The Unified Theory of Trump 3

Trump channels Churchill - he never backs down from a fight.

One major sign of intelligence is the ability to learn from experience, and it's stunning just how many supposedly smart people have proven themselves utterly incapable of learning from watching Mr. Trump.  Not only haven't most of his enemies figured out what he's doing and how to beat him, they don't seem able even to understand that he is beating them except when he rubs their noses in it.

But his goals and his methods are no real secret; indeed, they're encapsulated in his famous slogan of "Make America Great Again."  Within reason, President Trump doesn't so much care about the details of the path leading to greatness, as long as we're moving in the right direction - which the economic reports show we surely are.

As we've seen so far in this series, Donald Trump's model of a successful economy was formed when he was a child in the 1950s; his methods are to learn the lessons of that era about what works and what does not.  As for his means, he's explained them many times in writing and in person: always be ready to negotiate, but always be willing to walk away.

For many decades American negotiators have not been willing to walk away from bad deals, with the obvious result that that's what they get.  Mr. Trump has proven his willingness to both make deals with anyone - meeting with Kim Jong Un , of all people! - as well as to walk away if the desired deal is not forthcoming - again, Kim Jong Un, at least until the next round of negotiations.

But what about those who don't want to negotiate?  Traditional American style, and certainly mainstream Republican preferences, are to beg, plead, cajole, and bribe to get our enemies to the table.  Decades of that approach should have long since proven it doesn't work - either at home or abroad.

We see this in the cynical joke that bipartisanship is when the Republicans agree to do things the Democrats' way.  Under Mr. Trump, finally, Republicans aren't playing that game - and their Democratic opponents are losing their cover.  We could write a whole series of articles just quoting Democratic politicians who state that civility to Republicans is inappropriate, that the Left needs to "get in their faces" - not that they need any encouragement for that - and even direct calls for violence.

Putting One In The Morgue

Why are Democrats resorting to these extremes?  Quite simply: because fifty years of Republican squishes have taught them that, if you push Republicans hard enough, they'll surrender.  How many times have we seen Republicans fold at the slightest threat?

Donald Trump could not be more different.  He grew up in the rather rougher school of New York City, where if somebody pushes you, you need to push them back harder or you'll become a punching bag.

It's not like the Democrats have hidden their technique: in 2008, candidate Barack Obama specifically explained his plan for dealing with Republicans: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”

That is, of course, a famous Sean Connery quote from the gangster movie The Untouchables, which President Trump has no doubt watched.  He certainly acts like he's familiar with the rest of the quote: "He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue!"

Mr. Trump isn't actually sending Democrats to the literal morgue, nor would we want him to, but he's enthusiastically and repeatedly sending them to the political morgue.  Ordinarily, when Democrats go too far out on a limb, Republicans collegially help them climb back.  For example, previous Republican presidents would almost certainly have pulled Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination and replaced him with someone more centrist.

Not this president!  Mr. Trump, with the Republican party in tow, supported Judge Kavanaugh all the way through the firestorm of false accusations and filthy political lies, and won.  This let Democrats reveal themselves as the hypocrites and frauds they've always been, plus now they're shown to be petulant losers.  The result: what once looked like a pending "blue wave" election is now looking more like a draw.

Once again, a look at Mr. Trump's record reveals what's going on.  He applies maximum pressure to his opponents until they see things his way - and then he makes nice.  Sometimes he'll make nice in the middle, just to mix things up, as when he met with North Korea's Kim Jong Un.  He's always careful, though, never to give anything valuable away until he's gotten what he wants.

The modern Left is so used to Republicans knuckling under to them, that when Mr. Trump doesn't, they can't stop making ever-escalating and bloodcurdling threats.  That simply causes Mr. Trump to push them back even harder.

The result is plain: our national dialogue is more polarized than ever, with our leaders at the fore.  But our actual politics are far more two-sided than they've been in decades: rather than a one-way leftist ratchet, we are actually seeing the left's agenda rolled back by degrees.

Conservatives have wanted a majority-textualist Supreme Court for decades, but only Mr. Trump delivered one.  President after president has promised to move our embassy to Jerusalem, Israel's official capital, but only Mr. Trump actually did, despite screams of horror from the left.

