The tendency to underestimate Trump

Dan Spencer:
We continually misunderestimate President-elect Donald Trump. Lord knows I do.

I didn’t know much about The Donald before the presidential campaign that he won. My first awareness of Trump was when he swooped in and rebuilt the Wollman Rink, the ice skating oval located in the Southeast quadrant of Central Park.

The rink was a symbol of New York City’s dysfunction. It had fallen into disrepair and the city seemed incapable of fixing it. The rink was closed for repairs in 1980 by the Koch administration, which planned to restore it at the cost of $4.7 million. In 1985 the rink was $12 million over budget and still not ready.

In June of 1986, Trump then a second-tier developer with a single skyscraper to his name, said he rebuild the rink by Christmas. Trump got the Wollman Rink up and running by November 1, two months ahead of schedule and $775,000 under budget. He proved his point that the private sector was a far more efficient vehicle than the municipal government and made his reputation as a can-do guy.

After that very favorable impression, I knew of Trump as that guy that fired people on the Apprentice, a TV show I didn’t care for.
Despite being dismissed by most pundits, journalists and the political Establishment, Donald Trump did win. He beat the best politicians we have. Beat them all soundly.

We continually misunderestimated Trump and continue to do so.
Trump is assembling what appears to be the most Conservative cabinet I can remember. He is appointing people who are capable to carry out many things Trump said he would do when he announced his candidacy and in his plans for his presidency. Some of those are folks we have long supported.

Nevertheless, we still misunerestimate Trump.

To me, the tone of some of the criticism of the President-elect is now too harsh. We need to remain skeptical. but less belligerent, become more “hostile” in the traditional press sense — as a check on power.
I think we will soon see the Chinese and the Russians underestimating Donald Trump.   The Chinese have much more to lose now than they did when they insisted on a "one China policy."  While the US has some trade with China, that trade is now heavily weight their favor.  If they broke off relations with the US now, their economy would collapse.  Trump seems to understand this vulnerability more than others have.

And, if the Russians want sanctions lifted, they will have to negotiate an agreement with the US and the West.


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