We’re stuck with President Trump, for now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do things to minimize the damage, and ultimately force him from office.
First off, we have to deal with the elephant in the room — the old, “McConnell said he wanted to stop Obama, and now YOU want to stop Trump — you’re both just as bad!”
In fact, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and many Republicans opposed President Obama from the outset for entirely false reasons.
One, they claimed Obama was a socialist; which at the time, and even more so in retrospect, was equal parts bizarre and absurd.
Second, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that for some Republicans their biggest problem with Obama was his race. Donald Trump leading the “birther” movement comes to mind. Birtherism was about race. Obama was a black man, and some in the GOP felt the need to define him as the “other” — preferably an African other.
McConnell’s concerns about Obama were irrational at worst, and overly-partisan at best. Concern about the imminent Trump presidency, and Trump overall, are not simply rational, they’re bipartisan.
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As for the partisan argument, you did not have lead mainstream Democratic politicos opposing Barack Obama at the start of the Obama presidency. You do have that with Trump, because Trump has embraced dangerous policies (particularly with regard to foreign policy and his embrace of Russia’s Putin, and putting the Russian national interest above America’s own), in addition to having a dangerous temperament. Not only is Trump uncurious (e.g., refusing to take his regular intelligence briefings), but his intellectual inconsistency, penchant for lying, childlike insecurity, and his lack of an emotional sphincter (the most dangerous place in Washington is between Donald Trump and an iPhone) make Trump uniquely dangerous in a way we haven’t seen with recent presidents, especially as it pertains to foreign policy. A lack of predictability, and trustworthiness, in foreign affairs can lead to wars.
That’s why, for starters, I believe it is every patriot’s duty to stop, or at least stymie, Donald Trump by all legal means necessary.
The question, however, is how? The answer: target his polls.
Donald Trump has never been a terribly popular politician. As “unpopular” as the media liked to label Hillary Clinton, Trump was always behind Hillary in the polls. And even today, while Trump’s favorability rating has increased significantly since the election, he’s still at a deficit:
And while I’m not surprised that Trump is enjoying a post-election honeymoon (though he’s still more unpopular than popular), he’s the same Donald Trump, and the polls have consistently showed that people simply don’t like him. With Hillary no longer available as a convenient foil, it’s only a matter of time until the public returns to its pre-election Trump-funk.
And that should be our goal: Help Trump release his inner child who nobody likes.
1. It shouldn’t be terribly difficult to make Trump unlikeable again.
2. As we saw during the election, as Trump’s favorability drops, Republicans in Congress will grow more bold in challenging him (as will Democrats).
3. A bolder Congress is more willing to publicly challenge Trump.
4. A challenged Trump is a less effective Trump.
5. A less effective Trump does less harm and has a harder time getting re-elected.
How to unleash Trump’s inner unlikeability? Focus on his insecurity. Trump’s psyche is a terrifyingly open book. Much has been written by therapists discussing what psychological problems Trump might suffer from, but it’s obvious to everyone that the man is breathtakingly insecure about his place in the world — he needs the approval of others, and nothing is ever enough — and that is where we start.
Trump’s biggest concern of late is his brutal loss to Hillary in the popular vote. Trump is 2.9 million votes behind Hillary in the popular vote, giving her a 2% lead over Trump. For the electoral vote winner to lose by nearly 3 million votes is historically unheard of. It is the worst victory in American history, if you look at the raw vote, and the 3rd worst if you look at his percent loss to Hillary.
The fact that Trump keeps harping on his popular vote loss, including this morning on Twitter, means this is where we start. Below are all of Trump’s tweets of the past few days, including those of this morning — all but one show Trump’s neediness. And this morning’s tweets are all about Trump’s loss in the popular vote:
Folks, Donald Trump won the election. And sure, he likely wouldn’t be president had FBI Director Comey and the Vladimir Putin not thrown the election his way. But nonetheless, Trump won. In one month, he’s going to be the leader of the free world. And it’s still not enough for the man. Trump is still whining about his various insecurities because his inner void remains unfilled. And if winning the presidency didn’t do the trick, nothing ever will.
That insecurity is Trump’s tragic flaw. By playing on it, by poking it and exacerbating it we can get Trump to continually out the real him. And that’s the ironic beauty of the strategy. Unlike the racist birther strategy, ours is based on the truth: We simply want Trump to reveal himself. And I’m wagering that, if past is prologue, the public will be none-too-thrilled when they increasingly realize they elected a child to run and defend the nation.
Now, this is only a first step. We should also be focusing on Trump preparing to sell us out to Russia. That too will hurt his poll numbers, make Trump even more insecure because it undermines his mandate, and it has the advantage of being a concern that Republicans and Democrats both share: Most Americans care more about America’s national interest than Russia’s. In Trump’s White House, it’s not clear whose national interest will be paramount. And that uncertainty, over the long term, inures to our advantage.