Monday, 30 January 2017

Letter To America - How To Take On Trump

I do not want to come over preaching to Americans from this far away vantage point. I make no claim for greater knowledge of American law or politics than the citizens who live with both. But after just a week of despicable actions by the new President and the furore it has unsurprisingly provoked, I just want to make a plea that such broad-brush outrage is not the best method of opposing him. That is not to say that joining protests and pointing up abuses through social media #resistance are not useful - they are, they show solidarity with those persecuted under the regime so that indicates the persecuted are not alone. But the more clinical tactics to disarm him have to be given space among the sound and fury to work their effect.

Trump has been branded an egomaniac, sociopath, dictator, racist, fascist, liar, sexist, abuser, tyrant, despot, puppet of Bannon, puppet of Putin and probably some others I've missed. Now most of these may well be true, but hurling these epithets at him achieves precisely nothing. He will just shrug and jab a finger behind him in a "Get that lot" gesture; get that lot in both senses of the term, since he has a propensity for going after his critics and opponents and he will go to war with the media and then with Hollywood mark my words. But don't forget he is playing to his supporters, the nearly 50% of your divided nation that voted for him. The more you abuse him, the more it plays to his message that he is the outsider, the new broom and that plays well in places. Demonstrations in large urban areas and airports and he can just claim that it's the political correctness/Liberal/Feminists/Civil Rights 'mob' which he can spin to his supporters as him being on the right track if these opponents up in arms protesting. Trump has not enacted any policy he didn't tell us he was going to do when campaigning. The problem is no one thought he was serious, or that he was just rabble-rousing or talking metaphorically and of course no one thought he would win. Everything so far is playing to his constituency and they are almost certainly loving it. I don't believe that anyone who voted for him has been alienated by the first week's antics and policies. They are not in the slightest bit embarrassed by the criticism aimed at Trumps' decisions both at home and globally; like the President they just don't care about the use of torture.

So the way to get to Trump is twofold. Firstly make him look bad to his own supporters and secondly a vigorous legal defence of the Constitution to reverse as many of his enacted policies as can be defeated by other branches of government. So taking the legal side first and I am no expert, but calls to impeach him after just a week in office are never going to happen, so please stop calling for it. Only the House of Representatives can call for proceedings and the Senate hear them; both are Republican majorities, so the chances of it being successful are small. Turkeys don't vote for either Thanksgiving nor Christmas. However appalled certain Republican congressfolk are by Trump, they will not venture to destroy their own party by removing the man who won the Whitehouse under their name and on their ticket. Now, to proper business. Trump threatens the venerable Constitution like no previous President. Particularly the First amendment when it comes to media and artistic freedom as he goes after his critics. He will also look to finagle away some of the protections of the Fifth Amendment, starting with drug dealers and illegal migrants and then seeing if he can extend it to the everyday. He will wrap such attacks up under the cloak of being the Constitution's great defender, particularly by playing up the Second Amendment, a sort of under two flags approach that Putin also wields in Russia. His supporters might overlook infringement and incremental shrinking of the First Amendment in return for buttressing of the Second Amendment to their satisfaction, plus moves like overturning Roe V Wade that finally gives the religious Right what they have been craving for decades and who have VP Pence leading the charge on it. Every infraction of  the constitution has to be legally challenged. We know Congress are unlikely to do it and can only hope and trust the Judiciary (no matter their personal politics) do their job and rule on matters of law and where the Constitution has been infringed. The problem is that such processes are not quick and instead of having the loggerheads between Congress & Whitehouse that you had under Obama, you risk having a strangulation of business tied up by the wranglings of Executive and Judiciary this time. It wouldn't matter quite so much, but again Trump just turns round and appeals to his supporters to say 'who's holding up business, not me, it's the Judiciary and they need their swamp clearing too'. Such an accusation has already happened here in Britain over Brexit, although it was our press and media more than the government who took it to extremes.

So that brings us to the second thread, make Trump lose face to his own supporters. As much as they delight in Liberal baiting and persecuting of certain minorities, ultimately they have voted him in to improve their lot materially. This won't happen and that has to be played for all it's worth over the next four years as the economy fails to revive itself since rust cannot suddenly de-rust itself and become mint steel again. The coal mines have gone and won't usefully be brought back into production. To really hammer this home, you need to associate the lack of economic benefit for the ordinary man with Trump's own mega-wealth and that he is not and never was the man to represent them after all. There's no point complaining that Trump never showed us his tax returns, didn't impact the election, it's old news now. You have to hammer him on anything he does while in office. Every conflict of interest, every milking of the Presidency for his own gain has to be exposed and legally challenged where relevant. And there's no point revealing these exposés in the Times & The Post, because they're not talking to his support base. I'm afraid they are a Greek chorus when you need to be using the real protagonists on the stage. You need to get them on Facebook and Fox News. And obviously it has to be 100% evidenced and explained, the links made so it's staring them square in the face. Hell, mock up a Breitbart dummy site or hack the real one and get it there as well. Go for the jugular but in order to do so, you have to stay focused and not just go for everything and anything. Only the stuff that degrades him in the eyes of his followers. No moral arguments, just clear cases of corruption and failing to deliver on growth because he can't as he's in the billionaire camp.

The only problem I foresee with this strategy is how Trump reacts to such humiliation? He strikes me as a street fighter in the Boardroom, so that it is possible that he just says to hell with it all and pulls some crazy stunt like going to war with Iran or some equivalent just to re-inflate his ego in his own mind. But let's cross that bridge when we come to it eh?

Good luck with the fight.

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