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President-elect Donald Trump is using the Rules for Radicals formula developed by Saul Alinsky to Make America Great Again. 

Using Twitter to execute Alinsky rule #12, “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it,” Trump has CEOs quaking in their corner office that a tweet focusing on their company will harm its share price and most importantly, their brands. 

Unlike the political Left, Trump’s goal is not to harass big business over profits or shake them down for donations. Trump is also not using new laws to incentivize companies to seek profit from the growth of government. 

Quite the contrary.

By adopting Alinsky’s methods, Trump is brilliantly hijacking the radical left’s strategy to get big business to lobby for his pro-growth economic agenda. 

For years, President Obama used corporations, like a virus attacks a cell, for the purpose of commandeering the corporate host’s lobbying machinery to do his bidding.

Obama transformed big business from a foe to a left-wing ally. 

During the 2008 presidential race, Obama harshly criticized the pharmaceutical industry over drug prices. After Obama became president and fearing price controls on drugs, pharmaceutical companies became a huge advocate for Obamacare.

With the pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying help, Obama got his health care plan and the drug companies received protection from having to worry about negotiating drug prices with the government. 

Obama’s attempt to regulate energy followed the same strategy. Obama wanted cap-and-trade legislation to regulate carbon dioxide emissions as the central part of his climate change agenda. 

A number of huge companies, thinking the president’s plan would become law, formed The United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) to lobby for the legislation.

Corporate supporters of cap-and-trade sought profits from the legislation and/or public relations benefits from being on Obama’s green team. 

Big business lobbying support got the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill through the House of Representatives but, thankfully, it fell short in the Senate.

In both cases, big business partnered with Democrats to lobby for legislation that benefited both corporations and the Left. 

Suddenly, Trump turned the table. Now corporations are primed to aggressively support his economic agenda. 

Michigan based-companies, Dow Chemical and Ford, recently jumped on the Trump train.

The sudden conversion of Dow Chemical led by CEO Andrew Liveris is truly staggering.

During Obama’s first term, Liveris was a cheerleader of the president’s cap-and-trade plan that would have made carbon dioxide a tradable commodity. Under the plan, companies could profit by selling carbon credits from reducing carbon emissions. 

At the time, Liveris was frustrated with U.S. energy policy that restricted domestic fossil fuel development — the company depends on fossil fuels for its products. (see my 2008 Townhall commentary

Instead of exposing the harm to jobs and the economy through higher energy prices from cap-and-trade, Liveris wanted to profit from it. 

Under the perverse incentives of the law, Dow could cash in by cutting emissions by closing U.S. based plants and sell carbon credits it didn’t need.  

Dow’s manufacturing would then shift overseas where countries had pro-growth energy policies. 

With Trump, Liveris is now bullish on the U.S. 

Trump named Liveris to lead a manufacturing council and Dow announced it plans to invest in a new Michigan-based resource and development center. 

Having made a financial committed to the U.S., Liveris will order his lobbyists to support Trump’s pro-energy and pro-growth policies. 

Ford is also responding to Trump’s pro-growth economic policy. 

Following a series of Trump tweets about Ford making cars in Mexico, the company announced it will invest in a Michigan factory instead of building a $1.6 billion manufacturing plant in Mexico. 

Ford made the change because it was worried about the impact of negative public perception on future car sales.

More important than the manufacturing shift is Ford’s interest in Trump’s pro-growth economic policy.

Trump recognizes the importance of the corporate engine in public policy and he is using an Alinsky tactic to get big business to do the right thing for shareholders and the U.S.

During an interview with Fox Business Network’s host Neil Cavuto about its plans, Ford CEO Mark Fields said the company was reacting to “a more positive U.S. manufacturing business environment under President-elect Trump and some of the pro-growth policies that he said he is going to pursue.” 

Similar to Liveris, Fields has a financial incentive to make sure Trump’s pro-growth economic policy including regulatory reform becomes a reality. Ironically, Ford was also a member of USCAP.

Critics of Trump’s tweets targeting companies are looking at the trees instead of the big picture forest. 

Trump recognizes the importance of the corporate engine in public policy and he is using an Alinsky tactic to get big business to do the right thing for shareholders and the U.S.

 Transforming big business as a lobbying ally is essential to make Trump’s pro-growth economic policy a reality and to Make America Great Again. 



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Dr. Tom Borelli, Ph.D is a contributor to Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @tomborelli.

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