Trump Rule 5150: Deflect via Freak Out

King Trump

Donald Trump tweets most weekday mornings at 7 am (give or take a half hour) in an obvious attempt to direct the day’s news coverage. The over-the-top tweets create great controversy and drama, rallying his core. Similarly, his press conference was a live epic lambast moving from 140 characters to more than an hour of live ranting. These crazy communications deflect attention away from Trump’s real political problems.

Rarely about the actual work performed, bombastic posts and crazy media interactions embellish his accomplishments while often attacking the media corps. In turn, the media scrambles to disprove Trump, and defend themselves.

This misdirection keeps everyone off their game, and in many cases distracts journalists from focusing on core issues like the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. It is the Trump Administration’s favorite red herring. And it works every time.

Consider that Trump’s unhinged media conference on Thursday happened at an opportune time for the young Trump Administration. In the previous five days the young presidency suffered the following problems:

  • The loss of National Security Advisor Mike Flynn due to the growing Russia hack scandal.
  • Andrew Puzden’s failed Labor Secretary nomination.
  • Several additional embarrassing stories about the Trump White House and its staff’s behavior, including an unbelievable roasting by Saturday Night Live.

The ultimate live freak-out turned into a media spectacle, dominating every major news network and even causing conservative news source Fox News to rebuke Trump and his team. Being crazy worked again for Trump. Now everyone is focussed on the President’s mental health , the media, and how dysfunctional the White House has become in just one month.

What happened to the Russia story? Or the bad hires? Everyone I know has been talking about Trump’s crazy presser for the past few days. Mission accomplished!

Accomplishment 2: Solidify the Core

Trump’s mastery of public relations misdirection extends to his messaging. Part of attacking the media includes reinforcing messaging to the Trump core of right-wing extremists and conservatives. Over and over again, you hear the mnemonic telling of fake news, of the heroic people’s President Trump versus the dastardly enemy, the media.

Going back to this week’s presser, Trump’s core saw the ultimate beat down of self-righteous, snotty liberal journalists. Trump supporting Americans and their media outletsthink Trump did just fine, and that the liberal media got their just deserves.

Online, the battle continues. Right wing supporters parrot Trump’s anger, attacking the media and dissenting voices on social media as “snowflake libtards.” Arguments happen, likes occur, and as a result, combatants are rewarded for the attention by their brain: Dopamine is literally released.

As a result, entrenched opinions become firmer, and Trump’s core intensifies its support. He only needs a significant minority to keep his reelection hopes alive.

Not bad for a loco con man.

Acting “5150” in the face of facts benefits Trump. It distracts journalists and perhaps hurts their credibility, though increasingly these attacks help besieged media outlets with higher ratings.

Fighting Off the Crazy

How does one combat this kind of craziness? It takes some courage to go out on social media and state your views, but increasingly this seems to be the digital battlefield for Trump.

Twitter is where he wages his war on most days. Facebook and Twitter are where his core attacks the media and those of us who care to dissent. Thank God the Instagram post doesn’t lend itself as well to Trump’s message

I have decided to reply as much as possible to Trump’s Twitter rants, and contribute to his negative tonality ratings. Afterall, he is a ratings obsessed narcissist. Don’t think he isn’t aware how the conversation is faring online.

Yes, I get called a libtard snowflake, which is funny since I used to be a Republican voter before the Iraq war. Names are all the baby Trumpers have to throw, and it’s pretty easy to ignore, mute, or block them.

Those who are firmly set against Trump must demand accountability from the media and elected representatives. The media must be held a countable to the larger Trump story, which is corporate corruption, conflict of interest, election fraud, and empty promises. With elected officials, find ways to communicate with them, even when they refuse to answer their phones and cancel the town halls.

The Battle of Inches

Wage your battle publicly so it can be seen in peer networks. It is a battle of inches, and you don’t know when you will activate an acquaintance.

Generally, the battle of inches seems to be going the wrong way for Trump. His approval ratings are dropping ever so slowly and are now hovering at or below 40% (His Fox and Friends amigos say under 40%).

If Trump drops below the Mendoza Line (below 30% in political terms), you can expect cracks in the foundation to widen and the GOP to finally stop protecting him. Elected Republicans will feel safer rebuking and perhaps even removing Trump if they know their party base will permit it. This can happen, especially if Trump is unable to fulfill his job promises.

Until then, the burden of responsibility relies on the average citizen to actively support factual reporting, decent government behavior, and of course, resist. And persist.

Originally published on the Huffington Post.

U.S.A. and Russia: How Far We Have Come

I woke up early on Saturday morning and made my way into the city for a Russia-USA hockey game viewing hosted by the DC2024 bid. There I watched T.J. Oshie’s shootout heroics with about sixty people from the Russian embassy and local business executives.

It was a remarkable experience in every way.

The game was great, but so was this incredible scene. Here were Americans and Russians sitting side-by-side respectfully cheering for their teams.

See, I remember 1980 and why the U.S. hockey win over Russia was such a miracle. Not only did those college kids beat what was for all intents and purposes a pro Soviet team, but it happened in the midst of the cold war. We beat a bitter rival.

Things were not good between our countries. Brezhnev ruled the Soviet Union and Carter was in the midst of beating out Ted Kennedy in an unusually heated primary between an incumbent president and an intra-party rival. I was a second grader who spent the occasional emergency drill by my locker with my head between my knees, just in case a nuclear strike hit Philadelphia.

Back then they hosted the Winter and Summer games in the same year. Ironically, the 1980 version had the U.S. hosting the Winter Games in Lake Placid, and the Soviet Union hosting the Summer Games in Moscow. Jimmy Carter ordered the U.S. team to boycott the Summer Games, a protest against the Russian invasion of Afghanistan (These days that move feels like a pot calling the kettle black.).

It took another decade for the Berlin Wall to come down, and for the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union to occur. Until that time, the Soviet threat was very real throughout my tween and teen years. The Reagan years were full of saber rattling and fear as much as they were a time of triumph. The back and forth tension included the Soviet Union returning the boycott favor by refusing to appear at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.

So you see, winning the 1980 hockey game against the Soviets was not just a trivial match. It was a testimony to America’s fortitude and eventual triumph in the cold war.

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I read a few articles preceding the Sochi match between the historical rivals, most of them suggesting that the Miracle on Ice needs to lose prominence in the overall context. After sitting in a conference room on the 11th floor of a K Street building with many Russians wearing hockey jerseys and enjoying the game together, I have to agree.

It wasn’t the end result that mattered, really. In fact, Saturday’s win won’t matter outside of medal round seeding, and an extra game for the Russian team in these Olympics.

What mattered was the clapping, the clapping of both Russians and Americans at the conclusion of the second period, the third period, and overtime. We were united. This was great hockey, and we could enjoy it together.

How far we have come since 1980.

Featured image by the NHL.