Back in 2011, Trump hit on a grand, overarching strategy to win the GOP nomination and even the presidency; i.e. cater to some of the lowest and most un-American of our citizens by playing to their nativist/racist biases. Step-one: rush to become the most nationally visible person to embrace birtherism. This, combined with a message of economic populism, got him the nod as the Republican candidate.
Once he began campaigning for the presidency, and even after he won the election, the man never took his foot off the gas; What follows in no particular order, is a list of all the promises that he made and actions taken, every one of which was designed to feed the Obama-hating crowd.
Obama supported a woman’s right to choose: Capture the evangelical vote by promising to repeal Roe v. Wade (1).
Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment: Repeal and replace the ACA. on “day-1. It will be “easy”.
Obama supported the Paris Climate Change Accord: Get the US out of it. “I was elected to be president of Pittsburgh, not Paris”.
Obama Justice Department ‘s prosecution of AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio: Pardon this man who imposed cruel and unusual punishment (2) on the people in his custody, and who was found guilty of extensive, illegal racial profiling. “Sheriff Joe is a great American…a patriot”.
Rescind all of Obama’s Executive Orders protecting the environment: Who needs clean air and water when all those government-imposed rules stifle innovation and job creation?
End Obama’s protection of children brought here illegally by their parents: The so-called “Dreamers” need to be sent back from whence they came; so Trump said in a video-interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd.
Not only did this strategy get Trump nominated, it played a significant role in his getting elected. He now moves into re-election mode, a topic to be covered next.
In search of a second term
What worked in 2016 is still being used as this blog is being typed. The pardoning of Arpaio, a White Supremacist if there ever was one, certainly fits here. In the same vein, there was 45’s flip-flopping/wandering eventual condemnation of the Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, and Al-Righters who demonstrated in Charlottesville. Trump just didn’t dare come forth with a prompt and full-throated calling out of these groups.
Even though the repeal and replacement of Obamacare failed in the Senate, Trump is keeping that Obama program in his sights by badgering the Senate to take another shot at getting rid of it.
As for the aforementioned “Dreamers” the view now is that they will be granted a 6-month reprieve from deportation, a sign that 45 has flinched from his original commitment to send them off. How they will be dealt with between now when the half-year is over is apparently going to be left to Congress. By proceeding in that way, Trump can blame that body if it fails to follow through for him. In turn, that would allow him to save face with his racist base. (3)
At base, Trump’s re-election strategy is predicated on holding onto the Electoral College votes in the south and rural White American. The people in those states make up the corpus of the 35% that give 45 positive approval ratings. Then, win by just enough in PA, OH and WI to collect their College votes and retain the presidency even if by a slim margin, just as he did almost a year ago.
It would be a mistake to sell this game plan short and to get fixated on the man’s low approval numbers along with the hope that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller will present Congress with a report that would lead to Trump’s impeachment. That kind of pie-in-the sky, passive, fanciful thinking, will almost insure his re-election.
- Evangelicals went, overwhelmingly for Trump because of his anti-abortion stance. How else would one explain how deeply religious people could, as a body, accept, an adulterous, serial liar.
- There are civil rights lawyers who have opined that Arpaio could have justifiably been changed with violations of the Constitution’s 8th Amendment.
- It is reasonable to assume that when Trump issued his “out with them” comments viz a viz the Dreamers, he could not have anticipated the backlash that is now taking place. Prominent members of the business community and of his own party in Congress have told him to back off and find a better way forward.