For a few weeks, Trump has been saying and doing things that don’t seem to make a lot of sense. The black pill interpretation is that he has decided to cuck on all of his promises and cave into the establishment. Of course, the anti-Trump loons are claiming they were right all along and Trump is now finking on his stupid voters. Then you have the mouth breathers that hoot about 5-D chess all the time. The more likely explanation is that Trump is making a calculated gamble on himself and his read on public opinion.
Take the DACA controvery. Trump can count, so he knows the Democrats have far fewer members in both houses of Congress than the Republicans. He can cut all the deals he likes with Pelosi and Schumer, but those deals will go nowhere without the GOP leadership, as they control the legislative agenda. The game was to embarrass Ryan and Mitchell. By making it look like the Democrats were willing to work with him, he forced the GOP to make its own moves on immigration. It’s petty, but it works.
The other point of the exercise was to get people talking about immigration in a way that works in his favor. News stories about “dreamers” makes him look bad. He rightly figured that his voters would get mad over his rumored cave and they would take it out on the GOP leadership. It would also trigger the immigration patriots to fire off a million proposals for fixing immigration. From Trump’s perspective, turmoil is good as it gets his people fired up, looking for a fight and it forces the GOP leadership to respond.
Trump did not get this far by not understanding the political map. He knows he is the leader of the White Party, that has been forced to vote within the Republican Party. He certainly never says it like that, but he is an old school New Yorker. He understands the skins game better than most. His opposition is not the Democrats. His enemy is the GOP, that has traditionally served to blunt the interests of the White Party. Therefore, Trump needs to keep the fires burning for the coming fights in the the Republican primaries.
You see glimpses of what’s coming in the Alabama Senate Race. The White Party is lining up behind Judge Moore, mostly because he is not on the side of Mitch McConnell. Trump has endorsed the establishment guy, claiming to do so out of party loyalty. At the same time, an army of Trump surrogates are in the state endorsing Moore. Even Trump has given mixed signals about his endorsement of Luther Strange. There’s a wink-wink quality to all of it. It’s theater and everyone in the audience is in on the gag.
Next year, there will be a bunch of candidates running against GOP incumbents, promising to support the Trump agenda. There will be Democrat challengers making the right noises on immigration and trade. How successful these challengers are will depend a lot upon how things go in Washington the next six months. That’s the message Trump is trying to send to guys like Ryan and McConnell, who seem to be trapped in a fantasy world where the 2016 election never happened and they are beloved figures on the Right.
From Trump’s perspective, the result on Tuesday opens up opportunities. If Strange pulls a miracle and wins the election, then Trump will be tweeting about how he can deliver votes even for a bozo like Strange. If Moore wins, then Trump will tweet that he tried to be loyal to McConnell and the GOP, but they refused to learn from past mistakes. In a few hours, no one will remember that he endorsed the loser. Instead, the story will be about the impending disaster for the establishment GOP in the coming primaries.
There is risk to what Trump is doing in Alabama. If Luther Strange wins, the White Party will be discouraged and may start to turn on Trump. At the minimum, it gives the anti-Trump loons ammunition to accuse Trump of finking on his base. It could also embolden guys like Ryan, who are convinced that Trump has no base. On the other hand, a win by Moore and the same cucks will argue that Trump can’t deliver votes, so they are wise to oppose him. You can be sure they have those op-eds written and ready to send.
It’s a gamble, but Trump is a guy who thinks he can make something out of anything, as long as he has options. Whether it was by design or serendipity, this election is a referendum on the GOP establishment. The most likely outcome, according to polling, is a Moore win and maybe a very big win. Trump will not only take credit for it, but start to bet his winnings on the belief he can scare the GOP into passing his agenda items. They may hold the result against him, but Trump is betting they cave and play ball with him.
The reason it is a good gamble is the pressure on leadership will now come from their own ranks. Ryan and McConnell can keep discipline as long as they can promise their members they will keep their seats. If the rank and file start thinking they are safer with Trump or that Trump will back their challengers, then it is game over for Ryan and McConnell. They have to play ball. From Trump’s perspective, he has everything to game and nothing to lose. Ryan and McConnell can’t hate him more than they already do.