically vocal about his support for the government's use of its powers of eminent domain.  This support was not just for public projects, but also to force private owners to give up their land to private sector developers such as him.  This is always justified as being for the good of the many, but in practice such private developments often benefit only the politicians who receive opportunities for graft and the developers.  While enthusiastically promoting this use of government power as the engine for jobs, Trump may instead have shown how much he resides inside the insular bubble of the modern American urban oligarch.

Trump did more than upset constitutional conservatives with his support for using government power to transfer ownership of land from the middle class to the wealthy.  He also made an unforced error by unwittingly undercutting one of the major pillars of his claim to have the skills needed to be president – his self-proclaimed image as one of the world's best deal-makers.  Surely such a stellar negotiator as Trump should have easily arrived at a win-win solution with an elderly homeowner who didn't want to move.  Instead of further negotiations, Trump tried to call down the powers of the state of New Jersey to force her to sell to him.  Nor is this the only example of Trump's resort to colluding with politicians to use eminent domain to force people to sell their property.   

Four years ago, I warned people that Mitt Romney's business deals would be a negative, not a plus come the general election.  I worried that there were too many little guys who felt they got screwed by venture capitalists.  I also noted that voters who value business experience don't see the value in shuffling capital around as opposed to rolling up one's sleeves and producing tangible projects.

Trump's image raises two obvious lines of attack in a general election.  One is that over the years as a developer, he was involved in some very shady deal-making that hurt some of the same people he now claims to champion.  The other is that in more recent decades, Trump's image as a bricks and mortar-type guy can be shown as a false narrative – that when he started to turn his name into a brand to be licensed many years ago, he slowly began to become more hyped image than substance.