Trump: A President Without A Party…Clever Or Careless?


      Donald Trump was a de facto independent during the Republican primaries; he succeeded in large part by belittling his fellow Republican candidates. It worked. Trump continued the attacks against Hillary Clinton, turning the general election as a referendum between the least offensive candidate. Trump was not Hillary and the strategy worked again.
       Now as President, Trump’s bashes Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and a handful of Senators….all Republicans. Sarah Palin may term Trump as, “going rogue” against his own party.
       My upcoming novel Roll the Dice, will be published in November. The novel’s main protagonist,
        Senate candidate Tyler Sloan campaigns as a political independent in the state of Nevada. An independent Senator can legislate from the center, sliding right or left as the issue dictates. Sloan is a rock star and not a political ideologue. By temperament, Sloan is a consensus builder during the campaign, adept at incorporating ideas from both ends of the political spectrum to form a bipartisan coalition. Sloan has a cooler temperament than Trump.
       President Obama had few, if any, relationships with Republicans that generated legislative successes; however President Trump is now firing incendiary rhetoric at his own party. The strategy was successful in the primaries, but it is not a successful governing strategy.
       Why does Trump engage in these attacks? Logic tells us Trump has no room for error in the barely controlled Republican Senate. Logic dictates that people, including presidents, operate in their own self-interest. Is Trump careless or clever?
       Trump has always disdained conventional political norms. By blasting the media, engaging in
social wedge issues, pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and attacking the Republican, (forgive me for the cliché word) “establishment;” is Trump energizing his base? Yet is the base large enough to govern?
        Trump thrives on chaos. His “id,” as termed by Sigmund Freud the aggressive part of the psyche; is trouncing his realistic “ego.” Rather than attack Democrats for their failure to cooperate on legislative measures, he lashes out at fellow Republicans. Trump is not and never was, a true Republican. Now he is in danger of being politically isolated, but he does not seem to care.
The fissure between congressional Republicans and their president is expanding. This divide will
soon reach a critical mass where Republicans will realize they need to enact legislation without fretting about input from the White House. Trump does not and will not care about details in the legislation.
        McConnell, Ryan and Congressional Republicans can govern as if the president was a political independent, or an afterthought. In 1948, President Harry Truman’s re-election campaign was charged with the rhetoric of him running against, “a do-nothing Congress.” The Democratic Truman had an effective foil as the Republicans controlled the House and Senate. There is no precedent for a president to run against a Congress controlled by his own party. This is for obvious reasons— it is not a coherent or winning
        Republicans cannot count on President Trump; and Trump cannot count on the Republicans. It’s a Republican mad dash to the political lifeboats. The Democrats are united in their “resistance.” Is resistance to all things Trump a reasonable policy? Is it successful politics? The Dems have gone mute on their legislative plans, content to sit on the sidelines rather than assist two warring GOP factions who fail to peacefully coexist.