The Modern Version of Nixon’s Madman Strategy — Trump on his Way to Win the Election.

Late-Night Hosts Colbert, Noah, Kimmel and Fallon are having a great time portraying Trump as an idiot, but they oversee the strategy behind his actions.

Robert Busch
Sep 3, 2020 · 5 min read
“It is what it is.”( Source: John Hain / Pixabay )

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Dialogue & Discourse

News and ideas worthy of discourse.

Robert Busch

Written by

Studied Political Science in Frankfurt, Germany — Taught Yoga for 10 years on three different continents — Wrote three books —

Dialogue & Discourse

News and ideas worthy of discourse. Fundamentally informative and intelligently analytical.

Robert Busch

Written by

Studied Political Science in Frankfurt, Germany — Taught Yoga for 10 years on three different continents — Wrote three books —

Dialogue & Discourse

News and ideas worthy of discourse. Fundamentally informative and intelligently analytical.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store