Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Anomaly of Trusting Trump

Who's listening to Donald Trump?
Who's believing that they can trust him?

First of All, Quit Laughing
Take a deep breath and pause long enough
 to remember that this is real.

[A note from MeanMesa: This post has been "fermenting" for a few days. In the meantime The House Speaker has "walked off the job," the Pope has been to town and Trump's poll numbers have finally either "slid a little" or, at least, "fluctuated" for the first time in his campaign's heretofore "meteoric ascent." However, even given all of this we should still take a look at what the New York real estate mogul and reality show host has revealed about the base of Republican Party voters.]

While it may be easy -- and in some ways, curiously satisfying -- to ridicule the wild machinations of the Trump Presidential rhetoric, a better, more constructive goal might be an effort to really analyze the structure and strategy of such a strangely successful political game. There really is a phenomenon here, and this phenomenon can yield far more than self-placating sarcasm.

Anomaly: something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.

Somehow, Mr. Trump has determined and isolated the precise tone which is able to "reach" the gravely disgruntled among the circus varieties of the GOP base. No matter the degree of disdain visitors to this little high desert blog might hold for Trump himself, the intricate mechanism of this unlikely, yet successful political strategy and the almost astonishing accuracy with which it has been deployed in Trump's fascinatingly chaotic political rhetoric holds a "fine prize," indeed, for those attempting to model the logic and causes driving the 2015 political scene.

This is one of those things which merit the effort to extract as complete an understanding as possible. MeanMesa suspects that what can be revealed about the strange effectiveness of this kind of politics will remain painfully relevant for a long and tedious segment of our country's political future.

De-Professionalizing the Presidency
Absolutely anyone can do it, right?

A subtle component of the oligarchs' "take over" scheme is the de-professionalizing of people pursuing absolutely any trade, career or other social responsibility in an effort to reduce such efforts to a "commodity status." 

We have seen union hating, political billionaires show an increasing reluctance to support the financing of public schools -- as if the teachers in those schools amounted to little more than modestly trained union hacks. Likewise, we have watched the Congress lavish the health insurance and pharmaceutical magnates with new, "mechanical" structures for diagnosis and treatment in order to limit coverage and "standardize" insured costs. [I.e. DSM]

Gradually every sort of individually motivated job performance conducted by policemen has also been "standardized" to the point of an almost robotic approach whenever a crime is detected. This litany of de-professionalizing efforts could include many more examples. 

When a profession is de-professionalized, it loses its traditional reliance on meritocracy [Are the outcomes good?] as the control of approval for such job performance shifts toward "business" considerations and away from individual efforts and responsibility for the outcome of the professional labor.

Well, for a significant part of the American electorate a similar inclination has now encompassed the Presidency.

Traditionally, Presidents are exceptional for more reasons than simply their external qualities and accomplishments -- educational achievements, business success or specific, relevant experience such as service as Secretary of State. There is a very visible, yet immaterial, "quality of being" about each of them which is evidence for some degree of the "remarkable nature" intuitively persuasive to the governed. Once elected and wrapped in the accouterments accompanying such a high office, they often tend to gradually appear even more exceptional as their terms continue.

Yet, Americans have always been inclined to attribute just about everything the US government might accomplish to the executive sitting in the Oval Office. This is even evident in the curious syntax often used to describe such "happenings." [For example "During Bush, unemployment increased by 700,000 monthly." "Under FDR, hope was restored to millions of Americans."]

The unspoken implication behind comments like these has consistently been that the executive has always been the one who planned, supported and implemented these things as a singular individual. Ironically, the same general idea also seems to support an almost opposite conclusion. That "counter thought" is that the single individual occupying the Oval Office is actually required to do very little!

This idea is based on the presumption that the executive has available every sort of "assistance" which will almost automatically do the real work of being President for him [or her], rendering the immediate task of directly governing little more than coming up with a few new ideas or giving a few orders. While such a hypothesis may, at first, seem to be a dangerously over simplified model, in the nature of this post it may be chillingly relevant.

Vast numbers of American voters now see Donald Trump as a viable choice to serve in the next Presidency. MeanMesa thinks this is a phenomenon more than worthy of some careful analysis. The simple fact that we have arrived at such a place strongly suggests that we may not be understanding the actual thinking process driving this large block of voters. 

What Have We Missed in the Minds
 of Trump's Electorate?
Are we making some structural errors
 in our presumptions about what motivations are at play?

In order to keep this post organized, and in hopes of making it just as riveting and intellectually challenging as the Republican debates themselves, we shall consider various aspects of the hypothesis in a structure of questions and answers. [Granted, MeanMesa already knows what the questions in this post will be and how they shall be answered, so -- in this sense -- there is no possible way to make this discussion as thought provoking, insightful, shocking and spontaneous as the Republican debates. Nonetheless, even confronted with such formidable competition, we shall still, very bravely of course, strive to do our best.]

