If Donald Trump were a sports metaphor, he’d be the crazy on-side-kicking blitzing cornerback, suicide-squeezing, reverse-slam dunking point guard on his way to a hat trick! See: it takes multiple sports to metaphorize him. He’s Pete Rose crossed with Bobby Hull, Meadowlark Lemon, and Conrad Dobler (if anyone remembers his reputation).
This thought comes to mind in response to this amazing headline:
By Dan Primack
Donald Trump has a message for Tim Cook: If elected, you’re going to begin making all of your devices in the United States.
The Republican front-runner made the boast on Monday near the end of a speech at Liberty University in Virginia:
“I think we’re going to get things coming. We’re going to get Apple to start building their damn computers* and things in this country instead of in other countries.”
This seems to be the first time Apple has entered his crosshairs, and Trump provided no suggestions for how he would convince Tim Cook to abandon his company’s primary manufacturing base.
This is the kind of idea you expect from Bernie Sanders, not a Republican presidential candidate. In fact, one might well ask why Bernie Sanders hasn’t taken after Silicon Valley at all, given that it is as great an engine of income and wealth inequality as Wall Street. One reason is that Silicon Valley—especially Apple (Al Gore, board member)—is reliably liberal. Joel Kotkin rightly calls Silicon Valley the heart of the new “clerisy” of elite rich liberals who think they are not just smarter but morally better than the rest of the country. This is one reason why I rather like Trump’s attack, even though it is economically unsound. It is one reason why it is impossible to predict how he might fare with certain voting blocks, like California Hispanics who have been priced out of the housing market by the no-growthism Silicon Valley elites support.
One of Apple’s worst moments in recent years was when CEO Tim Cook was hauled before an indignant Senate committee that demanded to know “how dare Apple avoid U.S. corporate taxes by keeping its profits overseas?” Cook groveled, when he should have answered with just one line: “Senators—we’re complying fully and legally with the tax code that you wrote.” End of hearing. Instead Cook was a complete wimp.
There’s a lot of hypocrisy in Silicon Valley to be exploited by a clever demagogue like Trump. Like their “sincere” public pledges to increase the “diversity” of their overwhelmingly white, Asian, and male workforces. Here’s another headline for Trump’s pile from late last week:
Apple’s board is telling investors to reject a new diversity proposal, calling it “unduly burdensome.”
The company, like other big tech firms, has been criticized in recent years for being mostly male and predominantly white.
Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook sang the praises of a diverse workforce. He said diversity is a “readily solvable issue” that can be fixed. [Cook doesn’t mean a word of this in practical terms, of course.]
But Apple’s board of directors opposes a new proposal to increase diversity among its board and senior management. [See.]
You know what else Apple would find “unduly burdensome” to its enormous profit margins? Making its products in the United States. Are you ready for a $1,500 iPhone? That’s likely what it would cost if they made it here. It’s not an accident that Apple advertises that its products are “Designed in California by Apple.”
I repeat, for the umpteenth time, that I think Trump would make a poor president, and perhaps a catastrophic one for the Republican Party. But moves like this are fun to watch: he’s proving to be the greatest disruptor of American politics perhaps ever. No other Republican can go where Trump is headed on Silicon Valley. Somewhere in the Great Beyond Richard Nixon is enjoying a grin. Go Trump.
* Since Trump was speaking at an evangelical university, maybe he’s leaving himself a loophole here: could Apple continue to make its undamned computers in China?