Set Up For Failure

Photo: Hamish Reid.

Lots of commentators talk about Trump’s plans for things like The Wall, or banning all Muslim immigration, or mass deportations, etc., with a sort of scornful “that’ll never work!” or “it would cost far too much and would take forever” head-shaking or condescension. They write these off as impractical delusions or just cynical bait for potential followers.

But there’s another rather cynical way to think about this. Trump wouldn’t need to actually accomplish those things; their failure would be useful to drum up scapegoats — “liberals”, Supreme Court appointees, judges in general, the media, business elites, etc. — to go after and smash when the ostensible aims fail. Which is probably a rather more lasting and general legacy than actually doing the specific things he talks about.

Whether or not he knows they’ll fail is probably irrelevant: what matters is how his followers will react when they do fail. If he wins, those grand schemes are going to be excuses for lashing out, for blame, not considered solutions. As far as some of his supporters are concerned, the lashing out is the solution, really, for some of the problems.