Trigger warning: I’m stepping outside my econozone for some political commentary (don’t worry; I’ll make it quick). Sorry to do so, but I find this surprisingly naïve. At this late date, a lot of well-placed people still seem to miss President Trump’s sole motivation. I’m talking about these complaints from today’s papers that the President is mistaken alienating his own party by attacking Republicans, i.e., the folks he’ll need to move his agenda.
“It’s entirely counterproductive for the president to be picking fights with Republican senators who he will need for important agenda items that they both agree on,” said Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.). “Does he think that Democratic senators will be more cooperative than John McCain and Jeff Flake and Susan Collins? It doesn’t seem to make any sense.”
From the NYT, re his caustic speech in AZ:
“[After railing on the media]…this time he gave equal billing to his fellow Republicans in Congress — the people he will surely need if he hopes to deliver on infrastructure or anything else of value to the working-class Americans who elected him.”
Trump cares not about his party. It’s not even really his party. He doesn’t care about his “agenda.” He doesn’t have an agenda, other than to elevate himself and his brand. Any action he takes must be understood from the perspective, “does this make me look good or bad? And if it’s “bad” then who can I blame?”
He doesn’t really care about (or understand) health care, foreign policy, jobs, the stock market, or even taxes beyond wanting to help himself and his kids (ergo, he wants to eliminate the estate tax and the AMT), except to the extent that he can tap any of these issues/policies to elevate himself.
Surely, no one who’s paying even a whit of attention can believe he cares about the actual living conditions of “the working class Americans who elected him.” His concern for them extends only to how he can get and keep them behind him.
Once you understand this, and I grant you, it’s not a deep insight, actions that “don’t seem to make any sense” make perfect sense. All the lies, the split personality stuff, the complete flipping of positions one day to the next. He’s always and everywhere just doing the only thing he’s good at, and he’s very good at it: generating conflict. Attacking others, deflecting blame, playing one group off of another. And it’s all purely in the service of making him look strong and everybody else, including those supposedly on his team, look weak.
OK, rant over. Back to the spreadsheets.