Sometimes I receive suggested topics for my blog. A reader, who happens to be a client, suggested last week that I write about the fallout from Donald Trumps’s statements on immigration.
“Jack, in your left leaning missives, how about considering this?
“Political Correctness. Let’s all never say anything that could or would be potentially upsetting to anyone. Might as well erase the first amendment while we’re at it. …
“Why do I bring this up? I’m incensed about the treatment of 51 beautiful, educated, progressive motivated women by NBC in its dropping of the Miss USA pageant. The treatment of the tens of thousands of support family, friends, organizations and contestants in the fifty states that NBC decided to tread on without a thought. … You may not like the way he said it or that he said it at all, but the comments he made are true …
“And what do Trump’s comments have to do with the Miss USA pageant? Pretty much nothing except that the Trump organization is part owner of the pageant. …”
Let’s start by reviewing what Trump said:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. … They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Before focusing on those words, let’s address what happened to the Ms. USA contestants. The loss of a major network to broadcast the pageant is terrible. I get the disappointment and heartache. These women have taken a big hit through no fault of their own, but that doesn’t mean we should overlook Trump’s responsibility for their loss.
Business is about relationships, and those relationships are affected by words and actions. If our business partners say or do something that embarrasses us or harms our brand, we get to terminate the relationship. (In some cases, it may cost us contractual damages to do so, but that’s another matter.) Remember how fast Gillette dropped Tiger Woods after his extramarital affairs hit the news?
Trump said things that NBC didn’t like, and so he was shown the door. That was the risk Trump bore when he spoke about immigrants. And, no, this isn’t a First Amendment case or about being politically correct. The government isn’t weighing in here. This is a matter between two private parties.
I bear the same risk when writing this blog. I might take a position that offends a client, maybe even the client who gave me the idea for this article—I hope not—and be fired as a result.
But more than just choice is at issue here. Trump made statements that are, well, just plain wrong and troubling for their generalization. After likening Mexicans to droves of rapists and drug runners crossing the border, he tried to soften his words by ending with, “And some, I assume, are good people.” Some? How many is some? Some sounds like a small percentage. Where did Trump get his numbers?
The Washington Post reported that Trump’s campaign pointed to data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission to support his statement. The commission tracks the citizenship of offenders in federal prisons by primary offense, which is the offense with the longest maximum sentence when a person is convicted of multiple offenses. Of primary offense cases in fiscal year 2013 involving illegal immigrants, 17.6 percent were for drug trafficking, and 3.8 percent were for sex abuse.
Trump is wrong about how many illegal immigrants are criminals and how many are “good people.” But Trump is wrong a lot. FactCheck.Org found Trump to be wrong on a number of issues, most of which deal with the economy.
No surprise, but Trump declined to back down. In an interview on MSNBC, he said, “We have drug dealers coming across, we have rapists, we have killers … I mean it’s common sense. What do you think, they’re going to send us their best people, their finest people.”
What common sense is Trump talking about? Is Trump saying it’s common sense that foreign governments are exporting criminals like commodities? If so, I haven’t read anything to support that idea. Is Trump saying it’s common sense that most illegal immigrants are rapists and drug runners? If so, the statistics cited by the Washington Post don’t support that idea.
Trump is brash and likes to be the focus of attention, and he finally went too far. This time it was NBC saying, “You’re fired.” I don’t see a problem with that.
If Trump is brash and wrong, why has his approval rating recently soared? Simple. He taps into emotions. Americans are worried about a porous border, crime, terrorism, the economy—things that make them feel at risk for their well-being and security. Trump steps up and “tells it like it is.” He doesn’t have to be right. He just has to tap into that part of the brain that generates fear, and emotions take over. By telling us how scary the world is and how tough he is, people are attracted. Regrettably, emotion generally overcomes reason.
Here’s my prediction. Trump will go the way of Sarah Palin. She was once a beacon for the conservatives and resonated with people on a core level just as Trump does. Where is Palin now? When it became apparent she was more sound bite than substance, she faded. And so will Trump eventually. NBC was just the first one to catch on.
Jack D’Aurora writes for considerthisbyjd.com
To subscribe to this blog, use the subscribe box at http://www.considerthisbyjd.com.