Our word of the day is “leverage”

A few days ago, I suggested on this site that Donald Trump, by pardoning Joe Arpaio, was signaling that he wouldn’t leave office willingly, like Nixon, but instead intended to fight, even if it meant fracturing the GOP, and perhaps the entire country, beyond repair. By rewarding Arpaio for his blatant contempt for civil rights law and the U.S. justice system, and, on the same day, signing a directive illegally banning transgender military recruits from the U.S. armed services as a gift to the anti-LGBTQ community, I suggested that Trump was readying his base for war. And, the more I’ve thought about it, the more I think that’s probably the case. There’s simply no other reason why Trump would be holding rallies now, and going out of his way to give the impression that he shares common cause with America’s white supremacists. It certainly doesn’t serve any legislative agenda. It doesn’t help with the repeal of Obamacare. And it doesn’t help pass tax reform. It only serves one purpose, and that is to remind McConnell and Ryan that he still has over 20% of the electorate in his pocket, hyped up, and ready to make their lives a living hell if they should, say, initiate impeachment proceedings against him. It’s a straight-up intimidation play on the part of Trump… If you listen closely, he’s not threatening Democrats. He’s threatening people like McConnell and Flake… members of his own party.

Well, as all of this was swirling around in my head today, I started listening to the most recent episode of Pod Save America, in which former White House Director of Speechwriting Jon Favreau and Obama administration Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer discuss in some length the appeal Trump has over his base, and, in turn, the hold Trump has over the GOP. It’s incredibly interesting stuff, and, as I don’t think I’ve ever heard it put quite so simply, or as well, I thought that I’d share some of it here… To listen to the whole episode, just follow the link above. Here, however, is a brief audio clip, as well as a partial transcript of what Dan Pfeiffer had to say about the dynamics at play between Trump, his supporters, and the GOP establishment.

…Here’s what (Trump) gives his voters. A voice. They believe no one speaks for them, and that Trump is the first person to do that. And that’s a whole array of things; their hatred of elites, racial animus, economics, trade… a whole host of things. It’s identity, not ideology. And he speaks to that identity. He speaks to white victimization among a certain subset of the population. And they believe no other Republican does that. And they are accurate in that, because most of these other Republicans are most comfortable negotiating tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires on Wall Street. That’s their ideology. And they love trade. They are a Wall Street party with a working class voter base. But if you are Trump, and you look at the world, you’re like, “These Congressional Republicans do not like me. They did not want me. They are looking at Russia. They already screwed me on this Russia sanctions bill. The Democrats hate me. What is my one piece of leverage?” Why is it that Mitch McConnell, who is a pretty tough SOB, basically just bends at the knee for Tump (in response to his) attacks, and just doesn’t respond? It’s because Trump’s leverage is his voters. And as long as he holds those voters, they can’t do anything to him. That’s why Paul Ryan will attack neo-Nazis, but never say Trump’s name. He’s afraid to say Trump’s name because he’s afraid of the voters. Now, I would argue that’s not a great strategy to get reelected (if you’re Trump). A pure base strategy is not a great strategy to get reelected in 2020, but it may be a good way to survive the next four years. Because it’s what he holds over the Republicans… Trump’s strategy, I think, is instinctual, not intellectual. I don’t think he has thought this through in any real way. But I do think he sort of gets negotiation and leverage… Everything with Trump is a negotiation over marble countertops, you know, “How much it going to cost for granite counters in a new apartment building?” He’s negotiating with contractors. So his strategy is leverage… Trump only wants to remain in power and be applauded for being in power…

And there you have it. What we recently saw in Phoenix was nothing more than the opening salvo in a high-stakes negotiation over granite countertops… only, instead of countertops, it’s the future of humanity in the balance.

Oh, and speaking of white victimization, here’s a example of some propaganda currently being distributed in Iowa and Illinois… This, my friends, is what we’re up against. And we can’t count on our president to fight alongside us, as he needs these people.

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6 Comments

  1. Eel
    Posted August 29, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    My heart goes out to the actors in that image, assuming they aren’t really Nazis.

  2. Jim
    Posted August 29, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    That stock image is all over the web:
    https://www.google.com/search?q=vivir+en+estados+unidos&tbm=isch&tbs=simg:CAQSkwEJ27zCqSS5w0QahwELEKjU2AQaAAwLELCMpwgaYgpgCAMSKMsRlx3rEK8FnxDMEa4Q7R_1tEKMQmDutJdcvlCWeO7cw7i-dO6w5liUaMGgW92tqNwSTSGoajzH_1VphrI58v_14SMbxKMwTlGWwb1jY8DU9qOMUFR5wOfNrziaSAEDAsQjq7-CBoKCggIARIEhRw-dAw&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi__YrQvvzVAhWD64MKHXZIDv0Q2A4IJigB&biw=1920&bih=858

  3. Kim
    Posted August 29, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    They look too happy to be white supremacists, and they don’t have any MAGA merch.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted August 29, 2017 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    HW hasn’t weighed in yet because he’s busy trying to convince his mom to give him three dollars.

  5. Tim
    Posted August 29, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Let’s say you are right and everything Trump says and does is to embolden his base and strike real into the Republicans. How does this play out? How many white power marches will it take before McConnell risks his career by initiating impeachment?

  6. charlieRomeo
    Posted August 29, 2017 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    It can’t happen here.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Can%27t_Happen_Here

    Though it’s been tried before.
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article13909.htm

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