Monday, February 13, 2017

The Minion I Know - Peter Navarro

It seriously freaks me out that I actually know one of Trump's people. Please don't think less of me.

A quarter century ago UC Irvine economics professor Peter Navarro wanted to become mayor of San Diego. He decided to use the local environmental movement as his vehicle. This was odd because up until then he had zero interest in the environment.

He took over a growth management initiative campaign that I was also working on, and became its principle spokesman. As a spokesman he was mean, disruptive, bombastic, and condescending. Peter didn't just think he was the smartest man in the room, he was certain he was the smartest man in the universe.

There was one debate where he represented the campaign, I represented the Sierra Club, and local elected officials took the pro-growth side. Peter interrupted, insulted, and demeaned the politicians while never attempting to address the issues. I stayed on message. After the debate the politicians came up to me and thanked me, not for agreeing with them (I hadn't) but simply for being rational.

On another initiative Peter undercut our fundraising by contacting donors, claiming to represent the campaign and getting them to write checks to his personal PAC. On yet a third campaign he cleaved a labor union provision onto a completely unconnected growth management ballot initiative. He then used union volunteers to gather the signatures. Again this was curious because Peter hated labor unions.

The problem was, by law, initiatives had to be single issue. When a judge ruled Peter's ballot initiative illegal, Peter offered to delete the labor provisions thereby stabbing in the back the hundreds of union workers who had supported him.

As the mayoral election was approaching, Peter asked me to meet with him. By this time I was fairly important within the environmental community, chairing the Conservation Committee of the local Sierra Club chapter. At that meeting Peter issued a direct threat, support his run for mayor or he would destroy me.

I told him to fuck off. Peter then began a whisper campaign against me that damaged my reputation.

Come the election and it looked like Peter might win up until the final debate when his opponent, Susan Golding, goaded him into a meltdown that revealed Peter's pathology. Peter lost. He ran a few other times for other posts, always losing, then disappeared.

When Donald Trump started running I recognized him as Peter Navarro writ large. All the personality traits I had suffered through with Peter were apparent in Trump. Both men didn't want power to accomplish anything, they wanted power for the sake of power alone and the proof of their power would be the ability to hurt innocent people.

So I was not surprised when Trump picked Peter to head the National Trade Council. Hateful people attract each other. Peter is more than willing to start a disastrous trade war just to prove he finally, after all these years, has the power to destroy.

Now, because I really, really need this...

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