Even his positions that haven't yet borne fruit strike at the heart of his enemies.  We've repeatedly documented how our all-but-open-borders policies of many years have the effect of creating millions more Democrat voters - not just through fraud, but by importing uneducated socialists who want what the Left claims to offer.

Has he deported all the illegals, or built the wall?  No, but he's certainly had some success in driving illegals into the shadows, and some of them back home.  Hardly a day goes by without a sob-story article interviewing some poor illegal who complains about not feeling welcome here.  Well, duh!

This is the doing of Donald Trump - and every time an illegal immigrant moves back home, or even just avoid the census-taker, that reduces Democrat voting power by another smidgen.

What matters just as much as votes?  Money - and here, too, Donald Trump is punching the Left where it counts, by promoting judges who will limit the power of unions to forcibly extract dues from workers.  This matters profoundly to Democrats, because the overwhelming majority of union political contributions go to the Left.

The benefit of Mr. Trump's judicial appointees can be counted: After the Janus Supreme Court decision last summer, which made it illegal to force government workers to pay union dues if they didn't want to, the unions "representing" employees of the City of New York lost $250,000 in two weeks.

One city.  Two weeks.  One court decision!

Why didn't previous Republicans figure out how to hit the Dems where it hurts?  We'll never know - but we're glad Donald Trump has.

Still, what happens if the portions of the progressive coalition figure out that Donald Trump smashes his enemies and rewards his friends, and decide to try to make nice to him?  Without firm principles to stand on, might he betray one group of his supporters in exchange for a larger or richer new one?

Anything's possible, but probably not.  We'll explore why in the next article in this series.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments


How about a series on the Tea Party reform movement which led to a sterner backbone in Republicans? That's ignored in the popular press.

October 21, 2018 7:54 PM

Very good analysis. But Trump is having trouble with some things, mostly the stuff such as the Khashoggi murder, because such a blatant “stick in the eye” is not what you expect from an ally. The “civilized” Saudi is an anachronism. Islam creates a tolerance—indeed an imperative—for murdering enemies. Even a tough New Yorker like Trump isn’t prepared for that. But he better understand quickly that we won’t tolerate this kind of desert barbarity. It is getting time for a decisive rejection of embassy murders and anything close. Either we set the standards, or the bad guys will.
Let me digress to the borders question: Trump needs to respond to the challenge by upping the ante. Remember when he said he would build a wall, “And make Mexico pay for it?” Mexico is indeed paying now, in a slightly different way. But Trump could make a whole lot of illegal, as well as legal, immigrants pay for border control, but administratively imposing a “Remittance Fee” on individuals sending money back to their families, not only in Mexico and Central America, but let’s add the Indians remitting to India, the Chinese remitting to China, etc.
This money can be collected via the highly-regulated banking industry doing electronic fund transfers, which is how most of this happens.
Just a 3% fee would probably bring in enough to build a gigantic wall with no burden on the American taxpayer. A big winner for Trump, and why he hasn’t thought of this already beats me. I’ve been suggesting it to everyone who will listen for more than a year.

October 21, 2018 10:21 PM

I just happened to finish the chapter of Dinesh D'Souza's book "Death of a Nation", where he explains how the Democrats and the unions came to enter their unholy alliance.

Here’s the deal that FDR and the Democrats offered the unions:

... We will also enable unions to collect dues, again from the willing and the unwilling.

D'Souza, Dinesh. Death of a Nation: Plantation Politics and the Making of the Democratic Party (Kindle Location 3254). St. Martin's Press. Kindle Edition.

... It was a good deal for unions. Since nothing in the world is free, however, the Democrats wanted something in exchange for all this federal protection, or to be blunt, for running this extortion racket. They wanted the unions to pressure their members to vote for Democratic candidates—saving politicians the trouble of having to persuade them individually—and to use a significant portion of union dues to fund the campaign war chest of the Democratic Party. This would ensure Democrats could stay in power so the racket could continue indefinitely.

D'Souza, Dinesh. Death of a Nation: Plantation Politics and the Making of the Democratic Party (Kindle Locations 3263-3267). St. Martin's Press. Kindle Edition.

October 24, 2018 10:23 PM
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