President Trump’s ‘Xanatos Gambit’ Government Shutdown

Welcome to day twenty eight day of the U.S. Federal government shutdown.

Normally “Federal Government shut downs” are a game of “chicken” where Congressional (usually GOP) and Executive Branch (usually Democrat) politicians are playing a game of virtue signaling to their political base until the accumulated  toxic waste of bad media and public protest let the Congress “compromise” on spending more money with limited blow back in their next partisan primary.

This time is very different, and it’s far more than just a matter of political parties changing sides in government.

President Trump is working to a “Xanatos Gambit” political-media strategy tree that looks whole lot like his 2015 GOP primary campaign from June 16, 2015 to week of December 2-8, 2015.  Where he ran a high energy offensive political campaign of “free media by outrageous statements” that sucked all the political air time out of his GOP opponent’s political campaigns and established his ‘billionaire who cares more for the common man than D.C. politicians‘ street cred’ via populist anti-open borders immigration positions of protecting American citizens from illegal immigrant Mexican criminals and Muslim terrorists.

President Trump’s “Big  Macs served at the White House” and grounding Speaker Pelosi’s Congressional Junkets on military transports during a government shut down over funding “The Wall” are both very much in that “Xanatos Gambit” frame work.  President Trump is staying on the offensive so House Democrats and the media cannot “get off a shot” over the Government shut down.  While at the same time defining the Democrats as being only interested in the perks of government power and not the public good they are supposed to serve.
This is a decision diagram example of a “Xanatos Gambit. Source:


For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a ‘Xanatos Gambit’ is a plan for which all foreseeable outcomes benefit the creator — including ones that superficially appear to be failure.  Such was the case when then Candidate Trump brought up — in the aftermath of the Nov. 14, 2015 Bataclan concert hall terrorist massacre on in Paris — the fact he remembered seeing that ‘thousands’ of Muslims in Paterson, New Jersey were seen celebrating the 9/11/2001 terrorist attack.

Candidate Trump was immediately attacked as a liar by the media saying that no such thing happened.  This went on for several days.  Then this video surfaced:


Sunday Sept. 16, 2001 CBS Report by Pablo Guzman on 9/11 Celebration in Jersey City

The reaction of the main stream media to the Guzman video generally followed this line:

Claim That Video Backs Donald Trump’s Assertion of Mass 9/11 Celebrations Is Debunked

…but the bottom line was that Candidate Trump’s ‘Street Cred’ and political brand as the “Anti-Political Correctness” presidential candidate were burnished and the media’s credibility was further damaged.


Does anyone really doubt for a single minute that Candidate for President Trump had -a lot- of copies of that Guzman video in his back pocket, ready to be surfaced by his media cut outs,  before he mentioned the Paterson 9/11/2001 Muslim celebration?

And that his planning for it may have pre-dated his announcement of his candidacy?

I’ll point out that this kerfuffle came very shortly before the December 2, 2015, Muslim terrorist massacre at the Inland Regional Center Christmas party in San Bernardino, California that gunned down 36, killing 14.

Trump’s Xanatos Gambit set up with the Guzman video certainly paid off for his GOP campaign for Presidential nomination during the San Bernardino terrorist attack.  Trump closed the deal with the American GOP primary voters in the week of December 2-8, 2015 because he was the ONLY American leader to state the bleeding obvious, that San Bernardino was Muslim Terrorism, and that we need to suspend Muslim immigration while devising more effective ways to keep out terrorist immigrants.

Trump moved out to a commanding lead in the GOP primaries that led to his eventual GOP Presidential nomination in Cleveland.

Before you scoff again that there was no way Candidate Trump could know ahead of time there would be several Muslim terrorist attacks inside the USA in 2015 and 2016, I’m going to point you to a former 15-year Homeland Security whistle blower named Philip Haney.  He appeared on December 10, 2015 in an interview with then Fox New media star Megan Kelly.


Philip Haney told Megyn Kelly that as part of his investigation, he was looking into a collection of global networks that were infiltrating radical Islamists into the U.S.

But a year into the investigation, Haney said they got a visit from the State Department and the Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, who said that tracking these groups was problematic because they were Islamic.

Haney’s investigation was shut down and 67 of his records were deleted, including one into an organization with ties to the mosque in Riverside, Calif., that San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook attended. Those deleted files included information on an organization with ties to Farook’s mosque, San Bernardino’s Deobandi movement-affiliated Dar-al-Uloom al-Islamia.

And Farook’s wife and accomplice, Tashfeen Malik, went to school at Pakistan’s al-Huda, which also has ties to the Deobandi movement.

Philip Haney retired from Homeland Security in July 2015 and he was shopping a story that later became the book See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad .  All based on his whistle blowing experiences during the Obama Administration, investigative reports of which were published in Homeland Security Inspector General reports before Donald Trump announced his presidential candidacy in June 2015.  This is why Fox News and were able to put Haney on-air and on-line so quickly on Dec 10-11 2015.  And why THE HILL posted an op-ed by Haney on December 16th 2015.

Given that Donald Trump’s political opposition research would have told him Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State at the time Harney was whistle blowing about, and the Obama Administration domestic surveillance black out of “known wolf” potential Muslim terrorists was years old, Candidate Trump was playing by “Gambling Casino House Rules” with the Muslim terrorism — one of the perfect examples of the Xanatos Gambit in real life.

Philip Harney’s information on America’s intelligence black out of “Known Wolf” Muslim terrorist suspects made the American Mainstream Media and American political establishment’s bet against domestic Muslim Terrorist mass casualty attacks from November 2015 onward like a bet against a Casino by “House Rules.” It was a political bet that was doomed to lose given enough time, as both the November 2015 San Bernardino attack and the June 2016 ISIS Ramadan Massacre at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando by OMAR MIR SEDDIQUE MATEEN made clear.


While I don’t know how long this current round of Federal government shutdown will last.  I did know back in August 2018 that a long one was coming after the November 2018 mid-term elections.  The reason why was President Trump caved on everything — including funding his wall — to get the first Defense Department appropriations bill passed and signed in more than a decade.  More than that, it was the earliest that a DoD appropriations bill was passed in 40 years.

This means the previous two to four week — one to two federal pay periods — time limit regards paying the American military is off the table in this Federal Government shut down, as the troops are paid through 30 September 2019.  And unlike past Presidents, Donald Trump is managing this shut down to minimize the pain to the public and maximize it for the D.C. political elites.

For example, Junketing is the Congressional leadership’s biggest and highest status perk.  It is often used by Chairmen and senior party leaders as a way to buy a difficult House or Senate votes against the local interests of representatives and senators.  President Trump — in the most visible and publicly humiliating  a way possible — took away from the Speaker of the House her ability to junket at federal government expense.  And he did it in a way that highlighted Democrats unwillingness to stop the decades long open border illegal immigration crisis that propelled Donald Trump into office.

