I’m continually amazed at the legions of politicos, pundits and so-called 'experts' who don’t understand President Trump or how he conducts policy.
These elites have a mental model of how a president is supposed to behave and how the policymaking process is supposed to be carried out. Obviously, Trump does not fit their model.
Instead of trying to grasp the model that Trump does use, they continually berate and disparage Trump for not living up to their expectations. A more thoughtful group would say, “Well, he’s different, so why don’t we try to understand the differences and analyze the new model?”
Really, these people need to get out of Washington, New York and Hollywood more and get away from their screens. If they knew more everyday Americans, they would come a lot closer to understanding how Trump gets things done.
It’s not chaos; it’s just a little different and more down to earth.
This is because of Trump’s “art of the deal” style described in his best-selling book by that name. Bush 43 and Obama were totally process-driven. You could see events coming a mile away as they wound their way through the West Wing and Capitol Hill deliberative processes.
All you had to do was understand the process and you could forecast big developments in a relatively straightforward way.
With Trump, there is a process, but it does not adhere to a timeline or existing template. Trump seems to be the only process participant most of the time.
Here’s the Trump process:
Identify a big goal (tax cuts, balanced trade, the wall, etc.).
Identify your leverage points versus anyone who stands in your way (elections, tariffs, jobs, etc.).
Announce some extreme threat against your opponent that uses your leverage.
If the opponent backs down, mitigate the threat, declare victory and go home with a win.
If the opponent fires back, double down. If Trump declares tariffs on $50 billion of good from China,and China shoots back with tariffs on $50 billion of goods from the U.S., Trump doubles down with tariffs on $100 billion of goods, etc. Trump will keep escalating until he wins.
Eventually, the escalation process can lead to negotiations with at least the perception of a victory for Trump (North Korea) — even if the victory is more visual than real.
No one else in Washington thinks this way. Washington insiders try to avoid confrontation, avoid escalation, compromise from the beginning and finesse their way through any policy process.
Trump is in a league of his own. What amazes me is that the media still do not understand his style...