Crain’s New York ran an interesting op-ed piece a couple of days ago that explored a very fundamental question: How does a businessman deal with the cognitive dissonance of opposing a rogue but financially gifted president like Donald Trump? The very presence of the Donald in the oval office generates questions that few others have raised. For one, America has never seen a president that stars in his own reality show. More importantly, Trump’s election created many logistical problems from the outset, as he has very real and substantial ties with Wall Street and many resultant conflicts of interest that could create real and visible ethical problems of an unseen caliber.
Then there is the issue of social liberalism. Some of the most conservative of conservatives will not support his harsh stance on immigration. The issue is just too American. The idea of diversity has always been such a cornerstone of how this country was run. It is difficult to espouse ideas like the building of Trump’s wall or the mass deportation of 11 million people, the exclusion of refugees to name but a few of the president’s less than popular initiatives. Many city mayors, Republican or Democrat, are getting ready to sue him to preserve their sanctuary status, and this is but a fraction of the head butting yet to come between Congress and the hawkish president.
More than 400 New York tech executives signed a letter opposing the president’s immigration ban last week. Among those opposed was Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs. Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times noted the political correctness of the CEO’s positions, ethically they are willing to part ways with some of Trump’s isolationist foreign policies, but practically, the business world remains wedded to him. While the CEO’s may oppose him politically, their top aim is to benefit their businesses and their constituents. Breaking away from Donald Trump is not the way to go. Tech leaders, on the other hand, have a pragmatic motive for opposing Trumps ban-his threats to tax Mexican imports and to create barriers to trade with Mexico could have an impact on the industry.
Crain’s sites many instances when big business at first did not support the election of individuals, conservative or not, Republican and Democrat, and then worked hard to fall into their good graces in spite of their internal opposition. Most notably for New Yorkers, real estate moguls opposed the election of De Blasio mainly because he advocated for affordable housing. Once elected, however, the real estate industry co-towed to him with the goal of profiting in spite of their reticence over his vision.
In the end, businesses always play politics and support the candidate that they assume will win and by default, line their pockets. Their votes become their investments.
By: Kristina Stukalenko