Regardless of political affiliation or personal feelings about him, Donald Trump’s influence on US politics may be compared to the disruptive impact Uber has had on private taxi firms, according to Pippa Malmgren, an American policy analyst, speaking at the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (CAIS), which is taking place in the Cayman Islands this week.
She acknowledged that Trump represents a very emotive and divisive subject for many people but she said that, if emotion is taken out of any analysis of his impact, the way in which he is challenging and disrupting the power structures in Washington can be compared to the impact a new or disruptive technology may have in other sectors. And this may not be a bad thing long term, she said.
"I see him as the Uber of politics in the way he is disrupting the norms in politics," she said. "Washington and the politics around that have always been in my life; I am from that world. So, if I can say that maybe Washington needed disrupting, I can say it with a complete perspective of what that means.
"But Trump is saying to hundreds of bureaucrats that he doesn’t need them any more – that he doesn’t want their advice. But would narrowing or flattening the structure of government and making things smaller, really be such a bad thing?" Malmgren asks.
She notes that his alternative philosophy extends to many areas of government and the norms that have stood for decades before. In terms of his often strained relationship with the press, for example, she notes that by speaking so often and directly on twitter, he has removed the filter that previously existed between the president and the people of the US.
She went onto explain that Trump’s rise to power can also be explained in part by understanding that there is effectively two Americas which often have little in common: the more affluent coastal regions and the more rural middle of the country where people are less well-off.
"During my time in politics I spent a lot of time in the middle of the US and I came to understand that they have very different views to people on the coast but that is where power is and certainly the middle has the upper hand right now," Malmgren said.
"And the truth is, many of those people see now problem with Trump disrupting the status quo. They want change."
Malmgren also served as Special Assistant to the President of the United States for Economic Policy on the National Economic Council and is a former member of the US President's Working Group on Financial Markets. She is the founder of the DRPM Group and co-founder of H Robotics.
Now in its fourth year, CAIS is a not-for-profit event hosted by Dart which uses its experts and expertise to benefit philanthropic efforts both in Cayman and internationally. Its keynote speakers this year included Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former Governor of California, Captains Mark & Scott Kelly, former NASA astronauts & retired US Navy Captains; and retired DEA agents Stephen Murphy & Javier Pena, responsible for apprehending the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar.
CAIS 2017, Pippa Malmgren, Donald Trump, Uber, Cayman Islands