Twitter Snap shot of cancelled Congressional junket luggage via Instapundit
Twitter Snap shot of cancelled Congressional junket luggage via Instapundit

It gets worse for the permanent party of government.  While civil servants covered by the Defense Department appropriations bill are getting paid. None of the other civil servants are.  This means many Federal government unions and non-government organizations dependent on Federal appropriations or funding grants are cut off.  All of the people in this list are major sources of funding for the Democratic Party either directly or through warehousing of election year political operative talent inside government in the “off-season.”

This is “10% of government not working” you hear about in the newscasts.

The horrid news gets worse, from the Democrat Party point of view, because the ability of the Democrat dominated Federal government permanent bureaucracy to do rule making is frozen for the duration of the shut down. No new rule can be added, nor future rule can be published for comment, to the Federal Register.  The longer the shut down goes on, the lower the cost of compliance of Federal rule making mandates to the private sector, state and local governments.

For the Democrat Party this is a highly dangerous development…and it is going from “horrid” to “horrific.”

President Trump may well use a federal employment furlough rules, if the government shut down lasts more than a month, to get rid the Federal government of Obama Administration Senior Executive Service (SES) permanent bureaucrats.  See:

Trump Puts Schumer and Pelosi in a Brilliant Vise Grip

“… A high-ranking Trump administration official wrote four days ago in the Daily Caller that the shutdown enables Trump to get rid of people like this.  As members of the Senior Executive Service, many of them can’t be fired unless they’re convicted of a felony, or of committing some flagrant misconduct.


This is indeed Trump’s chance to “smoke out the Resistance,” but he must do it carefully.  Thomas Lifson has published two columns in the American Thinker, here and here, explaining that SES employees cannot be furloughed (laid off) under normal circumstances, but they can be removed during a Reduction in Force (RIF) when their positions are found to be unnecessary.


… As Lifson explains, and Michael Roberts explains at The Balance Careers here, on Day 30 of the shutdown, a clause is triggered in these federal employment contracts that enables RIF.  The Office of Personnel Management oversees the RIF process.”

While the OMB has come out this week saying that civil servants won’t be RIFed without a reorganization plan if the furlough lasts more than 30-days…the S.E.S. are not general series civil servants.  There are very few of them and they are concentrated in Washington D.C.  And Obama Administration S.E.S. “embeds” generally are the lowest seniority and least likely to have a military service veteran preference in the event of a “administrative reorganization” aimed at the S.E.S. during the shutdown.

As Thomas Lifeson writing at the American Thinker put it —

Of course, there would be a dispute on when the clock starts ticking on the 30 days – with the original  “shutdown furlough” or from the date of the hypothetical downsizing plan I mention.  If the latter – a delayed start of the clock ticking – then the pressure on the Democrats to cave in and end the shutdown would amp up.  Imagine if Schumer and Pelosi started hearing from federal bureaucrats waiting to be RIFed if another 30 days go by.  Would they be willing to say to them that it’s more important to have no border barriers than for their jobs to be preserved?  They would have a time bomb of layoffs of government employees, a huge Democrat constituency, affecting many individual members of the House with large numbers of federal employee constituents.  I can imagine quite a few House Democrats bolting from Pelosi if she persists in the shutdown, refusing to talk or compromise.


If this plan is followed and a downsizing proposal is officially revealed, Trump either gets an end to the shutdown or gets to downsize the federal bureaucracy.

A Trump Administration announcement of a preexisting administrative downsizing proposal affecting large swaths of the currently unfunded S.E.S. level Federal bureaucracy that comes Tuesday January 22nd 2019, the first “working day” after the 30-day furlough mark has passed would certainly confirm a “Xanatos Gambit Strategy In-Progress.


Now, I personally doubt this “Furlough R.I.F. Trap” will come to pass. But it is a good example of the many sorts of things you need to be on the look out for with President Trump during his “Xanatos Gambit Federal Government Shutdown” political offensive.

The bottom line here for the length of the Federal Government shutdown is that Senate Minority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi are facing a major insurgency from the far left of their party, which will not brook any funding for the Wall.  This is a “Game of Thrones head on a pike” identity issue for those far left Democrat politicians and activists. One which may result in the ouster of Schumer and Pelosi as Congressional leaders if they cave to Pres. Trump

And President Trump can last until 30 September 2019 — letting Democrats figure out which of their interest groups must be sacrificed in public to maintain Schumer and Pelosi’s political power —  because that date is the outside limit for the “Xanatos Gambit Federal Government Shutdown.”




David Xanatos, the Disney cartoon character that spawned the "Xanatos Gambit" TV Trope. He was very loosely based on Donald Trump.
David Xanatos, the Disney cartoon character from the early 1990’s series Gargoyles that spawned the “Xanatos Gambit” TV Trope. Voiced by Star Trek actor Jonathan Frakes, he was very loosely based on Donald Trump.

50 thoughts on “President Trump’s ‘Xanatos Gambit’ Government Shutdown”

  1. There’s a word that I have been saving for an appropriate moment for more than 50 years – Trump is preternatural.

    beyond what is normal or natural.

    synonyms: extraordinary, out of the ordinary, exceptional, unusual, uncommon, rare, singular, signal, peculiar, unprecedented, outstanding, remarkable, phenomenal, abnormal, anomalous, inexplicable, unaccountable

  2. I have also read that the 9th Circuit stopped Democrat interest in negotiating by ruling DACA cascades could not be deported. The decision was appealed to the USSC but there were only 8 members and the Court tied 4 to 4 leaving the lower court ruling intact, The 9 member Court is scheduled to hear the case again in two weeks.

  3. Really astute and cool expose. I would submit to you that Trump is like a shaolin priest in that I don’t believe he has to think his move through like a chess master. I contend his moves are instinctual by now.

  4. Autocorrect is driving me nuts,

    ruling DACA cascades

    I have a new MacBook Air and that keyboard, which is slightly different from my old one, plus autocorrect, are giving me fits.

  5. I don’t think Trump has these bits of evidence in his back pocket, waiting to spring them when challenged. He knows things by instinct and sometimes he’s right, other times he is right in spirit if wrong on the details, and sometimes just wrong. He had heard stories about thousands of people cheering, believed them, and remembered.

    He’s not playing 3D chess. He’s not stupid by any means, but this is not strategy. It’s instinct, and he’s better at it than his opponents.

  6. One other factor in President Trump’s Xanatos Gambit — his opposition (Democrats, Media, Institutional Republicans) are mostly old, generally not smart, out of ideas, and have been playing this game for a long time. Democrats know how Institutional Republicans always act, and they cannot think out of the box when the President does not stick to the Institutional Republican script of backing down & apologizing. The Media take their instructions from the Democrats, which again leaves them stuck with the same tired old predictable playbook. In Col. Boyd’s terms, the President is inside his opposition’s OODA loop.

  7. what Gavin said.

    with the (sad) proviso that when DJT is gone, we’re probably back to the same old game.

    Nobody in DC seems to understand tit-for-tat game theory … (sigh)

  8. I would submit to you that Trump is like a shaolin priest
    Now I need to see a Trumpified scene from Kung Fu or one of the classic Chinese movies.

