It seems as if he is taking things to the next level on a daily base. I am almost scared to check the news in the evening. Anxiously I ask myself: What did he do today?
At this point, making a list about the most groundbreaking moves would require an article itself, therefore I would rather like to take a closer look at the pattern behind this modern version of Nixon’s “madman strategy”.
During the Cold War Nixon and his administration tried to scare the Soviet Union by portraying the president as an unpredictable person. When dealing with a madman there is always a danger of spontaneous outrage and aggression, which limits the ability to negotiate between the two sides. Not being able to find a compromise always helps the one in a more powerful position.
Trump appears to take a similar approach to that. When dealing with North Korea, he first threatened to destroy the country with military force and then became buddies with dictator Kim Jong Un. The president bailed out of the Iran deal, killed one of their highest-ranking military officials and then suggested that he would be open for talks with the regime.
He promised that the Virus would go away in April, but by now 180.000 people have died in the USA and there is no end in sight. At some point, he was speculating about bleach as a treatment for Covid-19 and proudly announced taking Hydroxychloroquine. Calling his statements about the “China Virus” or “Kung Flu” problematic on a diplomatic level would be an understatement.
It seems as if the President is out of control.
Less than three months before the election Trump decided that riots and chaos in the streets could possibly help him win the election. After gassing activists in front of the White House for a photo-op, he sent national guards to major cities to end protests. Soon after unmarked feds were arresting people under more than questionable circumstances in various places.
Nobody really knows what he is up to next. Destroying USPS to stop mail voting or asking his supporters to vote twice for him — nothing is impossible by now.
Journalists, political scientists and leaders of other nations can not predict Trump’s next moves. It is Nixon’s madman strategy at play, but the technique of using craziness as a tool has evolved.
This time “the madman” has the full support of his voters, they identify with his approach to politics. Disenchantment with politics has led to a President that gets away with everything because people see themselves in him.
He does exactly what his voters would do under pressure: Pretend to be a strongman, take control and not care about so-called experts and scientists.
We all saw the videos of cops abusing their power and taking the lives of black people by using excessive force, but that doesn’t hold Trump back from defending the police and calling protesters “thugs”.
When journalists accuse him of mismanaging the pandemic, Trump blames Obama, China and Biden for everything that’s wrong with his response to the virus. If there was a neutral referee in politics Trump would have already been sent off the pitch, but that’s not how politics work.
As long as people are supporting him, he will continue acting like a madman. MAGA fans like his nonchalant style of attacking his opponents and rejecting “Political Correctness” as a disease of our time. He retweets statements defending Kyle Rittenhouse and accused Joe Biden of spreading chaos and destruction across the nation on the same day.
While the rest of the world is watching this absurd presidency of a showman, Trump’s chances of winning the election in November are rising again. It’s not because of how he handled the pandemic or his extended family shouting at the RNC, but more because of his very special connection with the MAGA movement.
Trump managed to put “Law & Order” to the top of his reelection campaign.
Every outbreak of violence in Democrat-run cities gives him the chance to present himself as a strongman. He could have helped these people with more generous stimulus bills or police reforms that protect the civil rights of every citizen, but instead, he installed a narrative that blames activists for the unrest without acknowledging the dynamics behind the anger in the streets.
In Trump’s logic, protesters are the ones that caused the problem by taking their resistance to the streets. He is not willing to negotiate and threatens to use even more violence and incarcerations against anyone opposing his policies.
It is not even sure if he would accept the results of the election.
At this point, we don’t even know if that question will come up at the end of the year. I am sure that there will be an election, but there is a high chance of Trump actually winning it.
As much as I enjoy Late-Night hosts bashing Trump for his clumsy appearances at briefings and interviews, I would like to warn my friend in the US from taking this lightly.
You all know that crazy uncle that is part of the MAGA-cult, we have seen Trump supporters proudly referring to QAnon and most of us have realized by now that Joe Biden is not another Barack Obama.
Things are not looking good for the Democrats at this point. Nobody denies that Trump is out of control and takes irrational decisions on a regular base, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t win the election.
Trump created a narrative that disqualifies every criticism as a plot of the “Deep State” to stop him from “Draining the Swamp”. His voters are loving it and become more and more radical on a daily base.
If I would have stated in January that Trump was encouraging far-right militias to use their weapons against protestors most people would have called me crazy. It’s September and here we are.
Nobody can predict what will happen until the elections, but we can all agree on the fact that nothing is impossible by now. We also have to admit that his supporters are so deep down the Fox News rabbit hole that nothing will stop them from voting for Trump.
Unless Joe Biden comes up with a new approach to combat the madman in the White House he will lose the election.
Trump might be a little crazy now and then, but that’s not a problem for his campaign. The unpredictable behavior has become a trademark of his presidency and there seems to be an audience for that.
The madman strategy might not have worked out perfectly for Nixon, but that doesn’t stop Trump from taking it to the next level.
Donald Trump might look like a confused and angry old man to many observers, but I am sure he knows what he is doing and that really scares me.