Bad Hombres and Nazis

Is generalizing about immigrants of Hispanic heritage as “bad hombres” the same as generalizing about authoritarian-wannabe politicians of German heritage as “Nazis”?

Just asking, no particular reason.

Advertisements

Can Anything Dent Trump’s Support?

Ever since he started campaigning for the presidency 4 years ago, Donald Trump has been able to count on the support of around 30-35% of the electorate. No matter what he did or was accused of, that support never wavered.

  • Extramarital sex with a porn star – no problem.
  • Senior members of his campaign team and his personal lawyer charged with illegal behavior – no problem
  • His former Secretary of State calls him a moron – no problem
  • He admits forcing himself on women and groping them – no problem.
  • Pissing off allies and sucking up to arch enemy Russia – no problem.

As Trump himself put it, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”

The truth is that Trump is right. His base is so fed up with national politics that they are willing to overlook almost everything in order to keep Trump in power, kicking the establishment in the ass.

The one thing that might affect this support is visible corruption. The operative word is ‘visible’. China giving his daughter valuable trademarks is corrupt, but it does not affect the average American so it is invisible. But if there were potential conflicts of interest between Trump’s business and the welfare of American workers and Trump was exposed as coming down on the side of his business, it could, just could, affect his support.

If the Democrats take control of the House or Senate, they might decide to hold hearings to shine light on Trump’s possible conflicts and subpoena his tax returns, which cannot be good for him. Or Robert Mueller might expose corruption that deeply offends the average voter. Or Michael Cohen will flip and tell tales of the shady things he has done for Trump.

Trump’s support will never go to zero, but corruption is probably the only thing that can shave 5-10 points off of it.

 

 

Mar-a-Lago (Far) East

I don’t know why everyone was surprised that Donald Trump showed North Korea’s Kim Jong Un a ‘propaganda’ video after their meeting earlier this month. Trump was just dusting off the sales technique that has worked so well for him in the past as a real estate developer.

Ask anyone that has been to a sales presentation for a vacation timeshare or condo. They are slicker than snot on a doorknob, using photos and videos to show you how sweet life would be if you would just sign up. If they weren’t that slick, people wouldn’t bite. Of course, once they sign up, many people find that the deal isn’t as sweet as they thought it would be.

Trump has been successful with slick sales presentations for years. He built his real estate career on it. And the sales technique worked over and over again. Wall Street bankers finally became immune to it, but that was only after being burned by Trump several times.

Trump is simply reverting to the persuasive tool he knows best. He is figuring that Kim is a greenhorn and will be wowed enough by the sales presentation to buy into Trump’s vision.

Maybe it will work and Kim will hire the Trump company to manage his new resorts and hotels. Or maybe Kim will see right through the slickness and play Trump right back. My bet is on the latter.

 

Trump Finally Hired The Right Lawyer

Donald Trump has known all along that his best defense against Robert Mueller’s investigation did not have much to do with the law. Yes, Mueller could uncover illegal behavior by Trump and Trump’s attorneys would use the legal system to fight any charges that might result.

However, it wouldn’t matter because early on, Trump understood three things:

  1. He knew that he broke the law in his campaign and business dealings
  2. If Mueller uncovered this (likely) he would build an airtight case against Trump before bringing any charges
  3. Therefore, he was not likely to win in a court of law. His case could only be won in the court of public opinion.

As time went on, the first two points became more and more obvious to Trump’s lawyers and they started to quit or got fired. Trump doubled down on the third point, and hired Rudy Giuliani as his lawyer.

People say that Giuliani is a poor choice because it has been a long time since he was a prosecutor and instead he has spent the last three decades as a lobbyist and politician.

That’s what makes him the perfect choice. He knows how to work the press. He knows how to shape public opinion. The one-two punch of Trump and Giuliani are doing a terrific job of turning the public against Mueller. They figure that if they can turn it far enough, whatever Mueller uncovers won’t matter.

It will be interesting to see if that is really the case or the courts end up with the last word.

 

 

since then.

 

 

and his associates – in fact, he already has.  could be indicted, but

Crazy Kim Vs. Crazy Trump

Kim Jong Un has been talking crazy trash about the United States since he became the leader of North Korea 7 years ago, continuing the tradition of his father and grandfather. Until recently the United States has responded diplomatically, but that was BT (before Trump).

Donald Trump knows all about crazy trash talk and there was no way he was going to miss an opportunity to hurl some back at Kim. Kim had to respect this, and the next thing you know he warmed up to the South Koreans over the Olympics and got Trump to agree to meet with him.

Now the serious negotiation starts. Kim has already started to mess with Trump by adding new demands before a meeting can occur. There will be more back and forth, but the key to understanding any negotiation is to look at what each side really wants.

Kim wants:

  • To be recognized as a ‘player’
  • To remain in power
  • Economic gains

The first goal has already been accomplished – Trump agreed to meet with him. Even if the meeting never takes place, Kim wins. The second objective is not really under threat, so call that a win too.  Kim has already won some on the third objective as well. He has reopened economic discussions with S. Korea and any deal is likely to result in some sanctions relief.

Trump wants:

  • favorable headlines
  • favorable headlines
  • favorable headlines

Trump will do almost anything to get a deal, because that would give him the press he craves. He is going to have to get through hardliner John Bolton to do that, but Bolton works for him so that should not be too hard. When and if the meeting between him  and Kim ever happens, Trump will announce that he has just done “the best deal EVER”.

There is a pretty good chance that once the fine print and Kim’s post deal maneuvering (cheating) are taken into account the deal will turn out to be not so great after all. The irony for Trump is that he may get the headlines he craves when the deal is announced but for months afterwards he will likely get the opposite: stories about how he the US got snookered. If Trump is not careful, the Great Dealmaker’s N Korea folly may give the Democrats some juicy material going into the November elections.