One of the more amusing aspects of the 2016 election was how the pearl clutchers of Conservative Inc. would rush out of their hobbit dens every week, shrieking, “That’s it! Trump is finished!” It was always after Trump mocked their virtue in some way. They would carry on like it was just a matter of time before their adoring public rallied to their banner and chased away the evil dirt monster. They are still waiting for anyone to show up and take their side. Meanwhile Trump has completed his sixth month in office.
Since January, another pattern has emerged. The Fake News makes up a story and the commentariat carries on as if it is fact. A few months ago, the Fake News swore that Bannon was about to be fired. That did not happen so they moved onto Kushner. His alleged ties to Tsar Alexander were going to force him out. Now, the Fake News swears that Trump is about to fire Sessions. Suddenly everyone in Conservative Inc, who hated Sessions, is now defending him as a great statesman and politician.
The key to understanding Trump has always been that he loves drama. The never ending quarrel is what gets him up in the morning. He thrives in chaos and when he cannot find it, he creates it. The reason is Trump is an opportunist. That’s his nature. He seeks to maximize what he has in order to leverage it into a chance to catch someone sleeping, so he can get a bargain in his next deal. This post from two years ago described Trump pretty well and it is holding up now that he is in the White House.
There’s another aspect of Trump that has always been true, but is taking center stage now that he is in the White House. Two decades ago, he was often compared to George Steinbrenner, the late owner of the New York Yankees. Like Steinbrenner, Trump is an unpredictable and often impetuous boss. He gets mad at people for no sensible reason and he hold grudges that make even less sense. Steinbrenner fired people for trivial reasons, but would then hire them back. That’s what we see with Trump now.
The reason Trump was so perfect for the reality show The Apprentice was that he had the reputation for being the hot-headed boss. It was not hard for Trump to be convincing when he would say his catchphrase, “You’re fired!” It was something that people imagined he said every week, because he had the reputation for firing people. It may have been exaggerated, but we see now that Trump is not only a tough boss, bu he can be petty and small. His treatment of Sessions is childish and pointless.
The thing is though, guys like Steinbrenner and Trump got very rich in the toughest of businesses. The reason is they had a knack for creating chaos, forcing people out of their comfortable positions. An enemy on the move is vulnerable. By creating a whirlwind of chaos, Trump gets everyone moving and inevitably, making mistakes. One possible reason for the paralysis in Washington right now is that the snowflakes in the GOP are too frightened to move. They have never experienced anything like this and they are scared.
From the perspective of the Dissident Right, this is a good result. Most of the GOP are liars, who have been finking on their voters for years. Their inability and unwillingness to repeal ObamaCare has exposed this to even the most naive voters. Of course, Trump’s penchant for creating chaos has collapsed the Washington media. Even the most gullible is now assuming the news is fake. The ability of the political class to peddle their agit-prop has been greatly diminished because Trump has destroyed the media universe.
On the other hand, Trump’s mad man management style is keeping him from getting anything through Congress. He thinks he can wear down people like Ryan and McConnell, but he is misreading the situation. Being Speaker is not like being the CEO of a company. Leadership can only enforce discipline by withholding favors and that has a limit. Ryan can’t fire uncooperative members of his caucus. Trumps’ bullying style is probably making that task harder for the leadership.
Of course, the bigger issue is Team Trump does not know what they are doing. Jared Kushner was good at marrying well and maybe he is good at business, but he does not have the slightest clue about Washington politics. Trump’s penchant for relying on family over smart advisers is fine in business, because Trump is usually the smartest guy in the room. In politics, the only person less qualified than Trump is his daughter, who he seems to rely on more than political strategists like Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon.
Regardless, six months into the Trumpening and there is plenty to disappoint and dishearten his voters. His vacillating on immigration is the most worrisome. It’s why he is in the White House. His unwillingness to bring the hammer down on recalcitrant Republicans is mind boggling. Instead of tormenting Sessions, he should be blasting the bugmen of the GOP. Again, Trump’s impulse to keep everyone on edge, even his allies, makes supporting him an exhausting and unrewarding endeavor.
On the other other hand, Trump did not get to this point by doing things like a normal politician so it would not make sense for him to try to become a normal politician. His unconventional style has worked when the professionals said it would fail. A point worth making again is that you can’t judge Trump by traditional metrics. He’s a once in a century political force who will be judged more on what he destroys than on what he creates. He is the destroyer of worlds, because the world of Washington needs destroying.