Donald Trump: The great instigator

Listen to this article

It used to be, in the dark ages, before the Internet, politicians used the strategy of deny, deny, deny when confronted by the media over what they said. Now that everything a politician says is recorded and easily fact-checked and then posted on social media to help jog their memories, it becomes important they learn to speak without saying anything.

Most of our traditional politicians learn to speak in broad generalities without mentioning specifics. They learn to speak against something while saying something in support of it at the same time just in case the mood of the country shifts on an issue.

Recently, Democrats in Washington, D.C. met to be trained on how to speak on issues, which I found odd considering voters are suppose to elect them based on where they stand before and not after the fact. But then this is to be expected when a guy like Donald Trump gets elected.

This brings me to his way of speaking without saying anything that can be pinned directly to him. After all, what leader wants to be held accountable for anything that the voting public or a future opponent might use against him? While Ronald Reagan may be remembered as the great communicator, a better description for Trump is the Great Instigator. Trump manages to say a lot to get people worked up without ever saying a word that the “biased” media or “liberal losers” can pin on him.

If you listen to Trump when he is not taking credit for something “really great,” he almost always prefaces his statements with a phrase that removes him from what he is saying.

“Lot’s of people, all kinds of people, come up to me all the time and they say to me _________.”

“I have heard people say, and these are lots of really good people I might add, that _________.”

“I’ve heard from people all over, now I am not saying this is true, I’m just telling you what I am hearing, that _____.”

“People ask me all the time ____________.”

“I am told by some ________.”

(Bill Hughes)

In every case, Trump will fill in the blanks with some over the top claim or flat out lie that is designed to reinforce the narrow minded, and yes, even bigoted beliefs of his mass of followers. This has two affects: It makes his believers think he is one of them while he can deny ever saying he agreed with what he just “repeated,” and it makes his detractors get pissed off which in turn adds to the divide he seeks to cash in on. In other words, he is making fools out of both sides. This is what makes him a puppet master.

Having taught for 30 years, I can’t tell you how many times I saw this play out with students. Trump gets labeled a bully when in fact, he isn’t. A bully will stand up to you directly and take your lunch money or punch you in the nose if you refuse to comply. Trump won’t do this for fear he might damage his manicured hands, not to mention get punched back.

No, he is the instigator of trouble, the one who says things to others until they do what he wants to see done.

“Johnny, I heard from others that Billy thinks you are a mama’s boy. I even heard from someone he called you a pussy. Are you going to let him get away with that?”

“Billy, you know I heard some kids talking and they are saying Johnny thinks he can kick your ass? You’re not going to back down to him, are you?

Next thing you know, a fight takes place at recess and when the teacher gets to the bottom of it, Johnny and Billy are saying they reacted to what little Donny told them. When questioned, Johnny gets loud and says, “WRONG! I never said that. I just told them what I heard. Why are you out to get me?”

So why doesn’t the media ask Trump to reveal who told him what he is repeating, even though he says he is not sure it is true, it might or might not be, but he is just letting us know what he hears? It’s simple. Just like little Donny the turd student, big Donny the POTUS would never rat out anyone and besides, he heard it from so many people he can’t give up all the names so it just would not be right to give up one or two. After all, Big Donny is a stand up guy, right?

So how does a guy like Donny boy become such a big shot if he is loathed by so many? He divides and conquers to his advantage much like he did with his 2016 presidential run. It is all he knows and let’s face it, it has worked well for him over the decades. Trump’s hands remain clean because he knows how to play people off of each other so they end up doing his dirty work. It’s what really is behind what he once called The Art of The Deal.

Here is what Big Donny has yet to learn, however. Hate might work when it comes to dividing a nation, but once you are fully in charge, it helps to be likable, just ask his predecessor who left office with far greater popularity than Trump will ever see, but whose popularity could not help an opponent who was despised equally as much as Trump. Trump is smart and he knew he could beat someone hated as much as him while knowing he stood no chance in 2012 when he flirted with a run against someone far more likable than he can ever hope to be.

Los Angeles Women’s March
(Monica Campagna)

Trump’s biggest challenge will be how does he defeat an opponent in 2020 who will in all likelihood be far more likable than Hillary? For starters, it will begin with his people identifying potential opponents early so he can set about demonizing this person while laying claim to only have repeated the vicious lies he is hearing from others, lies that he will point out the biased media refuses to report.

So how do you beat Trump? It’s easy to push his buttons as we already know, but doing so only cements his support. The best way is to tune him out. Refuse to react, just like a teacher tells the students who fell for his BS. Trump is use to pulling the strings, but when we cut our own and stop listening to his words, reacting to his followers social media posts, and just focus on Trump the person, Trump is unable to profit off of the divide he thrives on.Americans will get under his skin and force him to act out more which will only make the people who chose not to vote in 2016 realize just how much we need someone in charge who can lead rather than instigate.

This does not mean you do not fight him, you just do not engage him directly. You handle issues with your resources, whether they be court fights, political strategies, or speaking directly to your constituents, reminding them they do not need to fall for his act.

Trump can be beat, and I believe will be beat, in 2020. He can — and I think — will lose at least one if not both houses in 2018 as well, leaving him a lame duck in just his first term. And unlike a bully who will punch you in the nose, Trump will not fight a battle he knows he cannot win. If the defeat he suffers in 2018 is severe enough, he will spend his final two years planning his “really great” exit strategy and do what he does best, leave the mess for his loyal supporters to clean up.