Prior to President Trump’s inauguration, I predicted a coming story arc in three acts. Act one involved mass protests in the streets because Hillary Clinton’s campaign had successfully branded Trump as the next Hitler. Sure enough, we saw mass protests by anti-Trumpers who legitimately and honestly believed the country had just elected the next Hitler. I predicted that the Hitler phase would evaporate by summer for lack of supporting evidence. That happened.
I also predicted the anti-Trumpers would modify their attack from “Hitler” to “incompetent,” and that phase would last the summer. That happened too. The president’s critics called him incompetent and said the White House was in “chaos.” There were plenty of leaks, fake news, and even true stories to support that narrative, as I expected. Every anti-Trump news outlet, and even some that supported him started using “chaos” to describe the situation.
Now comes the fun part.
I predicted that the end of this three-part story would involve President Trump’s critics complaining that indeed he was “effective, but we don’t like it.” Or words to that effect. I based that prediction on the assumption he would get some big wins by the end of the year and it would no longer make sense to question his effectiveness, only his policy choices.
How does the anti-Trump media gracefully pivot from “chaos and incompetence” to a story of “effective, but we don’t like it”? They need an external event to justify the turn. They need a visible sign of the White House moving from rookie status to professional status.
They need General John Kelly to replace Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff.
Watch in awe as the anti-Trump coverage grudgingly admits things are starting to look more professional and “disciplined” at the White House. And as the president’s accomplishments start to mount up, you will see his critics’ grudging acceptance of his effectiveness, but not his policy choices. We’re entering that phase now with the help of a new Chief of Staff that even the mainstream media can’t hate. Generals command respect from both sides of the government because they have fought for both sides. No one forgets that.
Expect to see lots of stories about General Kelly bringing efficiency and effectiveness to the White House. Reporters and pundits don’t want to criticize a four-star general who fought for them. At best, expect the anti-Trumpers to say the Chief of Staff is calling the shots, not the President. That’s the predictable fake news attack. But I don’t think it will stick through the end of the year.
By year-end, expect “Effective, but we don’t like it.”
Now for some related fun. I have often said Trump supporters and anti-Trumpers are in the same movie theater but watching different movies on the same screen. You’ve seen lots of evidence of that, but I’m going to give you an experiment you can try at home. It might blow your mind.
1. Identify your most lefty, Trump-hating friend or family member.
2. Share this link of President Trump’s accomplishments while you are in the same room so you can watch them read it.
3. Watch as your lefty friend turns “cognitively blind” to the list of accomplishments as if it is not really there. Your subject will KNOW President has accomplished nothing, and all of his or her friends know it, and the television channels they watch know it. So how-the-hell could there be in existence an extensive list of legitimate accomplishments that make perfect sense and can easily be verified?
The only way that list of accomplishments can exist in your anti-Trumper’s world is if the anti-Trumper has been in a hallucination for months, duped by the media and everyone they love. The existence of the list of accomplishments will form a crack in their reality. It simply can’t exist. That’s the trigger for cognitive blindness. The list will simply be “invisible,” but not in the literal sense, only the mental sense. If you check back in two days, your anti-Trumper will claim once again no such list exists. Watch their eyes when they say it. It will be freaky.
Some anti-Trumpers will pick any one or two items from the list, argue that they are not good for the country, and use it as an excuse to see the rest of the list as nonsense. Some will simply tell you Trump has shepherded no “major legislation” through Congress, which is true. It is also true that he intentionally waited for Congress (and Obamacare) to fail hard before he got serious. The harder they fail, and the more dire the situation, the more power the president will have to push creative solutions on a weakened Congress. Keep in mind that President Trump is a predator when it comes to deal-making. He would have been an idiot to enter the fight hard and early when Congress was at full credibility and strength. That gets you nothing but a committee-made crap-law that may or may not have your name on it. By waiting, he accumulates leverage and widens his options. That’s how I would have played it. I would wait for the lobbyists, Congress, and my critics to punch themselves out before I involved the public and put together a plan to shove down Congress’ useless throats with the help of social media.
I think the President would have been modestly happy with some kind of “skinny” win on healthcare. It would have been good for momentum. But he’ll be much happier with a real health care solution that takes advantage of innovation. (Our constipated Congress ignored innovative solutions, as far as I can tell.)
Frankly, I don’t know how much the world really needs tax reform or infrastructure spending. The stock market doesn’t seem to move on the news of either thing becoming more or less likely as we go. My prediction is that President Trump’s reelection chances (should he run again) will depend mostly on what happens with health care. If President Trump gets that right, on top of the things already going well, Mt. Rushmore could get crowded.
You might enjoy reading my book because you might want to have some accomplishments of your own.
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