See? She's really, really, really happy. [image_source_COMMENTARY_MAGAZINE]

1. Is Trump's artful campaigning by design or serendipity?

Donald Trump has obviously appeared on the political stage with a personality, but, absent any history of governing, is what we see the actual Trump personality or has it been dissected and reassembled to meet the political opportunities present only in 2015? Further, what, precisely, were those political opportunities lurking in 30% of Republican Primary voters?

There is a real possibility that, hidden away in some basement bunker below Trump Tower, there is a team of exceptionally good political analysts. For those less inclined for raw conspiracy theories, the alternative is one of very suspiciously formidable good luck. In the latter scenario Trump's "organic" personality has just happened to be precisely what all these Republican base voters have been craving all along.

Remember, those base voters don't know any more about Donald Trump than anyone else! Their attraction is focused on his speeches and some hazy sort of "elevated presence" associated with his wealth. Trump's current base support is not the result of his reputation, his record, his personality or his campaign promises -- it is almost entirely a construct of the psychological reaction to his shockingly inauthentic "persona" in the background thoughts of his information challenged base.

2. Did Trump ever actually intend to serve as President? 

We have to assume that Donald Trump does, in fact, know full well that should he ever serve as President, things will not possibly be as simple as his campaign rhetoric might suggest. It is not likely that the man is a much "out of touch" as one would garner from his campaign. Yes, he was born wealthy, and it shows, but on the other hand, Trump has conducted his inherited business interests at least modestly well.

MeanMesa thinks that, at least for Trump, the most reassuring development in the Trump Campaign is that the candidate's popularity is beginning to sag. As the favorable numbers gradually decline, the likelihood that Donald Trump will eventually face the full responsibilities of being President become more distant. Again ironically, the most disturbing part of this conjecture rests squarely with the profound void of electability among Trump's competitors for the nomination.

None of Trump's competition is particularly competitive, and this makes the possibility of his facing a withering national campaign -- not to mention the Presidency, itself -- truly intimidating for him as these outcomes become more and more likely. We may be briefly puzzled as we watch Donald desperately seeking refuge in poll numbers showing another Republican candidate rapidly overtaking him in popularity, but Trump, himself, will find this development an incredible relief -- one serving to make his ever actually being President constantly less likely .

3. Are Trump's politics maneuvering to serve "behind the scene" interests? 

We have become quite accustomed to politicians who barely disguise their eagerness to serve corporate or other plutocratic interests once they are elected. Although common with Congressmen and Senators, the horrible example of Bush W. represents the most recent case when such "conflicted loyalties" accompanied a Presidential candidate as he took office.

Donald Trump has taken great pains to repeatedly proclaim that he is acting exclusively in his own interest in hopes of defeating the negative suspicions that he is actually some sort of shill for other special interests which might benefit from his election. He has been systematically refusing proffered campaign donations, always accompanying such refusals with the explanation for his supporters that he "is safe" and "cannot be bought" simply because he is so rich.

MeanMesa suspects that, should he ever be elected, Donald Trump would, indeed, serve the special interests around Washington in a spectacular way at levels beyond our worst, dark imaginings. He may do this as a deeply corrupted politician, or he may do this simply as the adult form of a spectacularly spoiled, insulated, child. Who cares which it is?

4. How much does the Trump phenomenon depend of the conditions of 2015?

Do Trump and his team fully realize that the campaign is "surfing on the wave of the moment?" The remarkably early onset of this particular election season reveals that voters from both sides of the "conflict" are quite angry with the prospect of another round of "more of the same." This accounts for the startling rejection of every GOP Primary candidate who could boast of even the most minor amount of experience -- or even involvement -- with the government.

With respect to Trump's side of the current picture educationally challenged, wildly conservative voters are now, officially, utterly disgusted with the "we never win" narrative issuing forth from the Congress and the media. The "angst" of these primary voters can no longer be soothed by the traditional "laying of the blame" on the nearest scapegoat, either.

While Trump has already "drunk deeply" from the "whose fault" question, he has also indulged just as deeply with his unabashed embrace of "simply winning." "Winning so much that you'll become bored with it!" Rotating eerily amid this almost completely "detail free" rhetoric, campaign utterances such as this one, although largely beyond any explanation suggested by the useless questions in the corporate opinion polls, still seem to exert a considerable traction with the nearly blind GOP base.

This Republican base -- as it systematically turns out every "insider" candidate, is exhibiting much more than the usual passive disgust with the status quo. At least the "likely primary voters" among this aging base are clearly prepared to conduct a hair tearing, "holy war" in their "all bets are off - no more Mr. Nice Guy" madness to get everything they ever wanted as they "take their country back."