  9. I remember watching an interview with Reince Priebus just after he left the White House COS job. First he said he had always been the hardest worker in any job he held but that President Trump vastly out worked him.
    Second he said President Trump was the most strategic thinker he had ever met. He said Trump never acts before he has planned four or five moves ahead.
    Interesting article you posted. Thank you.

  10. Am I think only one with trouble on this site saving my name and email? Every time I post I have to re-input it, or go as “anonymous”.

    I have also heard that Trump has the option of declaring the border a national emergency, and simply finding the money and doing it. In which case the Democrats will take it to court and most likely prevail to the appellate level – then the Supreme Count, who knows?

    I read that 80% of these furloughed people are Democrats.

    I don’t think we have had a President like Trump before, and many don’t know how to respond. A “normal” Republican President would have simply abandoned the idea of a wall, or caved early with a shutdown (which to most Americans, life goes on with our without).

  11. Am I think only one with trouble on this site saving my name and email?
    Your browser is probably cleaning them out for you. Depending on your browser and its implementation, any sort of tracking/privacy settings may or may not clear any input fields – when you revisit at a later point (like after closing your browser) or when you refresh the page.

  12. Thanks GWB. Is the Safari browser on the iPhone and to my knowledge there’s no way you can set it for that but I’ll look into it

  13. Assistant Village Idiot,

    Exhibit A of Donald Trump’s long term planning was seen on a his three-day state visit to China with the performance of his granddaughter Arabella Kushner. For background, Pres. Xi’s wife Peng Liyuan was a famous Chinese folk singer before she married Pres. Xi.

    See the you tube title & link below —

    “Donald Trump’s granddaughter Arabella Kushner singing in Mandarin and reciting a part of the Three-Character Classic and ancient Chinese poems.
    Trump is on a three-day state visit to China. Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan”

    To say the Chinese were impressed is to understate the matter.

    It full on cultural “Shock and Awe.”

  14. Gavin Longmuir,

    What you are running into with the Democrat/Left is what a friend of mine termed the “Nutball Regime Hypothesis.”

    Irrational regimes or political factions become more so under pressure as the internal power games of “I’m more nutball than thou” take over.

    The need to show ideological purity and resolve — “virtue signaling” in modern terms — as a means of achieving power inside the ruling in-group becomes more important than objective reality. As outside reality is merely a symbol to be used in the internal power game.

    This happens because expressed militancy in an irrational political system is taken as a sign you are a better & more deserving leader.

    It is a very useful social-political model for looking at Islamic militants and the Western Left’s Elites now, and on a historical basis with Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and the Chaco Wars that wiped out the male population of Paraguay in the 19th century.

    Pres Trump is utterly outside the Left’s frame of reference and he is well educated in their symbols.

    This has a lot of implications for the near future, as the Left’s reactions Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Accords and now the Government Shutdown/Wall show.

  15. Assistant Village Idiot,

    Regards this comment —

    >>He knows things by instinct and sometimes he’s right, other
    >>times he is right in spirit if wrong on the details, and
    >>sometimes just wrong. He had heard stories about thousands
    >>of people cheering, believed them, and remembered.
    >>He’s not playing 3D chess. He’s not stupid by any means, but
    >>this is not strategy. It’s instinct, and he’s better at it
    >>than his opponents.

    You need to go read this TV trope.

    Xanatos Speed Chess

  16. Assistant Village Idiot,

    Here is exhibit B of Pres Trump’s “Xanatos Gambit” strategy trees in action with regard to the American Economy.

    The expansion of the energy sector in the USA rewards non-college educated and STEM college educated in rural areas at the expense of the non-STEM college educated elites in cities.

    The political outcome of that rewards Trump voters economically and encourages their family formation in places with cheap housing prices.

    Places like Texas grow and places like California stagnate

    This is why you see Dem politicos in NY State, Maryland and California pass fracking bans. Working and middle class family formation in their rural area are against their electoral interests. More illegal immigration and white single women with children are the Democrats path to power.

    Pres Trump’s growing the energy sector with a border wall and immigration law enforcement moves the underlying American demographic ground under the Democrat’s feet and against Leftist power.

    The effects down ballot of that demographic trend — AKA the surest way to turn reliable single white female Dem voter into a GOP one is to get married and have kids — will be a horror show for Democrats.

    The ability of the GOP to control both the Federal census and redistricting in 35(+) states, with a firm five-to-six judge conservative majority on the Supreme Court to ratify them, will make Democrats structurally a regional minority party for a decade.

  17. Roy Lofquist,

    I wrote the following to one of my e-mail lists in April 2017 regards President Trump’s integration of foreign, defense and economic policy in dealing with North Korea.

    President Trump is very much the “Man with a plan.”

    President Trump is the most intensely American –National Security– President since Ronald Reagan.

    I am seeing the implementation of the Reagan-Bill Casey strategy of low oil prices (via support of domestic Fracking on Federal lands), disinformation aimed at American enemies and a stronger defense budget to exhaust the Russians and the Saudi/Opec Oil ticks.

    I am also seeing the George W. Bush Axis of Evil regime elimination policy with two diplomatic demarcates laid out for North Korea and Iran, in that order.

    The current Trump diplomacy offensive with VP Pence and Sec Def Mattis parallels the George H. W. Bush preparations prior to Desert Storm.

    It now looks like the National Security Adviser kerfuffle between Flynn and Mac Master was an argument over whether Iran or North Korea would be the first target.

    Flynn — Iran First

    Mac Master — North Korea First

    Domestic energy wise, the REAL CLEAR ENERGY web site has posted articles that fracking was approved for and is now being done on existing Alaskan oil leases. The US is now exporting liquefied natural gas in such volumes that there is now a hedge market for shipments world wide.

    This absolutely kills the Russian energy position in Europe, as US LNG is price competitive and has a very low “political instability cost premium.”

    My read is that Trump chose Pence as an ambassador and mouth piece to both the American and foreign establishment’s a’la VP George H.W. Bush, but without H.W. Bush’s national security portfolio. As Pres. Trump is his own national security consigliere.

    This is reflected administratively, as the National Security Council has been streamlined from a ponderous policy making body under Dubya and Obama into a very small operational outfit similar to the one in Reagan’s first term.

    Trump is pursuing a two tract regime change strategy WRT North Korea.

    1. Buying a Regime Change from China without giving up Taiwan

    2. Regime Change through superior firepower.

    The first route is the preferred one as it will keep the Nork WMD genie in the bottle and out of Seoul.

    The second route is a comprehensive non-nuclear pre-emptive first strike on Nork WMD sites/delivery systems and destruction of the Nork railway system. This would be combined with a concentration of Aegis ATBM capable surface combatants and carrier air power to mitigate the second strike by Dictator Un’s Regime Security forces.

    The second route would see the collapse of the North Korean state as mountain railway tunnels and bridges are hideously vulnerable to precision munition attacks and the Nork Regime is utterly hollowed out by corruption.

