When Donald Trump became president I did a blog post about his similarities with the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras. I was of course mainly impressed with their marketing capabilities. The unorthodox way they gamed the political system to win. Some time down the line, it gets even worse. I am not sure if all populist leaders don’t have some secret forum where they exchange ideas.
For starters they don’t have a left or right, conservative or socialist direction. They don’t care. Whatever sounds good, whatever tweets best. Tariffs where a “socialist” thing, now it’s a Trump thing in an almost nationalistic way. In no case is it felt necessary to research something. He will head to meet the leader of North Korea unprepared. He might even fall asleep during the meeting like Tsipras seems to do in major international leader meetings. They both have a unique way of projecting their reality, their complete and utter stupidity, their short term, childish “truth” as if it is the actual truth. It is like watching a two year old lie about the broken vase he is holding.
Like a rather immature two year old they both change their minds erratically and avoid any specifics. Forget a detailed memo explaining how a major change will happen, here are a couple of tweets I shot out last night. Go figure. They get swayed by whoever they last met or whatever they saw on television. The gaping lack of basic understanding of how the world works poses absolutely no obstacle to them scheming on the grandest of levels. Our prime minister even set up the Greek Space program recently. Sure, it is probably just a way to line the pockets of his friends, but that is irrelevant to the fantasy world he is projecting.
Trump and Tsipras hold on to simple ideas. Really simple ideas. Imports are bad. Let’s kill them. If it gets the crowd cheering they will just default to the simple “truth” in a world where nothing is simple. And no matter how ridiculously obvious it is that these people are bowing to whatever their friends ask for, those simple “truths” keep being repeated until they drown out everyone else. Tsipras is co ruling with a party full of people that believe that we are being sprayed from the air to influence our decision making. Trump takes advice from Navarro. To say these are far out extreme conspiracy theorists is an understatement. The simple, obvious, appealing “truth” is all they care about and they somehow manage to persuade a lot of people that is the whole story.
Their opponents are in disarray because by moving pseudo ideologically they have destroyed the structure of politics as everybody else knew it. The ultimate market redefinition. Like going into the hayday of a Pepsi-Coke war and getting everybody to stop drinking all together because liquids are unnatural and you can get all you need from cucumbers and watermelons. Tsipras and Trump have a lot to teach us. Get off your soap boxes and see how you can use their methodology in other markets.
Of course we need to get them out of politics as soon as possible.