Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The One Percent President

Yes, I know…they are all presidents for the one percent.  But that isn’t what I am getting at.

Donald Trump makes for an interesting president.  Whatever one hoped, feared, dreamt or desired out of his presidency, what can be said – without fear of being labeled a liar or some form of degenerate (deplorable?) – is that he makes for great theater.  Right off the bat, I would say this makes him a one percent president; most are so boring.

But even this isn’t what I am getting at. 

We have now seen enough of Trump in action to make the statement: either he is one of the biggest political flip-floppers of the last fifty years or he has a grand and effective strategy that no one on earth can understand. 

Do you have a third possibility?  Neither do I.

Now, if he has a strategy that no one on earth can understand, more power to him.  In the meantime, he is doing a great job of alienating his support one slice at a time; of course, if – in the end – he strikes the grandest national and international bargain ever seen in 6000 years of diplomacy and politics, we will all bow down to him: “The Donald, how could we ever have doubted?”

But…but…so much of what Trump claimed he wanted to get done flies in the face of the establishment.  Because of this, no matter what he does he will never receive support in congress for his actions – all of the democrats and at least half of the republicans are against him.  He will never receive support from the court system – so far, every ruling has been against him.

From where does his support come?  Well, that’s obvious…it comes from those who voted for him based on what he said he would do: drain the swamp, put Hillary in jail, repeal Obamacare, make nice with Russia.  I could go on, but you get the idea.  Trump could keep doing crazy (i.e. politically incorrect) stuff as long as he stayed focused on doing the politically incorrect stuff he said he would do during the campaign.  Because his base would support him.  And this would be enough to succeed.

Yet…one by one…he turns on those “promises.”  Little by little, he erodes his only basis for power.  And instead of his enemies seeing that Trump can be a “team player,” they only see a wounded beast, capable of nothing more than waiting for the death blow…by impeachment or losing the re-election.

Who will be left to support him when he reveals his grand plan, when all is made good?  And without any support, what chance does his “super-grand-bargain-on-every-issue-I-ever-raised-in-the-campaign” have of seeing the light of day?  I say none.

Yet herein lies the one percent.  Maybe Trump has a grand plan; maybe he is the master negotiator (I have talked to some real master negotiators – they don’t see it).

For this, I say there may be a one percent chance.  So we watch, we laugh, we grimace, we wince.  Mostly, we suggest the burden of proof is now on him: show me, don’t tell me.  Even for the most faithful of Trump supporters, this is the only reasonable standard.

And therefore, there is your one percent president.  There is a one percent chance that he is the smartest guy in every room and that he has, in a few short weeks, mastered politics to such a degree that he knows how to bring the recalcitrant lifetime crooks and swindlers (i.e. politicians and elites) to their knees while all-the-while slowly destroying the support he received from his base and in any case convincing everyone he has to deal with that he is crazy.

I leave this door open…well, one percent open.

So you’re sayin’ there’s a chance….


Then again, there is a ninety-nine percent chance that this isn’t the case.


  1. My theory is he has a very very short time value preference. He plays for the audience at hand, whether it's a campaign speech or a chat with his cabinet members. Truth and reality have little impact on what he says or does.

    Does that make him a 1% president? Not really IMO. I've met so many people with similar preferences, his behavior seems neither new nor special. What IS special is that he turned it into a successful strategy, at least in the short term.

  2. If Trump appointments Joe Lieberman to head the FBI you can forget about any one percent chance of Trump doing the right thing.

    I would take Satan as FBI director over Lieberman. Lieberman is just too evil.

  3. The election was between two “viable” candidates. Trump is still the better choice.
    Also, he’s reinvigorated the previously moribund system of checks and balances. Congress is no longer a rubber stamp. The courts are not rewriting laws changing clear language (Supreme Court and Obamacare). And, while the swamp isn’t draining, it’s coming into clear view.

  4. I guess the mosquito is too young to remember Dr. Ron Paul's first run for president, since he neglected to mention it. It was 1987, the year that I spent the latter spring, summer, and early fall circulating petitions to get Dr. Paul on the ballot as the LP's presidential candidate after he prevailed in the relatively private primary against Russell Means. I worked in Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado as a paid petitioner, and got the vast majority of the 8,000 valid signatures required in Wyoming, before I was recruited back into Colorado as their campaign director to compete their fledgling volunteer-only drive.
    I got to see Dr. Paul speak to a standing room only crowd at Denver's Temple Center after acting as his navigator after he got bad directions from a COLP board member during a day spent making campaign appearances. It was particularly fun to see the look on the salesman's face (who had been selling me gold and silver for some time) at Legacy Investments when I walked in behind Dr. Paul, whose first run for the White House took place in 1988...

    1. "I guess the mosquito is too young to remember Dr. Ron Paul's first run for president, since he neglected to mention it."

      Why would I have mentioned it in the context of this post? To be a one percent president, one would have to be...president.

    2. I should add - I do appreciate that you shared your story during Dr. Paul's 1988 run.

      I remember it well!


    3. I don't have the records to confirm it, but I think he got the highest percentage of national votes in his first campaign of the three. Of course, he never really intended to get elected, just to educate the electorate in the sensibility of returning the country to the Constitution. He changed me from a libertarian into a constitutionalist, before the invading Republicans changed the LP into the new Republican party, leaving the neo-cons to do with the old one as they did.

  5. I keep coming back to this article because I think it's the most spot on analysis: especially the line about being a wounded beast waiting for the final blow via impeachment or electoral loss.