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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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Trump’s New Message is a Winner. Here’s How Hillary Can Counteract It.

Donald Trump 9.0 was launched last night (or is it 10.0?  9.5? I lost track).

For a brief moment in time, fueled by a teleprompter filled with messaging from new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and campaign CEO, Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon, Trump had a narrative that finally worked.

To use a phrase of Trump’s, I hated to just give him credit for something, “believe me.”

Now, if he regresses to his usual self, he’ll say something horrible and the campaign will be caught up in a whirlwind of controversy.  But what if he doesn’t?  This new campaign message can work, quite effectively.  So, what should Hillary do?

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The Op-Ed Bernie Didn’t Write, But Should Have

Yesterday, Bernie Sanders was given the chance to write an op-ed in the New York Times.

He had a golden opportunity to write a campaign-changing piece, and he whiffed. His piece focused on Brexit as a warning to Democrats to take seriously the negative economic impact of the global economy. Essentially, it was the same campaign speech he gave 1,000 times, recycled, using Brexit as the hook. It was largely ignored — not because he doesn’t have a point — but because he offered up nothing new.

Here is the op-ed he should have written. Here is the op-ed that would have made an impact on the debate. It would have given him new relevancy, and stature, as he continues to try to reform the Democratic Party.

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Warren’s “Secret” Selling Point

Elizabeth Warren.  Massachusetts liberal, right?

Extreme left, isn’t she?

These are how many politically aware people have branded her.  And Lord knows that Democratic consultants have.

But Senator Warren has a background that most people forget about – if they even knew about it, at all.

And that secret would be her strongest selling point as a VP candidate for Hillary Clinton…

Even through Bill Clinton’s administration, Elizabeth Warren was a Republican.

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Trump’s Trapped

Donald Trump has inadvertently laid himself one hell of a trap.  In his speech today, he said:

The father of the Orlando shooter was a Taliban supporter from Afghanistan, one of the most repressive anti-gay and anti-women regimes on Earth.

I only want to admit people who share our values and love our people.

Hillary Clinton wants to bring in people who believe women should be enslaved and gays put to death.

This is similar to what he said right after Orlando:

The burden is on Hillary Clinton to tell us why we should admit anyone into our country who supports violence of any kind against gay and lesbian Americans.

Obviously, he is referring to people from Muslim nations.  But you know what people have also violently targeted gays? Continue reading