Friday, July 24, 2020

Trump's domestic wag-the-dog campaign strategy meant to divide Americans from each other

He blames the wrong people for violence in the streets. And that is another instance of Trump’s failures caused by his incredible, monumental incompetence amplified by his pathological narcisissm.

Thomas Friedman (NY Times) reports on Trump’s Wag-the-Dog War. The president is looking for a dangerous domestic enemy to fight.

Some presidents, when they get into trouble before an election, try to “wag the dog” by starting a war abroad. Donald Trump seems ready to wag the dog by starting a war at home. Be afraid — he just might get his wish.

(Thanks to Editor-at-Large Sherry for this tip.)

Charlie Sykes (bulwark.com) weighs in: “Sadly, I don’t think Thomas Friedman is wrong here.”

How did we get here? Well, when historians summarize the Trump team’s approach to dealing with the coronavirus, it will take only a few paragraphs:

“They talked as if they were locking down like China. They acted as if they were going for herd immunity like Sweden. They prepared for neither. And they claimed to be superior to both. In the end, they got the worst of all worlds — uncontrolled viral spread and an unemployment catastrophe.

“And then the story turned really dark.

“As the virus spread, and businesses had to shut down again and schools and universities were paralyzed as to whether to open or stay closed in the fall, Trump’s poll numbers nose-dived. Joe Biden opened up a 15-point lead in a national head-to-head survey.

“So, in a desperate effort to salvage his campaign, Trump turned to the Middle East Dictator’s Official Handbook and found just what he was looking for, the chapter titled, ‘What to Do When Your People Turn Against You?’

“Answer: Turn them against each other and then present yourself as the only source of law and order.”

Friedman has a lengthy analysis of how this played out in Syria.

America blessedly is not Syria, yet, but Trump is adopting the same broad approach that Bashar al-Assad did back in 2011, when peaceful protests broke out in the southern Syrian town of Dara’a, calling for democratic reforms; the protests then spread throughout the country.

Read the whole thing in the NYT.

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