President Donald J. Trump has managed to transform the United States of America into the Kingdom of the Outrageous in a matter of a few months. Just about the time you think we can't sink any further, our standards of conduct for the Presidency can't get any lower, the already murky can't get any murkier, and somehow the Trump Administration manages to win the game of "Can You Top This?"!
At first I thought this was all some horrible accident of history. How could any one man manage to do so much damage to the image of the United States, at home and abroad? Surely there couldn't have been any rhyme or reason to it all. For one thing, that would have to mean that there was a keen intelligence behind it and no one I know thinks President Trump is THAT smart. But you know? The more I think about it the more I'm beginning to change my mind. It just might be that our President is a blooming genius.
Virtually every game you've ever played depends on anticipation. The chess master has the ability to make several moves in advance based on anticipating his or her opponent's moves. The shortstop is able to cut off a ground ball and initiate a double play by anticipating where he thinks the batter will hit the ball. A debater scores points by anticipating the arguments that the other side will make. So anticipation is the key. But how can we successfully anticipate anything? The answer is that most of life falls into predictable patterns. We humans are creatures of habit. We tend to do things one way because that's the way we learned how to do it and that's the way we've always done it before. When we change those patterns of behavior, when we do things slightly differently, we throw off the other side because they anticipate we will perform as we have so often in the past. THAT is the genius of the Trump Administration.
Donald Trump is President today because he refused to act like a typical politician. Think about it for a minute. Go back to the Presidential campaign of 2016. What did all the political pundits ANTICIPATE Donald Trump was going to do? What did conventional wisdom dictate he HAD to do? We heard it all the time. If Donald Trump aims to win this election, he's going to have to PIVOT back to the political center. In other words, Donald Trump is going to have to revert back to old familiar patterns of political behavior in order to win. And he never did! And that's the point. That's the man's genius!
Donald Trump has violated every standard of behavior we've come to expect from a President of the United States and nobody knows how to react to him. Every other President we've ever had came into the office with some kind of agenda, a plan of attack intended to move the country one way or another. Frankly, I don't think President Trump ever HAD a plan. He still doesn't. And that's because he never wanted to achieve anything in particular.
Frankly, the only thing on Donald Trump's mind is to win. And the reason no one has been able to lay a glove on him politically is because nobody but Donald Trump knows what it means to win. As a result, nobody knows how to react to him, how to anticipate his next move. There is no historic pattern of behavior he's established for himself, so no one can anticipate what he'll do next. Well, that's not entirely true. I think it's safe to say that whatever President Trump decides to do next, it will most assuredly be OUTRAGEOUS! And how does a rational, thoughtful person react to outrage? Irrationally! And the irrational is Donald Trump's favored battleground. It's where he's used to doing all his battles. For the rest of us, the irrational is foreign territory. It frightens and confuses us. We don't know how to react to it because the irrational has no predictable pattern of behavior. It zigs when by all rights it should zag. As a result, we're left standing around trying to figure out what we just witnessed, while President Trump heads off for yet another outrage.
The mistake we make with President Trump is that we're still waiting around, hoping against hope that he eventually comes to think like the rest of us. It ain't gonna happen! More to the point, we may sit around in a state of stupefaction until AFTER Election Day 2020. In the meantime, President Trump will have won re-election and we'll still be scratching our heads in utter amazement as we await the results of the 2022 mid-term elections. Unlikely? Amazing? Utterly unbelievable? Yes, it's all of those things. But then, isn't a President Donald John Trump just as unlikely, amazing and utterly unbelievable?
Filed under: Politics