In the (circa 1996) movie Jerry Maguire, Ron Tidwell (played by Cuba Gooding Jr.), a football player, asks Jerry (played by Tom Cruise), a sports agent, “Show me the money” when Jerry makes claims on what he can do for Ron. The equivalent (in Silicon Valley) today (for anyone making claims on their accomplishments) is “Show me the data”. The typical analytical thinker bases opinions and makes decisions based on available data.
Before drawing any conclusions, let us take a hard look at the data of the Donald Trump Presidency over the last four years. I will look at this from four angles:
- Handling of COVID-19
On the Economy, Trump inherited a healthy economy from the Obama administration. Trump claims that he generated historic economic growth, record low unemployment, and lifted millions of Americans out of poverty – which, he says, he will do again if re-elected.
The truth is that the US Economy has been hit by the biggest economic contraction ever recorded and the highest unemployment rate in more than 80 years.
Here is a chart on the US economic growth since 2009.
So, basically, during his first three years in office, Trump oversaw an annual average growth of just 2.5% – which is similar to the last three years of the Obama administration. Except that Obama delivered a higher 5.4% in 2014, while Trump saw a contraction of 30% in April, May, June of 2020. One might argue that this contraction was not due to Trump, but because of the Coronavirus. Given that, the growth was not “spectacular” in the first three years, Trump’s grade in the economy is a C. However, in light of the repeated lies, he has said regarding his “success” with the economy, that grade downgrades to a D. Speaking of Coronavirus, it is a perfect segway to the second topic.
On the topic of handling COVID-19, we have all heard the Bob Woodward tapes -where as far back as February, Trump acknowledges the seriousness of the virus. Yet he has repeatedly downplayed the virus in public. To keep the focus on numbers, a Stanford University report found that Trump’s election campaign rallies have been linked to tens of thousands of COVID-19 cases and hundreds of deaths. He continues to hold these large events as late as three days before the elections.
The study examined COVID-19 infection rates in eighteen locations across the country where Trump held campaign rallies between June 20 and September 30 and compared the post-rally infection rates in those counties with rates of COVID-19 cases in comparable counties (where rallies were not held). The study concluded that the rallies resulted in 30,000 more incremental confirmed cases of COVID-19 and likely led to more than 700 deaths.
These facts reinforce that Trump only cares about himself and getting reelected. He does not care for his supporters. He will fleece these supporters for everything they are worth and abandon them when he sees no value in them.
Here are some more numbers to consider. Canada, another North American country has had 9000+ COVID deaths compared to the 230,000+ COVID deaths in the US. There is 1 person dying every minute of every day in the US from COVID. Yet, Trump says that we are “rounding the corner” and that the “doctors are inflating the numbers because they get paid more for reporting COVID deaths”.
Trump’s grade on the handling of COVID-19 is an F.
The Russia investigation has been going on for 22 months. There have been 34 indictments/charges of Individuals, 3 indictments/charges of Companies, 6 Guilty pleas, and 4 convictions. The number of indictments is too many to list them all here. The following have entered Guilty pleas: Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, George Papadapolous, Richard Pinedo, Alex can der Zwaan, Rick Gates.
Here is a graphic that captures all the indictments:
The entire (redacted) Mueller report (all 448 pages) can be downloaded from this location.
Given this abject failure and complete breakdown, Trump’s grade on Russia is an F.
On the final topic of Immigration, it should be pointed out that immigrants are the bedrock of Silicon Valley. Pre-Trump America’s relatively open immigration policies play a crucial role in the tech business. In a sense, Silicon Valley is a magnet that has attracted the best and brightest from around the world.
The Trump administration has proposed and implemented policies on a wide range of immigration issues. These have touched on everything from asylum to deportation policy, refugee settlement, and admissions from certain majority-Muslim countries.
These policies would be ruinous to the immigrant-friendly dynamic of American tech. As examples, Mike Krieger, an immigrant from Brazil, is a co-founder of Instagram and John Collison, an Irish immigrant, is a co-founder of Stripe. Collectively, companies founded by immigrants (which include household names of Uber, Tesla and Palantir) created thousands of jobs and added billions of dollars to the American economy. Their founders came from different parts of the world, including India, Britain, Israel, Canada, China and many others.
Here is a picture of a protest outside of Google headquarters in Mountain View on Trump’s executive order on immigration – which could hurt the economy.
In conclusion, Trump’s immigration policies are ruinous not just to Silicon Valley, but to America in general. Trump’s jingoistic attempts to appease his base will end up backfiring in the long run.
The best thing that can happen is to tell Trump that his time has run out and show him the door on Nov. 3.
[Prakash Narayan serves in the Executive Committee of ATEA. A BITS Pilani alumnus, Narayan received an MS in CS from IIT, Delhi. He worked for over two decades at Sun Microsystems, before he co-founded Micello. He is a member of the Angel Investor group Keiretsu Forum, and also volunteers his time in several organizations, including TiE Silicon Valley.]