The US is in flames and Trump is solely focusing on maintaining his popularity amongst his core supporters, as usual. An invitation to dialogue is for Trump the same as showing weakness. Let’s hope that he feels that he can win the November elections, or else we have no idea what he might come up with.
This blog post by Simen A. Johannessen was first published in Nettavisen.
The events that have been unfolding in the US recently are neither new nor surprising. Police violence against people of color is the rule rather than the exception, and the racism in the country is comprehensive, undisguised and rooted. And even though the US abolished slavery, they have never resolved it completely. You don’t have to venture far into the right-wing of American politics where it is legitimate, if not usual to drive around with bumper stickers saying: «If I had known things would get this bad, I would have picked my own cotton».
The worst thing that happened to Trump recently was that it became known to the media that he took shelter in the White House bunker when the amount protesters surrounding the White House became uncomfortably abundant. I doubt that he went into the bunker voluntarily, but rather that he was convinced to do so by his security guards.
He probably regrets that decision. “Hiding” like that is a sign of fear and weakness. Being accused of that is amongst what Trump hates the most.
After that Trump only saw one viable solution. Moving the protesters out of his was and strolling down to a nearby church to get his picture taken with a bible in his hand. This works as a symbol for Trump, where he is the man in the smoke, and he won’t be stopped by deplorable protesters. I AM WINNING, WINNING, WINNING!
Every time Trump does something outrageous, which is often, people across the world has a similar thought: “This has to be the end for Trump.” Americans MUST see what kind of idiot he is, or that they elected a dictator similar to Hitler that has to be thrown out of the white house.
That’s where we are wrong. Sorry, but it’s not happening. Trumps popularity is surprisingly stable, just as stable as the amount of people that hate him. He has polarized America beyond what we thought was possible, and it is almost impossible to switch sides regardless of what’s coming.
One thing Trump is good at is knowing what his supporters want. He’s the rock star that knows which songs to play in order to get the crowd riled up. He never tries any new material. You know the concert is going to be lame if the aging rock star says: “and now am I going to play a song from my new album.” Trump doesn’t do that mistake.
The events that are unfolding in the US now says more about the country than it does about Trump. We could wish for him to invite people to dialogue and reconciliation, but that’s not his method. For him it is a sign of weakness. To show strength you can’t invite people over for coffee and biscuits, you must dominate. That is the art of the deal!
Trump isn’t going to change, and the people who supports him aren’t going to have an epiphany and suddenly believe that Joe Biden is a better alternative to Trump.
In the coming election the focal point will be about who manages to mobilize people and get them to vote. Nobody becomes president of the United States of America by being the most popular, but by getting the most votes in the important states. Everything is about mobilizing.
My biggest fear is that the polls in the coming months show that Joe Biden has a large chance of winning the election. Trump would do anything to increase his popularity, or force Americans to get in line behind him. A war with an external enemy is a known trick, maybe even blow the dust of some old nuclear missiles that have been idle in their silos for too long? With Trump we can’t omit anything.
This is what keeps me up at night, not the fact that he acts like a five-year-old who just lost his ice cream.
It feels outlandish to say it, but our only hope is that Trump feels save that he’ll get reelected.