    Doubly so as the Nork rail system is all electrical, and 1991 era Tomahawk anti-electrical transformer graphite wire can do the same to overhead rail power lines.

    Additionally, a large number of both JDAM and Tomahawk missile warheads would be of the “E-Bomb” variety with high power microwave or non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse which would go with the graphite wire munitions. AKA once the rails go down, they would stay down. As nightly reseeding of rail line with graphite wire plus the burning out of DC power transformers necessary for the trains to move (via e-bomb) would exceed Nork ability to repair the rail lines.

    No rails = no food for the Regime Security forces.

    AKA the Lando Calrissian line from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK — “The Empire has arrived at the Facility. It is time to activate your escape plans.”

    Whether route 1. or 2. is chosen, we are going to see a huge American military build up off North Korea and a months long series of provocative American military exercises to wear down Nork watchfulness a’la the Egyptians Suez Canal crossing and the Israelis prior to the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

    This would also be useful setting up a Chinese regime change or an American one.

    The cost of route two is an argument for the Chinese going route one, as a Nork 2nd strike could leave pools of Sarin gas in low lying areas of Seoul and several 20 KT divots in South Korea, Okinawa, Japan, and Guam — And more important for the Chinese — 3-to-5 million North Korean refugees in Manchuria for the next 10(+) years.

  18. Assistant Village Idiot,

    Here is ‘Exhibit C’ of President Trump’s “Xanatos Gambit” strategy trees in action via the following from a Chicagoboyz fracking post I wrote back in May 2016 —


    Whether America elects another Democrat or a Republican in Nov. 2016, the reality is that America is set to move through energy independence to being a world energy supplier in a five-to-10-year time frame. This will utterly change America’s foreign policy & national security relations. Energy independence via the Oil & Gas Fracking Revolution gives future American leaders huge opportunities to be a “normal” national leaders in the historical, pre-WW2 American trade barriers, political isolationist, and American-unilateral-military-action-only-in-Latin-America senses.

    Rather than having to be the “Guardian of the Arabian Gulf” to insure the energy supply to the USA & Europe, America will be a direct energy export competitor with Russia, Iran and the Gulf Arabs.

    Further, America will be stronger economically and militarily. American discretionary military power will rise as it is no longer pinned so heavily to the Mid-East. This will make Russia, China and North Korea as unhappy — albeit for different reasons — as Saudi Arabia.

    In short, rather than being an international globalist, an energy independent or exporting America means American presidents can put American interests first.

    If that sounded like a Trump political commercial for his foreign policy speech, please consider the following circumstantial evidence that Trump has been aware of the extended fracking technology for some time.

    o Datum — The Bush clan hates Trump and won’t endorse him. The Bush clan are the premiere patrons of the Saudis inside the GOP.

    o Datum — The Bush clan has openly broken with Dick Cheney. See what Pres George H.W. Bush’s book said with regard to Cheney.

    o Datum — Dick Cheney — Mr. Halliburton — has endorsed Trump.

    o Datum — Trump began his anti-Muslim remarks Nov 21, 2015 shortly after the Paris terrorist attacks by bringing up the Muslim celebrations of 9/11/2001 in Patterson, N.J. This was also shortly after Halliburton began its major frack-log drilling plays. Halliburton is one of the biggest if not the biggest player in frack-log drilling.

    And now look at what Trump said in his speech here, and fully at the link below —

    “We will spend what we need to rebuild our military. It is the cheapest investment we can make. We will develop, build and purchase the best equipment known to mankind. Our military dominance must be unquestioned.

    But we will look for savings and spend our money wisely. In this time of mounting debt, not one dollar can be wasted.

    We are also going to have to change our trade, immigration and economic policies to make our economy strong again – and to put Americans first again. This will ensure that our own workers, right here in America, get the jobs and higher pay that will grow our tax revenue and increase our economic might as a nation.”

    The last sentence in the Trump foreign policy speech passage above makes a great deal more sense, given foreknowledge of the new extended oil fracking play.

    For good or ill, we are now in the post-Big Oil economic age.

  19. And more important for the Chinese — 3-to-5 million North Korean refugees in Manchuria for the next 10(+) years.

    This is a huge, and ignored, factor in dealing with China. My Chinese medical student pointed out to me years ago that the area of China closest to NK is also the poorest part of China. China already has some unrest in the far western part of the country, away from the industrial coast.

    A collapse of NK would destabilize most of China.

  20. It also made it into the comment section today at The Conservative Treehouse (which is how I found my way here).

  21. Just some general observations on Trump, based on casually observing him since the 80s and closely observing him for 3 years. He rarely, if ever, publicly states his real reasons for doing this or that. He has cultivated a persona, let’s call it ‘The Donald,’since the NYC tabloid days. He’s been at it so long that he wears the persona like a second skin. The Donald is a boob – brusque, impulsive, and dumb to boot.

    An aid to this character he plays may be the teachings of Norman Vincent Peale. Some critics of Peale criticised The Power of Positive Thinking as a sort of self-brainwashing, and I think there’s some signs of this in some of Trump’s meandering stream of conscience style in certain public statements. (I’m thinking in particular of his speech with the famous Buzz Aldrin reactions – ‘You can’t do it without space’).

    These serve to deceive Trump’s enemies – indeed they want to be decieved. AS Trent notes he’s been extremely well prepared at every turn. Yet we’ve recently seen a former Harvard Law Professor – not a stupid person – get trolled into publishing basically self incriminating DNA evidence, all the while thinking (I’m sure) “No, no, *I’m* the smart one!”

  22. Re the Nutball Regime Hypothesis, wait until the California Democrat primary election, which has been moved up from its previous June date (when it was immaterial) to March, where it will be ever so material to determining who wins the Democrat nomination. I think we can expect all the hopefuls to try to outleft the others to build momentum, but then have to walk back their positions for other primaries, and ultimately of course for the general election.

  23. Stanley,

    I agree that Pres. Donald Trump is far more capable than he is given credit for.

    It doesn’t mean Pres. Trump is mistake free. Please see Attorney General Sessions.

    The issue on the table is Pres. Trump is on what Sun Tzu would describe as “Desperate Ground.”

    Desperation breed mistakes.

    This Government Shut Down Xanatos Gambit strategy can still blow up badly because of things outside his experience.

    The thing that comes to mind here are the economic effects of delayed income tax returns. There are a lot of house holds that file early to get big returns because they have bills/Zero APR credit cards/balloon notes/loan payments etc. they intend to meet with those income tax returns.

    A game of “White Strike” bureaucratic slow down by unpaid IRS employees — who are considered ‘essential’ but are without a check — looms large in this case as a “sabotage scenario.”

  24. There is such a thing as over reaction. The fury today about the kids at the March For Life who were approached by an alleged “Indian activist” beating a drum when they were said to be shown to be dismissive or amused by his act. That will, I hope, results in multimillion dollar judgements from the Washington Post, owned by the richest man in the world. Those kids have had their future affected by the hate delivered by anonymous Twitter users but also by the non-anonymous Washington Post. The bishop in Kentucky is an idiot but the WaPoo has significant assets. Let the lawyers gather.

