Bloomberg Businessweek

Trump Needs More Carrot

Donald Trump got elected in 2016 in no small part because he had the good sense to recognize a bad deal—and to offer voters a better one. One afternoon in May 2016, soon after knocking off 16 Republican challengers to cinch his party’s presidential nomination, Trump matter-of-factly explained how he’d done it. Sitting in his Trump Tower office beside a replica model of a Trump airliner, the future president described for me a confrontation he’d just had with soon-to-be-House Speaker Paul Ryan, a proud avatar of small-government conservatism.

Trump realized that Ryan’s plan to finance a tax cut for the rich by cutting programs such as Medicaid and Social Security would harm the GOP’s White, blue-collar base. It offered voters a lousy deal, while Democrats promised a better one. “I told Paul, ‘We’ve got to win an election,’ ” Trump said. “There’s no way a Republican is going to beat a Democrat when the Republican is saying, ‘We’re going to cut your Social

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