Dear President-Elect Trump,
Hey Don (do you mind if I call you ‘Don’?). It’s DK. I hope you and your family finally got a few seconds to absorb this contentious and grueling election cycle, take a moment, and rested a bit. Because what’s about to happen next, well that’s going to make what you just went through for 18 months a little walk in the park.
I know friends, donors, and members from the “Washington Establishment” both Rs and Ds are probably beginning to circle around you looking for jobs, appointments, cushy ambassadorships and all the like. Trust me, I lived right in the heart of Washington, DC for 15 years – I totally get it. But I hope you don’t mind getting this here note from Yours Truly with an idea that maybe would be something to consider – if not for just helping you steer into a solid direction for your policy rollouts… but to help heal America a bit.
Okay, first thing’s first. Full disclosure: I totally didn’t vote for you.
In fact, I pretty much thought from the moment you jumped on your golden escalator that this campaign was more P.T. Barnum than U.S. Grant. I had no confidence in you, your ability to govern, your experience, your sensibilities to issues, your personal bankrupt moral compass, your xenophobia, your misogyny, your knowledge of Geo-political situations, the works. Oh, and I think your “TV celebrity” just makes you no better than a Paris Hilton in terms of true substance (other than that, I’m sure you’re a swell guy).
But… you won. So that’s a thing.
Now you are about to take the oath and get rolling. I have a suggestion that might be something that you – and only you – can be massively qualified and positioned to take on (yes, I’m not kidding. After listing a billion thing I think you lack, I am saying you have something super rare and advantageous for this idea to work). Wanna know what I think you should hit the ground running on immediately following your swearing in?
A War on Infrastructure.
Don, you are perfectly aligned to make a massive, country-wide “New Deal-esque” frontal assault on the crumbling infrastructure of our nation. We have talked literally for years about how our country is falling apart from the inside with very little national push from the top out to the countryside. Roads, bridges, airports, trains, the entire transportation system is due for some serious facelifts. But not just words, placating a typical talking point every political office holder promises into every microphone and rubber-chicken dinner speech. Nope, a full-on WAR on Infrastructure. Why? Well there are a number of reasons why you are best positioned for this:
- Divided Nation, Unifying Project: Don, you know that this election was split. It may “appear” you have a mandate because the Electoral College numbers were surprisingly one-side more than most thought, in addition having the House and Senate both Republican-led is a nice thing. But HALF of the popular vote went elsewhere. In fact more people voted for Secretary Clinton than you. Tensions are high, nerves are shot, anger is boiling over in many parts of the land. But you know what many, many Americans can get behind? Fixing that pothole. Rebuilding that bridge that looks rusted out. An actual real-deal national tain rail system that isn’t Amtrak’s joke of a fleet. This is not only super needed.. it could be super unifying.
- Get People To Work: Tons of people who voted for you are blue collars workers having it tough over the last few years. Few years?! Hell, since President Reagan working class jobs, manufacturing jobs, builders, construction-based jobs… all have been melting away. With a massive push to infrastructure, you can rally these workers and get them back on the job. And not just direct line workers, committing to this large-push for large projects means work for work clothing, equipment (assembly & maintenance), urban planners, architects, developers, catering/food trucks, event management pros, energy workers, etc. PLUS, new infrastructure means new places to start new jobs, new businesses, and new employment opportunities. New projects? New jobs.
- Um, You’re A Builder: This is your thing, isn’t it, Don? Consider yourself the General-Contractor-in-Chief.
- We Need To Unite, Literally: You know what I think might be the best part of this idea, Don? This doubling-down on infrastructure could bind us closer to one another more than anything. Look at the final Electoral College map. See those red states in the middle? Okay, now check out the coasts? All blue, right? Part of the common language that we use speaks to this split in the nation, blue and red. Many call it “flyover states” or the “liberal coasts” when talking about us. How about this: let’s connect everyone more directly by creating an actual trans-continental rail system. Let’s have people go THROUGH the flyover states and travel across the liberal coasts. If we move through and interact, we might even start seeing what is means to live in other areas of OUR country, and then begin to understand and LEARN from one another. There was a time when traveling cross-country meant experiencing the many sights and sounds of our diverse nation. Today? It’s flight with some bad food and terrible movie. Gate to gate, no experiencing other parts of our collective culture.
- Everyone Hates You: Here me out, Don. This could be a not-so-bad-thing. What I mean is that your campaign ticked off everyone. Democrats and Republicans alike were horrified, shocked, angered, confused, and every other emotion to you. You have allies and foes from both sides of the political fence. But….. BUT…. that also means you are not held to a “follow the party line” standard like many others face once they take the Oath of Office. Political promises to leadership or party? Forget it. You can use this to your advantage by pushing both sides to invest the political and financial capital to make this happen. Put is this way: everybody needs and road and a pothole doesn’t care if you’re a Dem or a GOPer.
- Your “America First” Talk Could Be Realized Without Being A Dick: There’s a not-so-subtle dog whistle about your yapping on about “America First” that is unsettling. Xenophobia, religious intolerance, the fear of “others” makes you look weak., ignorant. But by saying we will rebuild “America First” – you show willingness to unify and connect. Metaphor AND Reality. Boom-shaka-laka.
- Let’s Make A Deal (without the stupid costumes like on theTV show): You think you can make the best deals? Cool, hire some guys to fix I-80. Feel like you can negotiate quality contracts? Awesome, let’s connect everyone to smart rail and ties our rural/suburban/urban corridors together. Put that NYC-contractor-relations to good use.
- Talk Tech, Nerd: Infrastructure work will need the necessary tech savvy people to make the system hum. We can’t have a 21st century full-transportation and run on computers from the 1980s – yet in many place, that’s the reality. Trust me, I worked on a FAA contract in the 90s about the Air Traffic Control System and so much of it (radar system, traffic control hardware/software) was ancient… ANCIENT. Like Pong-looking displays. Scary. Recruit our top tech minds to back a huge (you say “yuge” when I mean huge, don’t you Don?) implementation strategy, and voila! High speed rail, driver-less vehicles, HOV lanes, modernized airport systems… check and mate.
So there you go, Don! There are so many things that you will have to address and tackle as our new President. You said some outlandish things, hateful speech, and honestly… some flat out un-American rhetoric. You need something that shows off your skills, knowledge, and core work experience… infrastructure is the thing!
You’ve got a mountain of worries and concerns from a whole lot of America, Mr. President-Elect. My advice to you is to do what you say you’re the best at: Building.
First, build America’s Infrastructure…. then start to think how you could help rebuild America’s broken soul.
I’ll let you go now. Thanks for your time, Don.
PS — Just a quick logistical question: Will there be a “White House Hair Wrangler” on staff? I’ve got to think you’d need a well-trained person on staff to manage that lettuce atop your head, and someone to travel with you at all times, kind of like a body man who carries your luggage. Just wondering.