Scott Adams, author of the Dilbert cartoon strip, is also an interested and informed observer of the corporate and political world in which we live. He’s just penned his thoughts on President Trump’s latest executive order concerning refugees and immigration from selected Middle Eastern countries. Here’s an excerpt.
If Trump is a Master Persuader, as I have been telling you for over a year, he just solved his biggest problem with immigration and you didn’t notice. The biggest problem is that his supporters on the right want more immigration control than he can (or should) deliver while his many critics on the left want far less. Normally when you negotiate there is only one party on the other side. But in this case, Trump is negotiating two extremes in two different directions. It’s the toughest possible situation. Best case scenario is that 40% of the country want you dead when it’s all over. Not good.
So what does a President Trump do when he is in an impossible situation?
. . .
The left sees Trump’s executive orders on immigration as pure Hitler behavior. That gives him plenty of room to negotiate to the middle. The initial orders are too broad, and clearly target too many of the wrong people. As he fixes those special cases he will be moving away from the Hitler model toward the middle. And people are more influenced by the DIRECTION of things than the absolute position of things. As long as he is moving away from the Hitler analogy, people will chill out, even if they think he was too close to that position before. Direction matters.
. . .
But what about Trump’s critics on the far right who want more extreme immigration? Trump needs to negotiate with them too. And he is. He did that by showing them that his temporary offer was so extreme that people took to the streets. The system (America) is actively trying to eject Trump like some sort of cancer cell. And the worse it gets, with protests and whatnot, the more leverage Trump has to tell his far right supporters that he has gone as far as the country will let him go. He needed that. The protests are working in his favor. He couldn’t negotiate with the extreme right without them.
. . .
President Obama’s approach was to give a free pass to Islam in general and to any Muslims that were just minding their own business. But the unintended consequence is that Muslims have less incentive to police their own ranks. Trump changed that. Now if you want to stay out of the fight against terrorism it will cost you.
So Trump has created a situation – or will soon – in which the peaceful Muslims will either have to do a lot more to help law enforcement find the terrorists in their midst or else live with an increasingly tainted brand. Trump is issuing no free passes for minding your own business. His model makes you part of the solution or part of the problem. No one gets to sit this one out.
There’s much more at the link. It’s well worth your time to read it in full.
Keith Ablow put it like this:
Everything Donald Trump does is strategically calculated to achieve a goal. His communication is designed not to simply convey his gut feelings, but to make people focus on one thing — call it a decoy — so he can do six other things while they’re distracted.
I daresay that applies to his executive orders as well. While the news media and loony left are distracted by and exploding with indignation over his refugee and immigration orders, what else will he be able to get away with?
I’m enjoying watching President Trump at work. All those who said he’d never cope with Washington, and never figure out how to play with politicians? I think they’re about to eat their words. The Scots would describe him as ‘canny‘, I think; and that’s not a bad attribute at all for a Head of State.
Yep, he's playing them like a puppet master!
I find it funny that people still call him an idiot, not a deep thinker, etc.
It's even funnier when nominal libertarian/conservative types do it.
I'm sure it has to do with the lack of "signifiers" – aka "educated speak", that he gives off, despite going to Wharton, etc.
If you look at Trump's actions, it's absolutely certain that the man knows what he is doing, and has out thought damn near everyone in the political sphere. The man is not stupid. He just doesn't talk like he values showing off his college degree more than what he can do with it
So far, Trump has done what he said he would do and meant everything he said. I seriously doubt that he's going to go soft on immigration policy now, as Adams implies. I think it's more likely he's building a foundation to really go to town: creating a precedent of these BS court orders and the Democrats' obvious siding with foreigners over Americans.
I suspect that his position on "torture" might be Good Cop/Bad Cop.
He says he believes in torture, and thinks that it really works. But he says he understands that SecDef Mattis does NOT believe in it, and that he'll therefor defer to his expert.
Do you think that the military just MIGHT be able to say "We can't mistreat you now, but if you don't give us the info we want, Psycho Trump may demand that we REALLY torture you. Can't you work with us just a little bit so our consciences can be clear???"
"…never figure out how to play with politicians…"
How strange is it that so many people think he has no political skill, as if there's no politics in business? Or in churches, or academia, or the local dogcatcher's auxiliary? If you've ever interacted with people on any level you have some degree of political experience, no matter how small. And Trump has a LOT of interaction under his belt. I would think his past has prepared him to be one of our most savvy politicians.