Donald's recent tweets about Boeing, Rexnord and other companies seem to be random and capricious but they're not at all. These are the first stages of Donald turning America into a full-blown kleptocracy, a country where the openly corrupt leaders make themselves rich at the expense of the people. In Donald's America, corporations will be forced to kiss his ass or go out of business.
Last month, Matthew Yglesias wrote about how Donald would systemically corrupt our government in just this fashion:
To be a successful businessman in a systemically corrupt regime and to be a close supporter of the regime are one and the same thing.
Those who support the regime will receive favorable treatment from regulators, and those who oppose it will not. Because businesses do business with each other, the network becomes self-reinforcing. Regime-friendly banks receive a light regulatory touch while their rivals are crushed. In exchange, they offer friendly lending terms to regime-friendly businesses while choking capital to rivals.
And now he's begun this process. By bashing Boeing and sending its stock into a nosedive (albeit temporarily), Donald is signaling to Corporate America that he can and will use his power to destroy them unless they kneel before the throne. By "personally" saving jobs in Indiana, Donald is also signaling that he will dispense "favors" to his friends. As Yglesias explains, this is exactly how autocratic rulers run their kleptocracies.
It's tempting to argue that multinational corporations will not be so easily intimidated but they have no particular loyalty to the United States. If sucking up to Donald allows them to get rid of unfavorable regulations and makes them more profitable, there's zero incentive not to become Donald's best friend. American-based businesses will be even less willing (or able) to resist.
It's also tempting to hope that Republicans will not tolerate such heavy-handed government interference in the "free" market but they've shown no ability whatsoever to oppose Donald. Some assume they will reap the benefits of his corruption. Others assume they can put him on a leash whenever they want. Still others are, correctly, afraid of what Donald's followers will do when they are declared an enemy of the regime.
This combination of greed and fear is what Donald will use to destroy what's left of our democracy and replace it with an oligarchy that will make the Robber Barons of the 19th century look like good-willed philanthropists. It's not clear how we can stop Donald's efforts to emulate his favorite dictators but if we want out children to be more than slaves to rich and powerful, we better figure it out and do it right quick.