Sheila Markin is a former Assistant US Attorney. She helps people to understand in plain English what is going on in US politics today. Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a post!
Trump is “unleashed”, we hear. He is going to do whatever he wants to do because he thinks he knows best. Remember that line from the campaign? “I alone can fix it.” And yet we see mess after mess, his aides rushing to clean it up and pretend he did not say what he said or mean what he did. Trump is done with all that. No more adults in the room for Mr. Grandiose. He is pushing out the people who say “no” to him: Gary Cohn, McMaster, Tillerson, and others. From now on he will listen only to himself in an echo chamber of “yes” men who tell him he is right.
This move is likely to bring him down faster than the Mueller investigation and faster than the MeToo movement. Trump is hell bent on doing himself in.
How? By insisting on policies that actually damage his base. The way he maintains the support of his unshakable 40% base in the heartland is to act as if he is their ally, their pal, working on their behalf in Washington. He can do this as long has he has the support of Faux News. But if his policies seriously damage the farm communities and other heartland communities that drank his Kool-Aide, Trump will have cut the legs out from under his wobbly chair.
Tariffs Trump imposed on China are now creating a trade war with China. He was warned that would happen, but he knew better. China is retaliating and they are specifically targeting the Trump electorate with their own tariffs on pork and other commodities that support his 40% base. After awhile even his base will understand they got conned. It may be true that Trump’s 40% does not care about the swamp getting swampier, the Mueller investigation or the sex scandals or anything else other than their own economic security. They are incensed about “foreigners” in part because they wrongly think that these people are taking their jobs and taking advantage of our “entitlement” systems: education, health care etc. Faux News and Trump have told them so. But if Trump continues with his reckless policies that damage his own voters, then we are in new territory. Even a few dollars in their pay checks as a result of the new Tax law will not convince Trump voters that he is helping them if their farms go bankrupt and their businesses fail.
Keep it up, Mr. President. You alone know how to bring yourself down faster than anyone else.
Much of rural America will abandon the president if his tariffs incite a crisis for rural businesses.