Trump took to Twitter this morning to share some thoughts about Amazon. He doesn’t like Amazon. My guess is that he doesn’t like Jeff Bezos, because Jeff Bezos leans liberal. There’s not much out there on his political views, but when he bought the Washington Post, there was some reporting on it, and there’s not much evidence for any support for traditional conservative/republican causes. So, like most things with Trump, my guess is that this is a personal, and petty, feud, with no principled structure at all. But Trump is still out for Amazon. And that’s going to be a big point of conflict for the Cult of Trump, who show their true colors over and over when it comes to going against their proclaimed values to follow their cult leader.
Here’s the thing, I share Trump’s concerns. I love Amazon, and I use Amazon (probably too often), but I can’t ignore the harm Amazon has done to traditional retailers. On the other hand, Amazon has given some traditional retailers a better way to sell stuff to a broader audience, but it doesn’t change the fact that Amazon is largely responsible for us being able to buy stuff without ever talking to or seeing another person, and that sure seems like a bad thing for a social species like ours.
All that said, what’s remarkable here is that a republican, supported by republicans (about 87% of republicans, according to Gallup) is attacking a very successful private sector company for innovating a new way of shopping, and for not paying enough taxes. Where was this concern for tax revenues when they voted to increase the debt by huge cuts to corporate taxes? The republican president, supported by a large majority of republican voters, is talking like a democrat, and his supporters don’t seem to care. Taking advantage of tax laws, and paying low effective rates, has been a complaint of democrats. Republicans, in response to this, have repeatedly said that the government shouldn’t interfere (which seems strange to me, because it’s the government that’s imposing the taxes in the first place). Republicans have said that the government shouldn’t pick winners or losers in the private sector.
Of course, all bets are off with Trump, and the Cult of Trump. The republican voters who internalized the GOP talking points about bad government picking winners and losers in the private sector are now somehow comfortable with a president picking winners and losers in the private sector. The big question will be what the Amazon fans will do now that their cult leader has turned on the company they’ve fed for years.
Who will be the first member of the Cult of Trump to unplug or smash their Echo? And once it’s gone, how will they know if it’s raining outside or not?