14 November 2016

The con man -- a political speculation

I don't want to get anyone's hopes up only to have them dashed again later.  Consider this just a political speculation, for now.

After Trump's recent meeting with President Obama he said that he no longer supports scrapping Obamacare.  This is something of a shocker, since repealing Obamacare has been a priority -- obsession, really -- of Republicans ever since it was enacted, and Trump vocally supported repeal during the campaign.  He now says he would merely amend it, but even liberals support doing that -- Obamacare is an imperfect beginning limited by the political realities of the time it was passed, to be improved and expanded later. That's how these things normally develop.  Trump's call to ban Muslim immigration has also been quietly removed from his campaign website (both links found via Progressive Eruptions).

Earlier, Trump displayed another odd reversal of position.  On Thursday he denounced the protests against his election win as "very unfair" on Twitter, but the next morning he sent a different message: "Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud!"  Even in his victory speech, when he mentioned his opponent, "crooked Hillary" and "lock her up" were replaced by "we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country."  And now, he's said he's not going to "rip up" the Iran nuclear deal after all.

What's going on here?  One of the objections to Trump all along among NeverTrump Republicans was that he isn't really a Republican -- he's actually been a Democrat for much of his life, donated mostly to Democratic politicians, held liberal positions on abortion and other issues.  People do change, of course, and most Republicans (and Democrats) accepted his declarations of right-wing views during his recent campaign as being what he really believed.  But what if the reality is something quite different?

I've long thought that Trump, based on his history, is first and foremost a con man.  Trump University, his exaggerations of his wealth, his various schemes over the years that so often seemed to leave anyone else involved in them feeling exploited and ripped off -- it's what he does.  He's made abortive attempts to run for President before, most notably in 2000 with Perot's Reform party; but to have a real chance at winning, you have to be a major-party candidate.  And given his age, 2016 was his last shot.  He must have known he'd have no chance against Hillary for the Democratic nomination, but the absurdly splintered Republican field offered a real opportunity.

Is it possible that what this con man has just done is to pull off the most colossal and spectacular con job in history? Again, I don't want to fall prey to wishful thinking, but what if Trump still holds basically the same views he's held most of his life, and he just spent the last year-and-a-half bullshitting the stupid wingnuts into thinking he's the Second Coming of Hitler so they'd nominate him and then turn out in droves to elect him President?

If it is something like that, he's got no reason to keep up the pretense much longer. He's won.  He's in.  He may not plan to seek a second term (he'll be 74 in 2020), in which case he'd have no reason to worry about losing re-election.  He'll just do whatever the hell he wants.  If he still has the same liberal views he previously held in some areas, he's now free to act on them.  In areas where he has no strong convictions, he may be open to persuasion -- that would explain his shift on Obamacare (let's hope Obama gives him a lecture on global warming soon!), although in fact he's expressed support for socialized health care in the past.  My point is, his actual actions as President may prove to be nothing like his campaign rhetoric.

I am not minimizing the fact that Trump is a terrible human being.  He's repeatedly shown himself to be vindictive and given to petty personal feuds.  In 1973 he was sued for racial discrimination in housing at his properties.  The "grab 'em by the pussy" tape was the real Trump -- he said those things in private at a time when running for President was not on his mind.  I believe the women who have come forward saying he molested them -- their claims are consistent with what he himself has said about his attitudes and behavior.  The woman who sued claiming he raped her when she was 13 did withdraw her suit, but had apparently been receiving threats.  We may never know the facts of that case.  This is not the person we want in the most powerful office on Earth.  I would far, far rather have had Hillary.  But his actions as President may prove to be nothing like what we fear and what the Republicans hope.  We should watch him very carefully and, as Hillary said during her concession speech, with an open mind.

What will truly tell the tale will be his first Supreme Court pick.

And if my speculations here turn out to be true, then when the Republicans figure out what happened..... Jesus, just think how mad they're going to be.  Trump only defeated us, but he conned them.  NeverTrumps will claim vindication, Trumpanzees won't know what the hell to make of it, and the leadership that fell into line behind Trump in the end will be totally discredited.  The wingnuts could be in for a civil war after all.


Blogger Frank Wilhoit said...

My take is a little different. Trump is a conman because his primary survival skill is tricking people, and his secondary survival skill is blustering/intimidating his way out of the situations that result. He originates nothing, he has no views. He has spent his life cutting people with bits of their own broken glass: picking up shards of their speech, none of which he understands, and cobbling them together into weapons.

From this perspective, everything depends upon who he surrounds himself with. The early signs are not good, but loyalty is strictly a one-way thing with him; anyone who makes him look bad will be thrown over at once.

So much for Trump the person, who barely exists. Much more important is Trump the symbol and the use that the Party, on the one hand, and the jacquerie, on the other hand, will try to make of that symbol. The same could have been said of Reagan; and my own views are conditioned entirely by the conviction that nothing has changed since 1979.

14 November, 2016 05:52  
Anonymous NickM said...

we have both said (and are far from alone here) that Trump is both...

(a) Utterly capricious.

(b) Only cares about one thing - His Own Mighty Trumpness.

For R & D alike he is essentially an unknown. Arguably more so than any POTUS I can think of.

He is not the boilerplate R religious and he is no liberal (in any sense of the word) apart from when it comes to him. He is a quixotic despot. He is both dangerous and impotent.

14 November, 2016 05:53  
Blogger Kevin Robbins said...

And given his age, 2016 was his last shot.

Had to look because I was curious. He'll be almost a year older than Reagan was. Of course, his doctor said he was the healthiest prez ever.

The Bannon selection is troubling, but there seems to be so much protest over I think he'll be under the bus soon.

14 November, 2016 12:10  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Frank: I don't think there's such a thing as a person with no views or opinions. With him, certainly, any views on issues are subordinated to his ego, but he had opinions and expressed them before running for President, and there's reason to think he still has them.

The party may well want to use Trump as a symbol, especially since he's given them what McCain and Romney could not -- a win. But it's going to be hard to do that if it turns out he's conned them and isn't what they thought he was.

Nick: Even if everything I've said here is vindicated, his capriciousness will remain a worry. Like the majority of the voters, I would far rather have had Hillary.

Kevin: Bannon is indeed troubling, even if he's ditched. My argument here is about Trump's intentions, not what he can get away with, so the choice of Bannon is a definite bad sign, perhaps the worst since the election.

14 November, 2016 18:54  

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