The announcement that Donald Trump has already saved roughly 1,000 Carrier jobs from being moved from Indiana to Mexico struck me as probably bad policy and bad precedent, but definitely brilliant politics. And while few are disputing that, I’m not sure people realize exactly how significant this accomplishment is.
Here you have a guy who isn’t even president yet, and he’s already fulfilling one of his campaign promises. What is more, the fact that it’s a relatively small number of jobs almost makes it better. You could say that President Obama “saved the auto industry,” but that doesn’t really sound believable. The rejoinders would be obvious: “He had to do it,” “He bailed them out with our money,” and “He didn’t do it alone.”
It’s hard to fathom somebody saving an entire industry, but it’s much easier to comprehend Donald Trump saving one thousand jobs in Indiana. As a general rule, people like (and are biased toward) activism and action. Think of FDR: most of his early New Deal reforms actually made things worse—but at the time, people honestly didn’t care. He was trying. He was showing earnest concern. Unlike others presidents, he was actually doing something practical and trying to affect change.
Donald Trump has the same practical, hands-on motivation going for him. While most politicians seem aloof and out of touch, he is specifically in touch. He is on the ground. The fact that this is a fairly small number of jobs actually enhances the impact—it shows the public how much he cares about saving even a few jobs in what the political elites smugly refer to as “fly-over country.” And to paraphrase 1 Peter 4:8, this kind of action [love] covers a multitude of sins. If Trump consistently replicates this process around the country, his actions could indeed cover a multitude of sins.