    I think a million dollars apiece might be appropriate.

  25. “A game of “White Strike” bureaucratic slow down by unpaid IRS employees …”

    Agreed, many events could happen to throw things off any planned path. E.g., Democrat views might change if, say, Hillary Clinton was attacked by an illegal immigrant from Libya, angry at the destruction she brought to his country. Who knows what the future will bring?

    But one of the topics being brought forward by the “shut down” is the royal treatment being received by the lucky people in the Federal workforce, who are nominally servants of We the People. They are paid more than similar jobs in the tax-paying sector — What about “Equal Pay for Equal Work”? They get better health benefits than most people. They get better pension benefits. And they step onto an escalator where they get annual pay raises and prospects of promotion — with effectively zero risk of ever getting laid off. I don’t know about “male privilege” or “white privilege”, but I can see “Federal Government worker privilege” with my own eyes.

    That is not how things are out in tax-payer land, where the rewards are lower and there is no security. The more the bureaucrats whine about their delayed paychecks, the angrier many other people are going to get. What the impact of that is going to be — we shall all just have to wait and see.

  26. Newrouter,

    >>Has the production of regulation been affected by the “shut down”?

    The vehicle by which Federal rules and regulations are issued is by publication in the FEDERAL REGISTRAR. Proposed regulations are published for a comment period of 30 to 90 days (subject dependent) and then finalized.

    Right now the vast majority of rule making Federal bodies are shut down.

    Compare the posted rules for 2 January 2018:

    With 2 January 2019:

    Basically, Federal disaster declarations, State Department impost-export rulings, and US off-shore fisheries ruling are all that are being published right now.

    IIRC, previous litigation on the FEDERAL REGISTRAR comment periods of past government shut downs “stop the clock” until the Federal Government returns to work.

  27. Gavin Longmuir,

    Regards this —

    >>But one of the topics being brought forward by the
    >>“shut down” is the royal treatment being received
    >>by the lucky people in the Federal workforce, who
    >>are nominally servants of We the People. They are
    >>paid more than similar jobs in the tax-paying
    >>sector — What about “Equal Pay for Equal Work”?
    >>They get better health benefits than most people.
    >>They get better pension benefits. And they step
    >>onto an escalator where they get annual pay raises
    >>and prospects of promotion — with effectively zero
    >>risk of ever getting laid off. I don’t know about
    >>“male privilege” or “white privilege”, but I can
    >>see “Federal Government worker privilege” with my
    >>own eyes.
    >>That is not how things are out in tax-payer land,
    >>where the rewards are lower and there is no security.
    >>The more the bureaucrats whine about their delayed
    >>paychecks, the angrier many other people are going
    >>to get. What the impact of that is going to be — we
    >>shall all just have to wait and see.

    It is standard operating procedure for high level American politicians to try and hit as many targets as they can with a single act of policy.

    While ostensibly being about funding “The Wall,” It’s clear President Trump is operating in that “many targets with one arrow” mold via making this Federal Government Shut Down into a “Teachable Moment” regards:

    1. How much of Federal Government is pure bureaucratic bloat,

    2. Spotlighting Who and What the Democrat House really cares about,

    3. Showing that Pres. Trump goes the extra mile to keep’s his promises to his supporters.

    4. And demonstrating that Pres. Trump is the craziest political kamikaze in D.C., and crossing him will cost you a lot, because right now nobody fears to cross him despite the record of the “Trump Curse.”

    As a DoD civil servant, the last time the Federal Government was shut down for a month, it took a year to fully pay off the credit card bills my house hold ran up. And that was without a large monthly mortgage note for my house.

    It takes two married GS-13’s with DC area locality pay and no kids to afford a new two bedroom, two bath, house in Northern Virginia, D.C. or Maryland.

    When 800,000 federal workers — 80% of whom are Democrats — are without a pay check for three or four months. You are going to see a -lot- of high priced housing in Maryland, Wash D.C. and Northern Virginia go into foreclosure, and a deep recession take hold in the same area for months. This is because after the Federal Government government reopens the “non-essentials” will have to both pay down their maxed out credit cards and try to buy their way out of foreclosure.

    This too is a “Teachable Moment” regards power and fear from Pres. Trump too the permanent Federal bureaucracy regards obstructing Pres. Trump policy initiatives.

    And this was all readily apparent back in August 2018 when the first Defense Department appropriation in 10(+) years was passed by the GOP controlled Congress and was signed by President Trump.

  28. I’m with AVI on this. All the D&D types think Trump thinks like they do (aka they believe the Art of the Deal hype). But his business history is all about high profile failures intended to make him look like a big player. (The Plaza, Casinos, Trump Air, etc.) while routine real estate investments with his Father early in his career made his cash pile. Remember Trump doesn’t care if he fails to actually achieve something lasting so long as he can spin it to make him look like that big player. His hotel chain is really small compared to even the newest boutique chains, so how can you tout his business success on that slim basis.

    For those who doubt this watch the premier episode of the animated series “The Critic” starring Jon Lovitz. This 1994 series had several trump references in this episode. Jon Lovitz is an overweight balding TV Movie critic who is pursued by a young actress who is quite awful. They go on a date, cycling past a building with a big banner “Trump Tower – Bankruptcy Sale”, and later she confesses to him she once “dated”Donald! Thirty years ago and he was still seen in NYC as just a wanna be. Without any firm political view, he just wants to show the world how tough he is.

    If he was really interested in immigration control, how about requiring E-Verify (my little company has to do this), restricting H2B visas and controlling visa overstays? But that would require most hotel chains to discharge a large chunk of the housekeeping staff (including Trumps), expose the managers as scoff laws and cut into profits.

    Trump is really a simple to understand guy, he needs to see his name in lights and be flattered by people, it’s really amusing to see how many people try to explain this away

  29. “… the last time the Federal Government was shut down for a month, it took a year to fully pay off the credit card bills my house hold ran up.”

    To paraphrase my late father’s long-ago advice to his son on starting work:
    Forget all about new cars, and nice restaurants, and far-flung vacations. Your first priority is to save up one month’s after tax income. And when you have done that (as quickly as you can), your next priority is to save up a second month’s after tax income. And keep going until you have at least 6 months take-home pay in the bank. Because that money is your independence.

  30. while routine real estate investments with his Father early in his career made his cash pile.

    This is simply not true. Read Conrad Black’s book about Trump.

    That you post this tells me more about you than about Trump.

  31. There was nothing routine about building Trump International, the second tallest skyscraper in downtown Chicago, with all the difficult and contentious politics around here. Just getting it off the ground was an achievement in itself, but they are turning a profit despite the political backlash against the brand. His father Trump Sr. has nothing to do with it, aside maybe from teaching his son the fundamentals.

