The American Auto Industry Moves South: West Wing vs. Donald Trump

The West Wing Version:

Josh, Toby, Leo, and Donna are in Leo's office. They have just gotten word that a major auto manufacturer plans to build a plant in Mexico, and will likely close a corresponding plant in Michigan. Josh is pacing, Leo is behind his desk, Donna is standing near the door, and Toby is sitting in a chair smoking an unlit cigar. All four had just come from a poker game with the President and others.

Josh Leyman: Screw the auto industry. If they decide to move another plant to Mexico, we just slap a 35% tariff on them!

Leo Mcgarry: That won't go well, Josh, and you know it. A tariff like that would send the Mexican economy in to a spiral. That won't help the regional economy in more ways than I can mention.

Toby Ziegler [Voice raising noticeably at the end of the sentence]: "Not for nothin', but the last time a leak from the White House even intimated that we might take retaliatory action against industry in Mexico, the Peso dropped like a slider in Yankee stadium!

Josh Leyman [Frustrated]: So what are you saying, we just let them move their plant, move these jobs? We made promises to the Unions. I made promises to the union.

Donna Moss: You made promises to me too, Josh. I don't see you getting upset about that.

Josh Leyman [Casually]: Yeah but that's you, who cares.

The President enters the room. Toby and Leo stand, but the president waves them down. Leo sits down but Toby remains standing. Donna back a foot or so towards the door. Josh put on his little boy face.

President Bartlet: That's right, we made promises. We made promises to the auto industry, and we made promises to the American people. As I recall, we've even kept some of them. But we also made a promise to be smart about all of this, about the choices we make. I chose to believe that the American People, in all their wisdom, despite Hamilton's original incredulity about that, picked a boring Economics Nobel Laureate to run this place because they wanted us to be smart about some of this stuff at least some of the time!

Joshua Leyman: That's right, Sir. But what do we do?

The President and Leo look meaningfully at each other. The President walks out of the room without another word. The rest of the staff turn to Leo, expectantly.

Joshua Leyman [directed at Leo]: Well?

[cue music]

Leo McGarry: We do nuthin' ... Absolutely nuthin. If we say a word that makes us look like we're even going to send our Great Aunt Tillie down to Mexico to complain about this, the Peso will be in the dumps, and nine automobile companies will scurry south of the border to set up plants in an economy so devalued they'll be able to produce the same car they would produce here for 30,000 for the cost of a box of donut holes and a cup of coffee.

Joshua Leyman [resigned voice, moving to head out of the room]: Yeah, I suppose the best thing to do is sometimes to do nothing.

Donna Moss [coy look]: And you should be good at that, Josh.

[fade to black, flentle music]

Trump Version

[Donald Trump is sitting on the toilet, paging through his facebook feed. He notices a news item about an American Auto company's plans to close a plant in Michigan, and open a similar plant in Mexico.]

Donald Trump [yelling]: Kellyanne get in here! Where is that Conway bitch?

Kellyanne Conway [from outside bathroom door, off stage]: The bathroom door is locked, Mr. President Elect. What can I get for you?

Donald Trump [yelling]: Tweet this: US Auto co moves to Mexico? I don't think so! 35% Tariff! Make America Great Again!

Kellyanne Conway: Yes sir, is that all sir?

Donald Trump [yelling]: That's all, go away.

[ten minutes later]

Donald Trump
[yelling]: Kellyanne get in here! Where is tha...

Kellyanne Conway: I'm right here sir, what can I do for you

Donald Trump [yelling]: Tweet this! I'll make American businesses play fair! Not like Crooked Hillary!

Kellyann Conway: Thank you sir.

[Next scene, two weeks later, Kellyanne Conway is outside by a news stand, purchasing a copy of the Washington Post. The camera zooms in on the headline.]

WaPo Headline reads:

"Mexican Economy Tanks. Entire North American Auto Industry Initiates Plans to Move to Mexico.

'I sure hope Donald's wall has a big door in it to let some of these cars into the US. If anybody wants to ever drive a new car, that is!' quips GM CEO.


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I've said it before and I'll say it again: the election of Trump marks the beginning of the end of the USA's status as the globe's preeminent economic, political, and scientific power. Probably in that chronological order. Quite possibly forever.

And simply having a lot of nukes in the basement isn't going to change this, because guess what? There's a lot more around the world:

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 20 Jan 2017 #permalink

Bernard J. @ #1:
"the election of Trump marks the beginning of the end of the USA’s status as the globe’s preeminent economic, political, and scientific power. "

If it was just that, or if that was the worse of it, I think it might not be such a bad thing. We could be the 'first among equals' , reap the benefit of not having to have an opinion on everything, and perhaps stay out of some places and IMHO be a much happier nation. One of Obama's good points was his willingness to let other regional powers handle issues without much more than a few words of advice and encouragement. And staying optimistic even as the results were not always perfect or going in a way we might prefer.

I really think he understood that we have to let other nations try, and sometimes fail, if they are going to mature and become good partners.

On the other hand perhaps this is what the US needs to do to grow up as a people. We, and the rest of the world know what has to be done, and how to do it but our mythology of frontier independence and bootstraps blinds so many in this nation.

Other nations know how to get medical care to the citizenry. They know how to serve the populous economically. How to educate. National healthcare, safety nets and redistribution, and public education are proven systems.

But, somehow, we just won't listen. So we look to be on the verge of trying to make the 21st century work with the same solutions that stopped working 70 years ago. Evidently we just didn't try hard enough. This time it will work, for sure.

The pain and suffering coming is entirely unnecessary if we would just look around and see what works in other nations. We are going to pay the cost of thinking we are special.

Which gets back to my first point. Thinking we are special has a price. Internationally and domestically.

But, somehow, we just won’t listen.

Please don't include me in that "we". I'm not in the basket of deplorables. I'm one of their victims.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 20 Jan 2017 #permalink

I use the term we meaning we as a nation.

I know how you feel. I am also going to most likely be one of those thrown under the bus to satisfy a perverted last-gasp attempt to make the old stories and methods work.

I don't drive the bus either. But I'm pretty sure when it goes off a cliff I will get some of the blame because I'll be one of the dirty fucking hippies who didn't speak up and warn anyone in language they can understand. I try but it is never enough.