Trump And The Smoke And Mirrors Presidency

From his immigration policies to his census fight, Trump only cares about the appearance he's fighting for his base, not actually accomplishing anything.
Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Donald Trump is the greatest con man in American history. That’s been established by his career and further confirmed by his presidency. As a businessman, Trump convinced the American people he was self-made and successful while he was losing billions of dollars, taking his companies bankrupt six times, and inheriting $413 million from his father.

As President, Trump has convinced his base that he is an effective leader through symbolic executive orders, lies, and the false perception that he is fighting for them and making progress. This week was no different.

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Today, President Trump held a press conference with Attorney General William Barr to announce his next move when it comes to putting the citizenship question on the 2020 Census. After speculation that he would add the question via executive order, Trump backed down on his effort to defy the Supreme Court’s ruling on the matter. Trump has claimed he will seek that data through other means, but this is all in an effort to show his base that he is not giving up, when in reality, he is.

President Trump has ordered the raid of at least 2,000 undocumented immigrants this Sunday. The effort is obviously an attempt to show his base he is tackling the issue of illegal immigration head-on. But this is far from a comprehensive immigration strategy. In fact, moves like these are meant to distract from the fact his other policies, like cutting off aid to Central American countries and metering at the border, actually contribute to the migration crisis.

Let’s be real: President Trump doesn’t actually want to solve the border crisis, he wants to inflame it. The perception of a crisis and the appearance of a fight is the fear-mongering bait he wants to turn out his base in 2020. Trump is a predictable demagogue.

There are plenty of other examples like those mentioned above. Some of President Trump’s favorite tactics are taking credit for things the previous administration accomplished, making it appear progress is being made when there is none, and acting as if progress was made on something previously agreed upon.

Last year, President Trump claimed he got NATO nations to agree to increase their defense commitment to 2% of their GDP (that was already previously agreed upon in 2014 according to NATO’s own joint communique). Last month, Trump claimed he cut a groundbreaking deal with Mexico to avoid tariffs. It turns out the deal consisted of provisions that were already previously agreed upon.

President Trump has signed executive orders that later were proven un-acted upon, announced new auto jobs that were later lost, and promises that there is a wall being built when in reality, it’s not. Trump claims he gave a tax cut to his base, but he actually just signed tax cuts that disproportionately helped the richest 1% of Americans.

Most recently, President Trump met with North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un on the North Korean border. Trump sought to make it appear he was making diplomatic progress, but all he really did was give Kim Jong-un more legitimacy and a propaganda victory.

Of course, President Trump keeps his based convinced of his alternate reality through loyal right-wing media and a steady stream of disinformation on his Twitter feed. Trump’s campaign slogan for 2020 is “Promises Made, Promises Kept”. The reality is closer to “Promises Made, People Conned”.

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Opinion // 2020 / Donald Trump / Economy / Republican Party