    And that’s with only the residential units sold. The retail space along the Chicago River is vacant. Prime real estate that would normally bring in several million more for a typical building downtown. It is a fact that Trump has sacrificed a lot of business profits in order to run for president. Thanks to his keen business sense and promotional abilities he has still made money.

  32. His father Trump Sr. has nothing to do with it, aside maybe from teaching his son the fundamentals.

    Anybody who believes the left’s smears really should read Black’s book. He knows Trump and did business with him (That Chicago high rise). He has the story of the Atlantic City casinos that almost put Trump under and his recovery which is where the money came from.

  33. dirtyjobsguy,

    I agree with you in part. Trump is not an especially skilled businessman, nor is he a great politician. His true strength lies in sales, and the allied skills of publicity and PR. You mention The Art of the Deal — in it he’s said that he tries to set up situations where he wins no matter the outcome. If there is a deal, he benefits, and if there is no deal he also benefits. This is at the heart of Trent”s post.

    Where I disagree entirely is your idea that Trump is simple to understand. As I said above ‘The Donald’ is a front. He’s a 73(?) year old New Yorker. His teachers, besides Fred Sr. and the Rev. Peale, included Roy Cohn, Rupert Murdoch, Roger Stone, George Steinbrenner, Howard Stern, and Vince McMahon. With several of these men, he evolved alongside them, each influencing the other.

  34. Greetings, all:

    I seldom comment here these days because I’d rather leave the Trump / Republican but not Trump / Independent & deciding / not Trump at all we’re Dem situation to its own devices and not stir it up any further, embittered on both or more sides as it now is..

    But the Xanatos Gambit was new to me, and valuable, and with thanks to Trent I’ll no doubt use it on occasion, perhaps starting with a Zenpundit post.

  35. Trump is certainly a salesman but he is also an entrepreneur and they go broke from time time,. The good ones come back.

    My college roommate’s father was a real estate developer in Los Angeles in the early days. He went from millionaire to bankrupt a couple of times.

    Fortunately for my room mate, he ended up a millionaire at the end.

    Conrad Black writes in his book, which I highly recommend, how he was suspicious of Trump at first when he agreed to redevelop the Sun Times building in Chicago. Black owned it at the time. The new building was done on time and on budget, which greatly impressed Black.

    This is the result.

  36. The Left is continually of the opinion that anyone who disagrees with them must be idiots and buffoons. They assumed this about Bush, and now they’re ramping up the presumption with regards to Trump.

    And, lacking the capacity to learn from experience (“Wisdom”, the lack of which I assert is THE defining quality of being on the Left after one’s youth — if there was a WQ test to match the IQ test, everyone would find out that “postmodern liberal” associated directly to being in the lower third of the resultant bell curve), lack this, the Left continues to vastly underestimate their opposition at every turn.

  37. Anyone who thinks Candidate (then) and President (now) Donald Trump cannot do deep, long term planning can’t read election returns:

    The Math: Trump 2016 Would’ve Beaten Obama 2012

    By Tim Alberta — November 9, 2016

    It’s easy to glance at Tuesday’s popular vote — which, with 92 percent of all precincts reporting, shows Hillary Clinton with six million fewer votes than Barack Obama won in 2012 – and reach the conclusion that Clinton lost the White House because she failed to turn out the Democratic base. But the truth is much more complicated.

    While she underperformed relative to Obama’s 2012 totals in several Midwestern states — Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin — Clinton ran virtually even with Obama in the battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Nevada, and New Hampshire. What’s more, she far surpassed Obama’s 2012 vote total in Florida, the country’s biggest swing state. Yet somehow, while Obama carried Florida, Clinton lost it.

    Which brings us to an important question: Was Donald Trump just good enough to beat a bad Democratic opponent on Tuesday, or does he deserve far more credit? Could he, for instance, have competed with the vaunted Obama machine? The answer, somewhat shockingly, is yes. A review of vote totals in the past two elections reveals that Trump 2016 would have defeated Obama 2012 in the electoral college.

    (Disclaimer: This obviously is an apples-to-oranges exercise because no two elections are the same, nor are any two electorates. Still, unlike debating whether the 2016 Cubs would defeat the 1927 Yankees, this is not an entirely abstract argument; a comparison of their respective performances in the country’s most competitive states shows Trump edging Obama in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup.)

    The math might seem impossible. After all, Obama won nearly 66 million votes in 2012; Trump is currently at 59.5 million and should finish around 60 million, which will actually be one million fewer votes than Mitt Romney won. How, then, could Trump have topped Obama in the electoral college? The answer: Republican turnout lagged in certain parts of the country but shot through the roof in the nation’s most critical battleground states.

    Let’s look at them individually, in descending order by population, and do the electoral-vote math. The 2016 totals aren’t yet final because not all precincts have reported.

    FLORIDA — 29 EVs — 98 percent reporting

    Obama 2012: 4,235,270

    Clinton 2016: 4,485,745

    Romney 2012: 4,162,081

    Trump 2016: 4,605,515

    Conclusion: Trump beats Obama by some 370,000 votes and wins Florida. (Note: Clinton herself won 250,000 more votes in Florida than Obama did in 2012.)

    PENNSYLVANIA — 20 EVs — 97 percent reporting

    Obama 2012: 2,907,448

    Clinton 2016: 2,844,705

    Romney 2012: 2,619,583

    Trump 2016: 2,912,941

    Conclusion: Trump squeezes past Obama by a margin of some 5,000 votes and wins Pennsylvania. (Note: Clinton runs about 60,000 votes behind Obama, but would’ve had more than enough to defeat Romney in 2012.)

    OHIO — 18 EVs – 94 percent reporting

    Obama 2012: 2,697,260

    Clinton 2016: 2,317,001

    Romney 2012: 2,593,779

    Trump 2016: 2,771,984

    Conclusion: Trump edges Obama by roughly 75,000 votes and wins Ohio. (Note: Clinton’s worst battleground state showing was Ohio, winning 380,000 [!] fewer votes than Obama.)

    Stop right there and crunch the numbers: Florida (29) + Pennsylvania (20) + Ohio (18) = 67 EVs.

    Romney finished with 206 EVs. By protecting all of those, and then taking 67 from Obama, Trump would hit 273 and win the presidency.

    The question: Did Trump 2016 defeat Obama 2012 in all of the states Romney won? Yes. Here’s a look at the competitive ones:

    – NORTH CAROLINA (98 percent reporting): Trump 2,339,603 … Obama 2,178,388

    – ARIZONA (73 percent reporting): Trump 947,284 … Obama 930,669

    – GEORGIA (93 percent reporting): Trump 2,068,623 … Obama 1,761,761

    – UTAH (78 percent reporting): Trump 360,634 … Obama 229,463

    A review of the Romney 2012 states confirms that Trump, in this hypothetical matchup, would have carried every single one against Obama.

    It doesn’t matter that Obama would have trounced Trump by nearly 300,000 votes in Michigan; by more than 200,000 in Wisconsin; by 175,000 in Virginia; and by 160,000 in Colorado. It’s similarly meaningless that Obama would have narrowly defeated Trump in Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire. The 44th president carried all of those states in 2012, and in this hypothetical contest, he would successfully defend all of them. But it wouldn’t be enough.

