Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Trump Presidency: Resurfacing & Hope

This is the final installment of my series on the archetypes of a Trump presidency. These ideas come out of an exercise I used to alleviate the anxiety I felt on Election Night as the returns confirmed a Trump win. I was overwhelmed, disappointed, dismayed, but most of all, worried. So, using a method called ‘mind mapping’ I put all my associated thoughts about the upcoming administration down on paper. What emerged was a map of actions, observations, and forces that could shape a Trump presidency into five distinct scenarios.
External forces, say if Trump is in debt to international individuals or institutions, could contribute to a presidency that was designed to extricate Trump from an adverse financial situation. This line of thinking led to two archetypes, the ‘Puppet’ and the ‘Sellout’.

If instead of external pressure to perform Trump is driven by his own personal need for respect, power or domination a very different set of possibilities emerge. In the scenario where Trump allows his own needs to shape his presidency we may see the characteristics of the ‘Cappo’, the ‘King’ or the ‘Dictator’.

A Trump Presidency: Part V - The Cappo

So many uncomfortable questions. So many fears captured on paper. This is the last of the major themes that I found after I had spent a frantic post-election morning mapping all the fears that were running through my mind. As a trained political analyst who suffers from anxiety and a very active imagination the map was huge, and none of the options were optimistic.
This last scenario of a Trump presidency returns to examine how his own driving emotional forces may form an administration that resembles the ‘Cappo’. In this scenario Trump is no longer the manipulated but is instead the manipulator. This scenario is all about being the single source of power, good to his friends, ruthless to his enemies, the Don, as it were.

A Trump Presidency: Part IV - The Sellout

So far in this series I have looked at some of the different “types” of president we might see with Trump. The first two types, the ‘Dictator’ and the ‘King’ are both scenarios that would be driven from internal needs for power and validation. The third type I described was the ‘Puppet’. In that case the actions we would see would be directed by an external yet intimate source. Following the line of reacting to external influences we come to the collection of actions that I called the ‘Sellout’.
Like the ‘Puppet’ scenario, the ‘Sellout’ is propelled to action by the need to appease external forces. This scenario has an external force that is extracting from Trump something they feel is owed to them. The aggrieved players might be previous large investors that Trump has failed to repay (nations, large banks), people of power that feel that he has somehow bilked them or treated them unfairly.

A Trump Presidency: Part III - The Puppet

I have to admit this is the scenario that intrigues me the most. I almost titled this after the 1966 movie “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming”. I restrained myself. I have been looking at the Trump/Russian connection for over 2 years, maybe close to three. There is so much possible in this scenario I have to remind people, these are only patterns that I saw as I worked through my own anxiety. They may happen, they may very well not. Either way, this proposed set of circumstances, causes and actions is fascinating. It reads like, well, like a Russian novel.

First we have to ask, ‘Why?’ Why would a such a bizarre collaboration exist? The reason most likely for Trump being involved with Russia, Russian business men, or Putin is, of course, business. Or more likely, debt.

There have been rumblings, hints and questions about Trump and his association with Russia for some time. Links at first were tenuous, things that just didn’t sit right, or left more questions than answers. One of these is the sale of the Trump estate in Palm Beach. The property sold in 2008 in an off market deal to Russian billionaire, Dmitry Rybolovlev, for 95 million dollars set records. Trump walked away with a tidy profit from the property, which he had purchased at auction for approximately 41 million dollars. A Russian contact, but tenuous, at best.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Trump Presidency: Part II - The King

The last pathway we examined was terrifying. It was no less than a repeat of Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot. Take your pick. That had to be the first path examined because it is the one scenario that is preying on the public conscious. Think of it as lancing a boil, best get it done and let the pus drain. So now, with that terror out of the way, let’s look at the next unappetizing prospect.

It could be that Trump is in this purely for his own ego. We’ve all, well all the liberals at least, have thought it. “He’s in this for the publicity. The lights, the renown.” “It’s an ego salve because his Viagra isn’t working.” And many other forms of speculation have been bandied about. All of them placing Trump very much where he likes to be, in the center of everything.

So perhaps his ambitions don’t extend to world domination? What if, instead, he’s just looking at being “President”. It is the ultimate position of power and respect for any person in the United States. And there, we hit upon what all of this might just be about - respect.

A Trump Presidency: Part I - The Dictator

Although in essays and proposals it is good form to end with your strongest argument, here we start with the worst vision. Let’s just get it out there and done. It is the vision that I proposed first in December 2015. I broke Godwin’s Law and put it out there. I called Trump a potential dictator, and now, he is in a position to lead this nation down that very dark and soul destroying path. This is how I see an attempt to move this country to fascism could unfold. There are three simultaneous groups of events that need to be executed; grab power, distract the masses, silence the opposition.

I. Grab power

The first moves will be subtle, even expected, perhaps lauded as progress. The rhetoric at this stage will be all convivial and conciliatory at the surface. Meanwhile, no mention will be made of civil unrest, except to blame the opposition while dismissing the actions of allies as - pranks, or defensive in nature.

Introduction to a Trump Presidency

The sun came up this morning. I was very relieved, but then I recalled that President Obama is still in the White House. Trump’s Presidency won’t start until January, 2017. That’s months away. And if I’m honest, as dismaying as the Election Night results were, the smart money is still on the sun.

But even though the sun was bright and the sky a brilliant blue the anxiety created by the thoughts of a Trump Presidency continued to drag me down. What would he do? Is he going to be as awful as he said he was going to be? How predictable and unpredictable is he going to be? Are the Russians really pulling his chain? So many uncomfortable questions.