In the last three years, watching President Trump's handling of his political base and, most importantly, political foes, one can't help but notice a unique pattern emerges behind his managing of critical issues — ranging from immigration, economy, to foreign affair.
The rest of the sideshows, like name-calling, declaring press the enemy, are merely enacted to padding pattern up.
A typical sequence follows the familiar pattern like this, first, take the policy position and ratchet it up to the level of insanity, and while things are settling back to normalcy, pick and choose the narrative either that can be declared as victory or use for political advantage. It could be that this roller coaster ride merely a byproduct of combative style. Whether or not it's the case, only working in Trump's favor and possibly getting him re-elected.
To full this kind of stunt, one has to be not just a political genius, and also a person with the ability to stun and distract like Magician. And all of us knew that President Trump had the propensity to self-declare himself as a genius. But watching him doing stuff both good and, most of the time, harmful to worst — makes you think of him from a distance fluttering his magical want, to enact any one of his carefully choreographed act.
Throughout his presidency, sitting in the driver seat, he is raising this everlasting deliberate dust cloud, only to have his opponents and critics squabbling over the orchestrated smock screen, and simultaneously having his team doing the bidding for 2020 reelection. And that handing only intensifies towards the tail end of his presidency in the rest of 2020.
His reelection bid had started, in earnest, even before Trump inaugurated for his first term in 2017.
Trump formula for getting elected first time, surprise win over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in 2016, involves tapping into a multitude source of energy: start with stocking Americans distaste for the financial and political ruling class and coalescing people felt disenfranchised -- including working and none educated whites, evangelical Christians. And then characteristically enlisting his then-personal profile as an outsider to help serve as a perfect antidote to the range of issues, from a culture of political correctness, swamp culture in DC, to uncontrolled immigration, and countless others hot button issues.
Finally, of course, as an outsider and running for any public office the first time, he needed some outside help to push him over to the finish line. Whether he liked this pronouncement or not, that was the case, and for the support received, he had to send a couple of thank you cards outside the united states - in many ways during his presidency, hoping you are catching my drift.
Looking to the future —
Having this alliance available, and most importantly, keeping them happy and marching in lockstep unity would be paramount importance for what is coming next — which is to avoid, at any cost, joining that one-timer president club.
Such mutual and transactional relationships with his political base have worked well for this President — not only line them up to support his agendas, and also help keep political foes at bay.
With the power of his highest office and administrative apparatus behind him, and not to mention his ability to fundraise, President was contended to make full use of his upgraded leverages. Had established a reelection team almost immediately after winning the presidency with the mandate to take over and morph establishment into Trump GOP.
Taking over GOP —
As a newcomer to the politics in 2016, without expected infrastructure and experienced team to work through the nomination process, he had a hard time securing the GOP nomination and accessing party resources, such as like voters database and fundraising support, required to win the general election.
With experience and lessons learned during the 2016 cycle, the Trump reelection campaign has started taking control of the party establishment at the local level, appointing loyal candidates in the post of the district and state party units.
As a result, Trump controlled the Republican party, a score of them announced that canceling customary nominations process and unanimously declaring Trump as a candidate. And, this party takeover campaign has, in part, helped him immensely in defeating any challenges from never Trump camper.
On the back of inherent incumbent strength, reelection campaign war chest is steadily pilling on and handily overtaking fundraising haul from any would-be opponent Democratic hopeful.
While the takeover campaign was set in full motion, then came the slew of policy initiatives and getting laws passed in the name of keeping his promises.
Keeping BASE HAPPY —
Immediately after assuming office, his administration started rolling back and relaxing regulations, anything considers as business hurting and unfavorable to conservative principles, in record numbers.
Having these success's in the back pocket, set his site on legacy-building initiatives, and the conservatives and faith community expectations were an immediate priority, such as the appointment of core conservative justices in the Supreme court and other lower-level courts. His administration has nominated, and senate approved in record numbers.
President scored big on that among his conservative and organized religious community.
Trump Economy —
But despite his failure in repealing Obama care, at the end of 2017, Trump has managed to pass a tax cut law to stimulate further an already a confident economy.
The result was immediately visible in the subsequent performance of corporate earning and GDP growth. Consumer confidence we're climbing, unemployment at an all-time low, and all the leading economic indicators and optimistic business sentiments were consistently pointing to a positive economic outlook for the future.
With the soaring and record-setting stock market, tight labor market with wage increase and low inflation, and healthy labor participation, Mr.Trump was getting ready for another battle that he promised, which is tackling excess from China. In 2018, what started as tariffs threat and rhetoric, quickly translate into a wave of tariffs and retaliatory tariffs, this has introduced a volatile eighteen months for the market and center bank, before settling down with phase one deal with China.
And closure to home, NAFTA, what was once a punching bag item was put into a makeover process and come out with an upgraded version in the new of USMCA, and just passed in the House of Congress at the year-end in 2019, and expected to be ratified in Senate sometime 2020.
Trump Immigration —
Start of the administration had to navigate a bunch of court battles over Trump hard-line immigration overhauls, amid fierce challenges from activist and right groups, rollout slew of policy changes; immigration ban on majority Muslim nations, slashing refugee intake, and sun-setting deferred deportation programs for south American countries, etc.
To his and core base delight, his administration won most of the ruling of the case, and his policy changes are pretty much in effect today.
And protecting the southern border, with a muscular impenetrable wall, was his signature campaign promises, to score on that has shown the willingness shut government for a record number of days and declare a national emergency to divert from other departments.
Even threaten Mexico with tariff, if they have not protected and stopped the flow of migrants from Central America, and in the end, effectively enlist the Mexican army in his fight against illegal immigration.
With his hard-line approach, Trump has done something that none of the previous presidents achieved with this country's southern neighbor.
Trump Foreign Policy —
With America First, insular, and inward-looking agendas, Mr. Trump has shown little interest in the importance and value the multilateral institutions like NATO and the United Nations.
In every chance, he never missed an opportunity to put a gloss on these systems perceived gaps and weakness in fulfilling expected mandates.
His frequent complaint was about relative contributions from other developed nations and the treatment of his nation's position on priority issues related to mainly Israel, Venezuela, etc. And, eventually, succeeded in getting those nations to cough-up more funding in recent years — another thing to brag about in that ruckus rally in 2020.
In 2017, the prediction was that the United States would engage in armed conflict with nuclear powered North Korea in the near future. After Trump threatened in his response, that North Korea would meet with fire and fury and face the attack like never seen before, for rough nations frequent missile test and heated rhetoric against the United States.
And, all this only to end with a couple of nuclear submit with Supreme leader Kim and even President Trump briefly crossed into North Korea from the demilitarized zone and first-ever sitting President to do so.
Long-distance bromance is continuing through letters and occasional praising from both sides; one can assume that any conflict with NK effectively postponed to 2021.
Democrats problem —
All of this is going to be a problem for the eventual nominee, especially when they are seems to be not settling on the policy path, improve what we have vs. complete overhaul with structural changes, their next leader to lead this country.
While comparing and contrasting with Trump track record, any position they take from here on — at best, it will look as impractical, and at worst, may look outright crazy and impossible.
This upcoming election is, irrespective of Democrats' ultimate nominee, an ideological battle between capitalism and Democratic socialism. Even existential issues like climate change will be twisted and framed in this competing notion of ideology.
BEWARE - Trump as a shrewd politician; he is creating and framing the problems in evermore accessible lights, for his own personal and political advantage.
And, the current system pretty much leaving us to our own devices, and demands diligence while taking it in and weeding out fact from fake, and expect us, in the interest of democracy, to make an informed opinion about our political discourse.