    The electoral college would produce a razor-thin margin: Trump 273, Obama 265.

    Again, this is an apples-to-oranges exercise. It’s impossible to know how the Obama campaign might have targeted certain voters in a contest against Trump, or whether Trump would have the same success in the three big battleground states against a more formidable opponent. But that’s not the point here; the point is that it’s not entirely fair to blame Clinton for depressing Democratic turnout when she ran even with him in five of the country’s most competitive states and ahead of him in a sixth, Florida, the single biggest swing state — and still lost the electoral college.


    The NR election 2016 post-mortem above is highly useful in demonstrating really effective planning by the Trump campaign and the RNC.

    Trump took all the Romney states and would have taken the following from a 2012 Obama election coalition — Florida (29) + Pennsylvania (20) + Ohio (18) = 67 EVs. That is 273 EV right there, game over.

    Usually there are extensive post-mortems a couple months after the campaign. Those happen with most major campaigns.

    It didn’t happen with the Trump for President 2016 campaign for a lot of reasons.

    Per this book —

    Trump had a really tiny campaign staff until around February 2016. The vast majority of his campaign work was done by volunteers at the local and state levels who coordinated directly with each other, via the internet, rather than through the almost non-existent national organization, which was almost entirely a personal staff who worked directly for the candidate.

    Trump’s 2016 campaign organization was pretty much built from the ground up by volunteers, some of whom had VAST political experience. Those politically experiences volunteers in the main do not talk to the press for reasons personal and logistical. They are not on the usdual reporter smart phone contact list and they don’t live with in an hour’s drive of the major urban areas reporters live in.

    The McCarthy for President 1968 had remarkable similarities to Trump’s 2016 campaign. But the concept of the former was developed at the top.

    Trump’s just grew spontaneously from the bottom – he inspired it as opposed to leading it.

  38. The following was a e-mail conversation from a list I frequent related to the book I linked to above —

    Book reader impression:

    “The How Trump Won book says his local and state primary campaigns interfaced with national mostly to coordinate candidate appearances and travel because there wasn’t anyone at national to talk to about other matters. Local and state did things on their own because that was the only way to get things done. But their internal trust and verification, per this book, seemed to mirror how you said national staff promotions happened. I suspect also there was a dearth of unfriendly infiltration attempts.

    At the time the lefties and Democrats wanted Trump to win, and only Trump believers wanted to associate with his campaign. How the most competent rose to the top of the state primary organizations is still hazy.

    Again, I’m talking about the primaries and conventions, not the general election.”

    Trump volunteer “orbiter” –

    “True but… He also organized it.

    To be on one of the staffs in any position of power you had to have proven you were willing to put in the work, were both competent and trustworthy and followed the required procedures. Most of those were far in excess of what most campaigns did vis a vis OPSEC on the campaign. If you failed the tests, including background checks, you were held at a lower level with thanks for your support. But you never got inside any decision loop.

    So he accepted staff but to advance you had to be vetted in various ways. And not just ‘he’s a friend and we need a body.’ Or ‘He/she is a contributor.’

    I happen to know where he derived the process. OPSEC.”

    My Impression of the Trump campaign in the Primaries and General election was it was all about operational security, aka OPSEC.

    It just didn’t talk to the press and it didn’t leak.

    The Trump transition and early presidency was a complete surprise in being 180 degrees out of phase with that impression.

    We now know that the post-election, first 18 months “leaks” of the Trump Presidential transition and early presidency were due to DoJ/FBI FISA warrant electronic surveillance leaked to the media through the FBI and Senate Intelligence committee.

    With the removal of all the major players in the DoJ and FBI involved in those 2015 to 2017 FISA surveillance warrants, minus the Mueller special council, the 2020 campaign is going to be damned interesting in that the Democrats won’t have FISA on their side telling them what the GOP is up to.

    The Re-elect President Trump campaign certainly won’t.

  39. These are the bones of a “How Trump won” post I’ve been playing with since 2016.

    They are really important in understanding his 2016 “Trump for President campaign” and the man’s planning style:

    It is really hard to find any useful tells about Trump’s ground
    campaign in Iowa, This is one of the reasons I hang out at “The
    Conservative Treehouse” web site (
    It amounts to a boilerhouse operation for Trump volunteers and wanna
    be volunteers.

    These folks -are not- on the inside, but they are smart, observant and
    have pretty good B.S. detectors.

    The following three points have shown up repeatedly there about
    Trump’s operation in Iowa:

    1. Trump’s people are not talking to the media or other campaign
    operatives and they are running a ground game using recreational
    vehicles without most of the traditional brick and mortar store fronts
    to limit derived intelligence — AKA the other side having people
    watch and dumpster dive your campaign HQ.

    2. The Media knows something about the extent of Trump’s ground game,
    but they are not talking. It is not “the editor approved narrative.”

    3. Trump’s people in Iowa are doing the same sort of “build the
    relationship with future voters” contact outreach Obama’s people did
    in 2007-08 and 2011-12.

    Please note several things about the above points.

    There are no reports of RV/vehicle rentals in the Trump campaign
    financial releases. Yet TCTH folks talk about them a lot. This could
    be pre-paid services or simply poor media reporting. Either way,
    Trump is acting to limit what his opponents know about him.

    A lot of the ‘relationship building steps’ in Iowa look a hell of a
    lot like typical high end hotel “Remember the important dates of
    repeat VIP business customers” SOP’s in action. This high end hotel
    Standard Operating Procedure is relational electronic database driven.

    Data mining 30-years of hotel guest data world wide tells you a great
    deal about people, if you are willing to invest the time/effort to do
    so. Especially if you used outside consumer data to fill in the

    With Trump, I am getting a very strong impression of a very well
    staffed, high end, open source intelligence operation with “Big Data”
    inferences at work in his voter outreach efforts.

    Trump, like he did with Domestic Muslim terrorism, is laying down
    markers — similar to the Pre-San Bernadino marker of “American
    Muslims celebrated 9/11/2001 in Patterson NJ” — against future
    events in every one of these mega-rallies of his about the dishonesty
    of the mass media.

    This is having a “The Emperor Has No Cloths” effect in that Trump
    supporters are primed to find all the little lies the media uses to
    slant coverage. Lies born of their left of center world view of media
    talking heads and their lack of self-awareness of same

    In fact, his supporters are posting multiple POV photos and videos of
    every Trump rally now without direction.

    Trump’s base today isn’t what he had in June 2015, nor what he will
    have in Nov 2016. Assuming he makes it that far.

    The key thing for me is that Trump has moved the culture — see
    immigration and the popularity of the “Muslim pause” — and has
    rearranged the political landscape on top of it.

    Reagan did that in 1980.

    No one on the Republican side has done that until Trump.

    Trump’s two way, “Big Data informed”, social media communication between
    himself as candidate and his supporters is a new phenomena on the American Right and it is very Obama campaign in the 2008 Democratic primaries like in its effects.

