Monday, February 5, 2018

Obvious at Last: Trump's Fantasy World Is a Strategy.

Stupid or evil is one metric. Stupid or mentally defective is another, one often applied to Donald Trump. We need a new one if Trump turns out to have a well-crafted (if evil) strategy at work.

No, he's not crafty -- he's failed too many times -- but he is determined.

It's easier on the brain to dismiss Donald Trump as addled. For one reason, it explains how nonsensical he is. Also, it's vaguely reassuring, for how much trouble can he cause if he's hopelessly incompetent? Unfortunately, we already know the answer: quite a lot.

It's another to think that his lies and near-constant stream of misinformation has a strategy to it. He actually considers his next move? He's actually consistent because he reasons his actions and statements out before he makes them? Yes, yes he does. Yikes!

I believe he has a thought-out strategy, though I can't say it's well thought-out. But if you look at all the comments he's made that show up in his books (that he doesn't write), he believes that truth is not important, but something else is.

When trying to understand the shape of his actions and words -- especially his words -- it's helpful to refer back to his notion of "truthful hyperbole." He claimed early in his career that crafting the appearance of something and actually being something were virtually the same. He liked to tell the story that he ordered his construction crew to dig dirt on one side of a building site, move it to the other and then move it back. It didn't matter if anything constructive was happening. What matters were appearances.

Of course, there's nothing truthful about this hyperbole, but Trump has never considered that as a minus. If he could control the perception, it was a plus. Reality was another story altogether.

I'm sure that's the basis of his failures as well as his successes. It's possible to build some real thing on bullshit, but with such a foundation, falling down was slightly more likely than remaining upright. The thing about Trump is he liked those odds. Throw in some manipulated tax law, some improperly supported debt, even some money laundering or playing footsie with the Russian plutocracy, and you've got a positive cash flow. Along with a ginormous inheritance from Pop and a full-out bellicose and bullying nature, Trump had what he needed to survive his own worst impulses.

But that was business, not governance. It doesn't work so well with governance because bamboozlement is not policy. So to maintain the appearance of wild success, Trump purposefully engaging in alt-reality, with a handy assist from the right wing media and the GOP proper, who both thrive on Trump's Bullshit Mountain, as Jon Stewart once famously called the Republican world built on the most preposterous set of zombie lies.

Thus is Trump's endless stream of lies and misinformation a strategy based on keeping his base happy and his enemies off-kilter. It's hard to tackle and overcome a shape shifter, and that's the point: Catch-me-if-you-can is an effective strategy until it isn't, like when you get caught.

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