I hate to say it, but the “president-elect” will soon be the real president of the US. Can’t wait. So, while I, in line with many others in the ‘la la liberal’ world, await the climate disaster and nuclear Armageddon that might accompany Trump’s first (and hopefully also last) term, here are some tips and tricks for surviving the next four years. In other words, how to “brand” global health in the Trump era and other dodgy global health tactics you might want to use if your name is Richard, Ilona or David.
- The ‘Golden rule’: avoid Trump Tower by all means. Not everybody will be convinced, especially some of the more opportunist (or desperate) global health leaders and advocates, but trust me, you’d rather be seen in Davos these days than at Trump’s premises. The trick is to let ‘The Donald’ come to you, rather than the other way around. See below.
- Instead of making silly (and useless) attempts to convince Trump that he can ‘make America great again’ by promoting global health, or that ‘global health means good business’, tell him that displaying his great and generous global health heart over and over again will make him even more irresistible to hot women around the globe, and boost the Trump “brand” further, including in faraway exotic places (which is good for his own business).
- Make sure that every major global health fundraising occasion doesn’t just feature the usual suspects – say, the likes of Peter Piot, Seth Berkley and Larry Summers – but also babes (Disclaimer for EVs 2016: I don’t mean Justin Trudeau here). Instead of Elton John or Bono, we better hire Rod Stewart and ZZ Top from now on for the musical entertainment at these events. Trump will soon consider global health financing dialogues and replenishments as a ‘win-win’. Heck, he might even check out the venues (and some participants) before! Also, global health fundraisers should now have compulsory jacuzzi & cocktail side-events, although I’m not quite sure how that would work out at the WHO headquarters in Geneva.
- Don’t bore Trump with elaborate investment cases for global health, the right to health, fuzzy systems thinking or global health security concerns. No, from now on, every global health frame should be packaged as a simple – and preferably, rude – tweet, offending at least a few groups in the world. The more, the merrier. Chances are “The Donald” will retweet (or react intuitively) at 3 am in the morning, adding some of his trademark unpresidented and incisive comments. Given the millions of Trump followers, usually in shock and awe when their hero displays his razor sharp yet streetwise intellect, your frame will soon go viral, including on Breitbart. Make sure you don’t talk about far away horizons like ‘2030’ let alone ‘2035’, no, tweet that great things will happen for your global health cause ‘from day one’ if Donald wishes so. In short, make it your “Grand Challenge” to launch your own global health meme, exploiting the Donald’s (rather numerous) weaknesses.
- Speaking of going viral, to really hit the jackpot, make sure you get in touch with a few Russian hackers as well – and Alisa Sjevtsjenko in particular, if you want to get Trump personally interested. The data whizzkids from IHME might have some good connections in these circles, who knows.
- Think of a nasty global health reality show format with Donald as the – natural – host. As he skips his daily intelligence briefings, I bet he’ll have plenty of time. And anyway, this sort of thing is firmly in his comfort zone. So why not let Richard Horton, Rob Yates and other Julio Frenks compete with each other, starring in such a global health reality show? ( thinking also of a few stunning women in global health and HPSR now, as Trump’s attention span is, notoriously, rather limited) Each time one of them has to go, Trump wouldn’t just fire them, but they would also get a couple of global health billions for their cause. Say, Horton for planetary health (and a zillion other lofty global health causes), Seth for vaccines, Rob for you-know-what, etc. In this way, Trump can show his generous heart in every episode (see also (2)). Tim Evans could be his (arguably, not very good looking) assistant, to hand out the billion dollar checks, leveraging also some private capital in the process, to make the dollars go the extra mile.
I’m sure you can think of some other tactics for the Trump era, this was just to get you started.
Last but not least, it goes without saying that we also need a global health acronym for the innovative global health tactics and frames required for these bright new times. How about “REAL DDT” ? As in ‘Resilience for European and American Liberals in Dodgy Donald Times’?
You might have other and better suggestions. Meanwhile, good luck!