Warning to Democrats: Trump has weaknesses, but pick the correct one.
De-Legitimization works. It appeals to dark conspiracy and fantasy thinking. It is Ugly and Divisive. It’s payback.
“Birtherism” employed the technique that became the Trump trademark: don’t disagree, de-legitimize. Donald Trump is attempting to reset American relations with Russia. He has been steadfast in saying it is better for America to work with Russia than to consider them a cold war enemy.
The anti-Russian constituency includes John McCain and Lindsey Graham among Republicans, neoconservative opponents in think tanks, the Hillary Clinton hawks among Democrats, Jewish intellectuals pushing back against Russian anti-Israel policies and politicians of all varieties who feel vulnerable against an opponent’s charge that he or she is “pink” or “soft on Russia.”
Putin Lapdog Meme: Democrats are enjoying the “birtherization” of Trump. Turnabout is fair play.
Conspiratorial ideas circulate on the web and with late night comics. Supposedly — maybe — Trump was videotaped with Russian prostitutes and is being blackmailed. Maybe Trump is girlishly starstruck by Putin. Trump has billions of secret loans from Russian lenders. Maybe the Intelligence Community is keeping information from Trump out of fear he will turn it over to Russia. Russia helped Trump get elected and Trump owes them big time.
There is evidence to feed the idea, when aided by confirmation bias.
*** A Russian spy ship 30 miles off the Norfolk Navy Base and the Groton Submarine Base is a provocation and test and Trump does nothing, and indeed dismisses its importance. Why is he protecting Russia?
***Trump is trying to cooperate with Russia in Syria and Russia’s interest is in backing Assad, while American policy has been that Assad is a mass murderer. Maybe he owe Russians money?
***Trump campaign officials pre-election and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had a phone conversation co-incident with Obama adding economic sanctions on Russia, presumably to assure Russia that the policy would change. Flynn then lied about it to the FBI. There must be some kind of election payback going on?
People eager to believe a conspiracy can find evidence for it. Democrats are toying with this idea. It is the wrong idea.
Trump and Jackson: Powerful executive vs. the elites The “President is a Russian stooge” is a hard sell. Trump presents as a bellicose American bully, and he is constantly reinforcing that image. A quick impression of Trump is not that he is somebody’s anti-American patsy.
Trump is vulnerable, but not to the charge he is in thrall to a foreign bully. Political judo needs to exploit a true and obvious characteristic. It needs to be an easy sell, not a hard one. Trump doesn’t come across as a puppet or a weakling or un-American.
Quite the opposite. He comes across as hyper-American, larger than life, with thin-skinned bellicosity characterized by exaggeration, obvious lies, self aggrandizement, and grandiosity. He won’t get himself or America in trouble because he follows someone else’s lead. He will get himself and America in trouble because he may not listen to advice of caution. He thinks he knows more than everyone else. He has to win every encounter.
His weakness is that he conflates what serves his ego with what serves American interests.
This is understood to be dangerous when we see it in Third World dictators and strongmen, or in American political figures like General McArthur or Richard Nixon in the closing days of the Watergate crisis. They are feared because they feel entitled to flout laws and the Constitution and they are mocked for their pretensions.
Trump as Putin’s puppy doesn’t feel plausible but Trump as silly/dangerous egotist does.
Democrats will have more success when they change aim.
This article is taken from my daily blog: www.peterwsage.blogspot.com Check it out and if you like it follow me by email.