    An even more important than his Open Source Intelligence/Big Data
    capability, Trump has a very well staffed, high end,
    _Counter-Intelligence_ operation at work surrounding his campaign

    Trump made a Million dollars a BILLION dollars by the time he was he
    was 42 in 1988. He never settled. He in the last almost 30 years has
    moved that billion dollar portfolio to something like $10 billion
    world wide.

    Trump needed the counter-intelligence side more than intelligence to
    get where he has gotten since 1988, if only to prevent his 5-star hotel
    and especially _casino_ properties from being hollowed out by local
    politics, corruption and crime. And gambling brings out crime and
    corruption like s**t brings fly’s.

    Of his billionaire capabilities, this private Counter-Intelligence
    service Trump built up with his casino properties is the single
    greatest threat to the GOPe and Clinton campaign operations.

    The Media and Media talking political consultant class simply cannot
    get inside Trump’s head and his important campaign people cannot be
    turned/intimidated, because of 30-years of high end C-I vetting built
    into Trump operations.

    These “capability shadows” keeps popping up in the campaign.

    It costs a new political campaign a lot of money to do the kind of VIP
    hotel outreach Trump is doing with his new political contacts.
    Political candidates & consultants have to build this capability anew
    every time they run a campaign.

    Trump does it for very little compared to other campaigns because he
    is using a very small percentage of existing innate capability from the
    Trump corporate IT “big data” capabilities. The use of which was very
    likely pre-paid in 2014 to hide “tells” from the political consultant class.

    I suspect some of the high end American political consultant class has
    this figured out, but they don’t talk without someone paying them a
    lot and those who pay a lot don’t talk to the press until long after
    the campaign is over.

    And frankly, a lot of the fat cats paying these high end political
    consultants won’t listen to the truths about Trump until after Trump

    Since these high end consultants know when/how fat cats shoot the
    messenger — it is how they got there in the first place — the full
    truth won’t be provided to the fact cats until they are ready to

  40. This is a comment from one of those Trump Volunteer’s “with vast political experience” about the 2016 “Trump for President” ground game. A lot of them frequented The Conservative Tree house web site and dropped things like this:

    I wouldn’t worry. It’s basically a “Want You vs You Want” battle that determines whether a Ground Game is needed.

    Politicians typically go out into the community; hire volunteers (mostly form out of state) and do callings because they are fighting a “Want You” game. These Politicians are battling over the small “We WANT YOU to vote for Me!”

    Trump on the other hand is all about “You Want ME!” You Want Trump so much you WANT to volunteer. If Trump’s ground game is weak and he still get thousands of people to show up when it’s 8 degrees outside; then Trump captured and is winning the “You Want” battle.

    Politicians are going “I Want You to Vote for Me”

    People are going “We Want Trump!”

    And when the people are motivated, they turn themselves out and that is the strongest ground game there is.

    It was the “We Want Trump!” vote that flipped Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio and especially Pennsylvania in 2016 compared to 2012.

  41. I have read Lewandowski and Bossie’s books about Trump plus Conrad Black’s excellent book about him.

    Trump is the guy who can walk and dance on the high wire and never get nervous. His ability to function with most of the political world against him is impressive. Black writes about his financial troubles, especially in the Atlantic City casino business, which almost broke him. He is the ultimate “Happy Warrior” who emerges from trouble with his interests intact.

    There is a lot of nonsense about how he “knows nothing about governing or policy” I saw a reporter on Fox News Sunday last weekend musing about how Trump can’t possibly understand what is going on around him. They still don’t get it. I don’t think it is impossible for him to fail. He has both parties opposing him but most of the historic political processes are obsolete. If he fails, the country goes into Civil War 2.0.

    I think there is no way to really measure public opinion any more. The “social media” has allowed tiny groups of agitators to look like millions.

    The Covington Catholic thing seems to be an example. How many people are there really involved in stirring up this hysteria ? A thousand ? A hundred ?

  42. Trent:

    If you were to give odds on Trump winning the confrontation with Pelosi, et al. — defining winning however you want — what would you say the odds are?

    I am guessing somewhere north of 50%.

    He and his coalition probably have more staying power, for reasons you mention here.

    Deplorables don’t give a shit if the US Gov is shut down until Trump leaves office in January 2025.

    Also, the Ds can survive making concessions on the Wall.

    Trump cannot do so.

    That is his core promise. He has to keep it.

    That fact, not incidentally, gives him bargaining leverage. It means the Ds are trapped in the room with him, not the other way around, since they know, or should know, that he will go down in flames and take as many of them with him as he can rather than give up on this point. They seem to think they can finish him at a single blow by making him give up on the Wall at the start of this new Congress, and then just run out the clock before electing a Democrat. A big bet. They would be right, if he did give up. But he knows he’s finished if he does, and they should know that he knows that and will act accordingly.

    Also, most Ds I know sincerely believe that Trump will be forced to resign, because RUSSIA. Meanwhile, Conrad Black is saying the whole RUSSIA thing is already a dead issue. Two communities living in completely different mental universes. One side is going to be shocked. I am old enough to remember that Ken Starr showed up with pretty much nothing. Mueller may do the same. Looking forward to him putting his cards down. Any thoughts on whether that presents much of a threat to Trump?

    Great post.

  43. Lex,

    We are in a political siege with regard the Federal government shut down.

    Sieges are all about psychological pressure.

    And Nutball regimes become more so under pressure.

    All Pres. Trump has to do is keep his nerve, wait, and watch Pelosi and Schumer play Vercingetorix at the Battle of Alesia.

    Mike K,

    I am some what concerned that Trump cancelled the SOU.

    It was a perfect opportunity to communicate to the American people over the heads of the media that simply blew up it’s credibility these last two weeks with the Buzfeed ‘Russia lying’ debacle and the Covington Catholic minute of hate.

    Inciting the Democrats in the Congress and media to go even more crazy is very much what Pres. Trump has to do to get re-elected.

  44. I don’t understand the logic of Trump cancelling the SOTU. The Dems have gone completely nuts, which is an opportunity for him to show people that even if they don’t like him, there is no sane alternative, the Dems have gone bonkers. He needs to take every chance to look Presidential–that’s the whole reason the Dems want to cancel the SOTU–to deny him that! He can act Trumpy 99% of the time, he needs to check off some basic boxes, and I don’t think Pelosi’s play here, which is basically “Trump doesn’t get to be President” is a good one outside of the Dem base. I don’t think he should give a campaign rally, that won’t work. He should have the Senate chamber lined up, but say he wants to use the House. Make the Dems turn him away, point out how unserious they are, and give his intended speech in the Senate. I don’t get this move.

  45. Pres. Trump just Tweeted he is delaying the SOU address until after the government shut down is over.

    Pres. Trump is always keeping balls in the air.

  46. (Actually, though, I’ve always believed the SOTU will be given in place and on time, and will continue to believe that until it doesn’t happen.)

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