The Method to Trump’s Madness: “The Appall and Anesthetize Political Strategy”
The last thing I wanted to write and think about over this past long weekend is Donald Trump — I do enough of that the rest of the week. The fact my recent posts are “Trump heavy” reflects the fact that here in DC he’s all anyone talks about — because you’re forced to talk about him.
Following his extraordinary 77-minute news conference last week, this New York Times Frank Bruni analysis of why and how Trump survives and thrives in his self-generated world of rhetorical chaos is superior.
Bruni describes the method behind Trump’s madness, and helps explain how he vanquished a variety of nominally high-quality GOP competitors like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, and, ultimately, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton:
“That’s his means of survival: the warp speed and whirl of it all. He forces you to process and react to so many different outrages at such a dizzying velocity that no one of them has the staying power that it ought to or gets the scrutiny it deserves. They blend together under the numbing banner of what a freak show he can be, of Trump being Trump. And so the show screams on.
“Part of this excess is his nature. Part of it is design. Not by accident did he put on that 77-minute performance for the media — hurling insults, flinging lies, marinating in self-pity, luxuriating in self-love — just three days after the resignation of his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and amid intensifying questions about collusion between Team Trump and the Russians.
“He was cluttering the landscape. Overwhelming the senses. Betting that a surfeit of clangorous music would obscure any particularly galling note. That wager got him all the way to the White House, so he sticks with it. The news conference was a case study in such orchestrated chaos.”
As Bruni so aptly concludes: Trump, who has succeeded at nothing so much as devising an analogue to the shock-and-awe military campaign: It’s the appall-and-anesthetize political strategy
(Trump graphic: NYT)