It seems the biggest qualification to work for Trump is loyalty to the boss. During the campaign Trump loved immigrants, LGBTQ people, and Mexicans, as long as they were going to vote for him. If they weren’t, or if they expressed doubt that he had their interests in mind, then at best he ignored them, and at worst went on a 3 AM tweetstorm at them. President-elect Trump is doing the same thing. Nearly all of his cabinet considerations and appointments have been people who have publicly supported him. The exception is Romney, who, now that Trump has won, is currently saying very nice things.
The question becomes, is this a good thing? Knowing that simply sucking up to the boss is the way to get ahead can lead to a situation where talented, competent people are left following orders of those who’s sole qualitification is stroking the boss’s ego. Instinct tells me that this is bad, but I can’t always trust my instinct. Let’s do a little thought experiment.
So let’s say that you’re great at your job. You’re insightful, efficient, and are generally looked to as a leader in your field. And, as a result, you’re promoted to the highest office there is. Then you screw up. But because you’re seen as a leader, no one notices the screw up. We think that, even though we’re in a bad situation, it’s still the best situation that could have happened. As a result, you keep your job, even though you’re in over your head and are making bad choices. There’s an old observation that everyone is bad at their jobs. The reason for that is if you’re good at your job, you get promoted, then if you’re good at that job, you get promoted again, and so on until you reach a job you’re no good at, then you’re stuck there. Obviously that’s massively oversimplified, but there is some truth there. That probably isn’t a concern with Trump.
With Trump, competence doesn’t appear to be a big concern. If his cabinet considerations are any indication, loyalty is far more important. If that’s the case, disloyalty would be the way of getting fired. And if his campaign managers are good examples, the best way to show your disloyalty is to be bad at your job. He went through three. Each did an ok job, but once they made a mistake that made Trump look bad, he fired them. Same with Chris Christie. Originally he was going to be head of the transition team. But after his incompetent handling of of the Bridgegate scandal, he has no federal job whatsoever. Make the boss look bad, and you’re out.
On the whole, I have no idea if Trump’s cabinet appointments are good or bad. Some seem great, others seem nightmarish. Others just seem random. But if I’m right, then the bad ones that he picks won’t last long in their jobs. They’ll do something dumb that makes Trump look bad and he’ll fire them. It’s too early to tell, but it wouldn’t surprise me if 10-20% of his cabinet either quit or get fired in the first year. Call that another prediction.