Teri Kanefield @Teri_Kanefield Author, lawyer (UC Berkeley) My threads are here: terikanefield-blog.com/ NBC News Opinion contributor Impeachment notes: impeachment-trump.com/ Jul. 20, 2019 4 min read

(Thread) Trump’s Strategy is not Stupid

Spoiler: It’s cynical. But not stupid.

OK, it looks stupid: Trump is doubling down on the very issues that resulted in Democrats winning the House in 2018 & every Midwest race.⤵️

1/ Trump’s strategy until now has been to keep his base excited and his critics outraged.
(See👇 )

I'll argue here that if he tries to move to the center—if he tries to moderate his views and tamp down the hateful rhetoric—he’ll lose more than he’ll gain.

2/ Trump’s disapproval has been over 50% for the past two years. See:  https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/?ex_cid=rrpromo 

People who've spent two years shocked and outraged won't suddenly become Trump supporters if he suddenly stops insulting people and stops fascist-style chants.

3/ If he tries to compete as a normal statesman in the 2020 election, he'll lose because he’s up against candidates who ARE normal.

Nobody would believe him if he tried to act like a normal candidate, and his fans would stop seeing him as "genuine."

4/ His fans love that he’s a rule breaker and norm breaker.

If he stopped outrageously defying rules, they'd feel disappointed. The excitement level at his rallies would drop.

He can't do both: He can't appeal to moderates and stir his base to euphoria and rage.

5/ Keeping his base excited by means of polarizing tactics guarantees him control of the GOP, and this gives him a lot of power.

He may have only 42% approval overall⤵️ but he has an iron grip on the GOP.
The GOP controls the Senate and lots of states.

6/ If he loses his grip on the GOP, he'll get primaried, and will lose all his power.

This means things will get a lot worse. Expect lots more:
💠rule and norm breaking,
💠fascist-style chanting at his rallies,
💠cruel policies, etc.

7/ We must prepare ourselves so we can keep our wits.
People who are spinning with outrage, can't focus.

That’s partly why he needs to keep you outraged. It makes you a less effective adversary. Plus your outrage feeds the excitement at his rallies. It's a self-feeding loop.

8/ If you think Trump will win in 2020 through election fraud and flipping votes, you’re still thinking with a twentieth century brain.

It is easier to steal an election Putin style: by undermining truth and wearing people out. It’s the more modern and efficient way.

9/ Of course there will be election fraud in 2020.

But—as in 2018—a Democratic win of more than 8 points will be enough to offset the inevitable cheating . . . IF enough people are active and involved.

For what you can do, see:  https://terikanefield-blog.com/things-to-do/ 

10/ Trump’s easiest path to victory is to get everyone confused. Undermine truth. Keep the fighters fighting.

By attacking Omar, Trump is cynically calculating that enough people secretly distrust and fear Muslims so they'll prefer him.

11/ He also figures (rightly, I think) that it would be easier to undermine confidence in the Democrats through hate-mongering, than to gain votes by moving to the center.

From @TimothyDSnyder, a Putin methods is to persuade people that all politicians are liars and cheaters.

12/ “Yes I lie and cheat,” Putin basically says, “but Western Democracy is worse. You’re better off with me than with enemy liars.”

It's cynical, but effective.

If enough people believe the Dems are as bad as the GOP, they won't vote. Why bother? It won't matter who wins.

13/ Expect to see even more creative lies in the general election. Trump is good at creating compelling fiction.

With modern technology, doctored videos can be breathtakingly realistic and believable.

The Internet allows for lies to be rapidly disseminated.

14/ Another advantage to keeping his base fired up: They'll help spread his lies.

Make no mistake: Most of them know he’s lying. See my Slate article⤵️
There are some true believers who believe whatever Fox tells them. Most of them understand the game.

15/ They know that the lies are destructive, and they want to destroy.

That's why I say Trump has a better chance if he continues with the polarizing, fascist style, fear-mongering tactics— even though they caused the GOP to lose in 2018.

16/ This way, at least he has a chance to win—particularly with built-in electoral advantages.

As I was writing this thread, this popped up in my feed⤵️

Are you ready for things to get worse?


Given the Democratic win in 2018, we have reason to hope.

Also, think how much better we understand his tactics — and Russian tactics — than we did in 2016. The best way to prepare is to understand what's coming.

Thanks @lunagirl2016

How about these unvarnished truths:

People spreading doom and undermining confidence (It's all over! Democracy is dead!) are helping Trump and Putin.

People pitting Democrats against each other are helping Trump.

This is a fair criticism.

I can't possibly know what percentage are duped, and what percentage are the dupers (I guess "duper" is now a word).

I should have been lawyerly (avoid absolutes) and said, "many" instead of "most." 😉

I just grabbed my dictionary. It's definitely a word. I thought I was making it up. Well, it's early here in California.

As long as I keep adding chat to the thread, I want to thank you all for your comments, your gifs, your "likes," your support — and for telling me when I'm wrong! I count on you all! That way my threads get better, and I can say "duper" with confidence.

All my threads are also blog posts. You can read this one here:  https://terikanefield-blog.com/trumps-strategy-is-not-stupid/ 

You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.


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