Further, although these "establishment" candidates now litter the low end of the FOX polls with single digit results from GOP base voters willing to vote for them, can this animosity -- given time -- ever turn to attack even Trump's popularity? It is not inconceivable that even Trump's vacuous "policy proposals" will begin to appear far too similar to that of the "old school insiders" of the GOP for the taste of the hill billies and bigots currently comprising his 30% of primary voters.

5. How concerned should the GOP be about "permanent damage?"

MeanMesa has never seen the current level of "party anarchy" and general pathos in the Republican Party. For decades the GOP has stumbled forward with an almost hypnotic unanimity on practically every policy the Party Owners ordered. During the Bush W. autocracy the comments -- eerily synchronized by morning emails from the Party's think tank bunkers -- issuing forth daily from both legislators and the wing nut voices of the conveniently obedient industrial media without containing even any different words.

However, 2015 clearly contains very little of the "joyous homogeneity" of those halcyon days. The voters considered to be Party loyalists are completely fed up with both the gaseous,  fraudulent "party unity" and the decades old Republican axiom that absolutely no policy needed to provide anything with any sort of actual value to the voters electing GOP bosses. While the more orthodox candidates in the current crop still adhere to this idea, Trump is capitalizing on a very modest deviation from it by "promising" tantalizing, yet undefined, possibilities such as those in his "terrific," "successes" and "winning" rhetoric.

Perhaps the most interesting question now is whether his candidacy's success is simply an indication of a "pausing point" defined only by imagined policies [imagined by Trump supporters] which are specifically only "less intolerable" compared to those of other candidates which are now clearly definable as "more intolerable" or simply "too intolerable?" [Trump's closest competitor, Dr. Ben Carson, may have perceived this, resulting in adopting his strikingly "closed mouth" approach to campaigning.]

6. How many more political mistakes the Trump campaign is wrecked?

The Trump campaign has already committed enough political faux pas that, if these were more normal times, it would have been nothing more than "non-newsworthy political debris" by this point. However, MeanMesa joins many other observers watching in astonishment as these serious campaigning mistakes essentially turn into positives when interpreted by his base voters.

There are, in fact, certain technological aspects required to operate a Presidential campaign -- or at least there have been in the past. Perhaps foremost among the responsibilities of a professional campaign staff would be the duty of steering the candidate clear of embarrassment. A Presidential candidate -- just like a President -- really can't afford to be duped, coerced, intentionally angered or otherwise manipulated. His image could not bear it.

Yet, Trump has staggered through one "field error" after another, for example the fictional abortion video or his highly televised battleship fund raiser for the "one man, phony veterans group." While a competent campaign manager would have spotted such disasters while they were still politically distant enough for "tactical avoidance," Trump just wandered into the middle of the pond. But even amid this obvious "awkwardness," Trump supporters seemed to only grow more fervent in their support, perhaps attracted by the fact that their candidate was showing that he was capable of the same types of stupid mistakes that they were.

MeanMesa suspects that Trump is unable to trust a campaign manager in the traditional sense. Instead, he has reverted to the business model with which he is more familiar, relegating the position of campaign manager as the executive directing the candidate's team to something else, perhaps more akin to an administrative assistant.

An actual campaign manager could have introduced the full utility of a think tank filled with psychological experts capable of discerning voter issues and incorporating them into campaign speeches, but this would have been the "classical" model. Trump is convinced that he can prevail without such help, and it shows. On the other hand his success even in the absence of such assistance is revealing some politically dangerous truths about the actual mind set of the voters which have been, heretofore, duped into casting GOP ballots.

Even on the day Trump announced his candidacy, the news broke that many of those gathered in the "cheering crowd" were actually hired actors who usually filled the cinematic role of "extras." [Read more Trump_Hired_Paid_Actors_for_Announcement_DAILY_MAIL]

It remains to be seen if the blistering editorial in the Des Moines Register [Read the editorial here_Des_Moines_Register_Trump_Editorial. Read Trump's response here_ Des_Moines_Register_Trump's_Response] or the surprisingly weak spirited Club For Growth attack ads [Read more here_Club_For_Growth_attacks_Trump_POLITICO and Trump's response here_Donald_Trump_Club-for-Growth_USATODAY] will have much impact of Trump's poll numbers. Given the non-response to his previous gaffes, MeanMesa suspect that these will follow suit, that is, they will serve as additional reminders that he is an "outsider" which will only fire up his base even more.

What We Can Conclude.

In the words of Mike Malloy [The Mike Malloy Show, 10 PM weekdays, KABQ Albuquerque, 1350 AM]:

"The Republican Party has become a ghoulish cult."

In the words of MeanMesa:
 "Donald Trump, whatever he is, has ushered in this darkness."

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