It's been reported that President Trump's State of the Union message will attempt to put across a unifying theme that can bring this country back together. This is a good thing. God only knows that the United States could use a little extra unity right about now. What makes this "news" so ironic is that it goes against the political strategy that put Donald Trump in the White House in the first place.
Think about it. From the very first moment Donald Trump opened his mouth as a candidate for President he engaged in a racist game of divide and conquer. His first target was undocumented immigrants from Mexico, characterizing them as ruthless, blood-thirsty criminals. Of course he couldn't back up any of his preposterous claims with empirical evidence. But then again, that was never his intent. His real plan was to stir up fear and resentment among the Republican Party's base. Did it work? Look who's sitting in the White House!
Did he offer a solution to the problem of undocumented immigrants? Of course he did! He offered to build a wall across our southern border. What's more, he insisted that the government of Mexico would pay for it. It didn't make any difference to him that such a wall would be God awful expensive, totally impractical and politically unattainable. But then again it really didn't matter, does it? A wall was never intended to be a Trump Administration's solution to the "crisis" on our southern border. It was just a political ruse designed to cement his position as the political leader of America's white nationalist movement. It was a throw away line designed to get the blood stirring in his political base. The only problem is that it succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. Perhaps Mr. Trump didn't take his rhetorical flourish seriously, but his army of haters and fear mongers certainly did. As a result, Donald Trump can't back away from it. As we already know, this ultimately has lead to a disastrous government shutdown that badly affected millions of people. And thus Donald Trump is a victim of his own political success.
It never bothered him that the foundation for his political success was built on a platform of hatred, division and lies. In one sense this was acceptable to him. After all, the strategy worked, didn't it? So from a political point of view this was wonderful. The only problem is that politics ends on Election Day. Once you take the oath of office and are sworn in as President of the United States you cease being a politician and turn into a government official, a government official who must take the reins of government into his own hands and make that government work for all the people of this country. Unlike his days as the head of the Trump Organization, however, Mr. Trump soon discovered that he couldn't just snap his fingers and make things happen. That's the problem with a representative democracy. In this case Donald Trump had to figure out a way to work with the Congress of the United States. After all, the Congress is a co-equal branch of our federal government. Yes Donald Trump could bully and outmuscle his political competition but he couldn't do the same thing with the Congress and especially not with one Nancy Pelosi. Even if Nancy Pelosi were a more pliable and cooperative politician, she nevertheless has the power to throw a monkey wrench into Donald Trump's political agenda.
So Donald Trump can TRY to boss Speaker Pelosi around, but mere words aren't going to intimidate her. More to the point, Donald Trump has to understand that in the world of politics, words matter. Yes he can aim his verbal taunts at Elizabeth Warren, for instance. There will be no repercussions there because Senator Warren doesn't have the power to do anything to stymie the President's plans. Nancy Pelosi does. The thing is, all those vituperative words Donald Trump aims at Nancy Pelosi will not be forgotten. They will long be remembered. What's more, there's a price to pay for such harsh, insulting language. The present stalemate between the Congress and the White House over funding for the wall stands as testimony to that fact. What Donald Trump and his followers must come to understand and accept is that all the sweet talk in the world during a State of the Union speech cannot erase year after year of political barbs and insults. This will inevitably lead to further stalemate down the road and this stalemate is bound to get more and more destructive! As the Bible teaches us, "As ye sow, so also shall ye reap!".
Filed under: Politics