• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every persons position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

Trump's 'Art of the Impossible'

donsutherland1

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
11,819
Reaction score
10,220
Location
New York
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Centrist
Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck once observed, “Policy is the art of the possible…” “Possible,” of course, implies constraints or limits based on truth, evidence, facts, etc. Reasonably-informed and competent voters, even as many gravitate toward ideological preferences, recognize that campaign promises have limits.

Yet, when it comes to Donald Trump, emotion appears to have overridden reason in the judgment process. That dynamic has transformed his supporters into a passionate army of followers. The intensity of their belief in Trump has, in turn, rendered Trump’s own rhetoric, extreme ideas, and criticism from his opponents ineffectual.

When Trump pledges to “make America great again” (putting aside the reality that there is no credible evidence that the U.S., today, is not a great nation politically, militarily, and economically), few ever raise the all-important question “How?” It’s that question that would usually kick off a more substantive policy examination. During that examination, costs, benefits, probabilities, and feasibility would figure in the decision-making process.

Instead, to date, Trump has evaded that kind of review. The overriding assumption among his followers is that his success is assured. That Congress will likely remain deeply divided, that some of Trump’s ideas would test national social and constitutional norms, and that he has shifted dramatically from liberal to conservative positions on various issues, all is irrelevant. Trump has transcended the kind of vetting process that typically tests Presidential candidates. His newfound “conservatism” is seen as authentic and deep-rooted. This is possible, because his followers, are deeply dissatisfied with some aspect of society, pessimistic about the country’s future, and perhaps even unhappy with aspects of their own lives. They crave easy answers and simple solutions. Trump promises just such a remedy. Therefore, they have suspended reason to buy completely into Trump’s simplistic message.

This outcome has surprised various conservative pundits. For example, when discussing Sarah Palin’s recent endorsement of Trump, conservative writer Amanda Carpenter wrote:

Obamacare? Sure, Trump says he wants to repeal it, but his plan only seems to involve more government. “I’m going to take care of everybody…the government’s gonna pay for it,” he has previously said…

So, again, what has Donald Trump done for Sarah Palin?”


Actually, nothing at all. Palin, herself, has long viewed the state of the nation as being bad and in decline. Trump’s rhetoric of making the nation “great again” promises the kind of rescue necessary to penetrate Palin’s gloomy perspective. The emotional appeal of that message, the desire for a different trajectory, and Trump’s narrative of his being a “super leader” led her to accept his message at face value without any kind of attention to his leadership capacity and his longstanding principles. She was “converted” so to speak.

In an interview with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the January 30, 2016 edition of The Wall Street Journal, that newspaper’s columnist, Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., wrote:

As we settle at a table at the bar in midtown Manhattan's London hotel, Mr. Gates, the freshly minted author of a management book, appears less than impressed with the greatest management book of all time (by its author's own estimate), "The Art of the Deal."

Donald Trump "brings the same skill set to leadership in the public sector that I would bring to the New York real-estate market," he says. "The skills don't transfer. When he talks about making other countries do things, it's just completely unrealistic."


“Unrealistic” is perhaps the word that most accurately captures the essence of what Trump is selling voters. However, at least for now, Trump is peddling “the impossible” with little meaningful scrutiny. To date, enough voters have been seduced by the bright lights of the spectacle that is the Trump campaign, to avoid their giving much thought to what actually is possible.

As a result, it is likely that Trump will prevail in Iowa tonight. Such success could strengthen his grip on New Hampshire. In the days ahead, Trump will do everything possible to persuade voters that his success is inevitable while continuing to try to delegitimize all those who stand in his way. He will seek to transform his early successes and polling advantages into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So long as a significant share of voters continues to fundamentally misread the nation’s actual state of affairs and so long as the Republican field remains highly fragmented with a vast population of weak candidates who continue to use their financial resources to do little more than create a side show that averts the start of a more genuine debate, Trump will be poised to push ahead.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom