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Trump’s Triangulation (and How To Not Fall For It)

Yesterday, leaders of the building trades unions went to the White House, to meet with Donald Trump.  Trump was just signing the executive orders to move ahead with the Keystone XL pipeline, and the Dakota Access Pipeline, both projects that many of those unions support.

When they came out, the union leaders spoke glowingly of Trump, who just delivered two projects to them.  In fact, North America’s Building Trades Unions put out this release, which positively gushed about Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is, if nothing else, an avid salesman of himself.  He got what he needed – the unequivocal praise of unions, for the price of just two projects.

Meanwhile, he is pushing through a harshly anti-labor nominee for the Labor Department, opposes any minimum wage, and supports so-called “Right to Work” laws that will end unions. Nowhere in their press release was any warning from the unions that they’d oppose Trump on such moves.

Looking at the whole exercise, I was reminded of the 1990s, when Bill Clinton engaged in what became known as “triangulation.”

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The Trump Show.

When all the world is a show, people stop being people.  They become characters and props.

Donald Trump views the world as his stage – a kind of “Truman Show,” except one in which he, the title character, controls everything around him so he can live in the show in which he wants to live.

Once contained within an actual reality show, now Trump sees the planet as one giant shoot of “The Apprentice,” where everyone has a role – good guy, bad guy, etc. – that he determines.

When you take that into account, Donald Trump’s press conference this week makes sense.

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Normalize Part of Trump, Normalize All of Trump

Democrats, led by Senator Chuck Schumer, are already blowing it.

“Sounds good to me!” Schumer recently declared, regarding Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-proposed infrastructure plan.

At the risk of seeming to violate Godwin’s law, Trump isn’t the first authoritarian to propose massive infrastructure activity as the proverbial sugar to make his autocratic, bigoted medicine go down.

“At least he built the Autobahn,” Germans used to declare.

Call it the “it’s not all bad” playbook of authoritarians.  The reason why it works is quite simple.  If they can normalize part of themselves by giving people something they like, then everything about them becomes normalized.

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Hillary’s Opening Debate Statement

Traditionally, debates are mostly boring affairs, where we’re lucky to get a highlight or two.  But, we know what we’re getting, going in.  A couple of boxers who jab a little bit, and largely stick to the script, while answering questions the best they can.

Even though candidates aren’t afforded an opening statement anymore, they use their allotted time for their first answer to put the debate into the context they want.  In 2012, for example, the first question went to President Obama.  It was, how would he create jobs.

Here’s his answer:

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How Hillary Clinton Can Counter Trump’s Debate Strategy

Yesterday, I posted something about Donald Trump’s likely debate strategy – lie, lie, and lie again, knowing that it would fall to Hillary Clinton to correct him, now that moderators have decided against challenging lies.

Forcing Clinton to do the job means she will have nearly no time to talk about what she believes, what she wants to do, or to launch attacks on Trump.

So, how can Hillary Clinton combat that strategy?

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How Trump Will Win the Debates, With Moderators’ Help

“I do not believe it is my job to be a truth squad. It’s up to the other person to catch them on that.” – Chris Wallace, FOX News, on how he will moderate the debates.

Thanks, Chris Wallace.  You just gave Donald Trump his roadmap to winning the debates.

OK, that’s unfair to Chris, a little bit.  The other moderators surely won’t spend all of their time fact checking, either.

Therein lies the Trump strategy.

Tell lies and half-truths non-stop.

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Trump Dispute On Wall Could Be an Implosion

I’ll make this short and sweet. Donald Trump’s campaign is built on three pillars:

  1. He will make foreign leaders fear and respect us, because he’s tough
  2. Relatedly, he will make great deals for America, because he can strong arm others
  3. Unlike “crooked Hillary” and the establishment, he will never lie to you, and will tell it like it is

In one news cycle, it is possible he has blasted those three pillars with dynamite.

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