It's interesting to see the sophistication of the game Trump is playing and how -- once again -- the media (and the Democratic party) is entirely missing the real story. Let's see what he's doing here:
1. In his first week, he flooded the political landscape with a series of bold, even outrageous executive orders. This leads to two effects: His voters are going to be impressed by how much he got done and how many of his promises he supposedly kept in just the first week -- unlike any politician they know. This solidifies his base, which is essential for effective ruling. Also, it shuts up his critics in his own party because everybody probably got something they liked this week.
On the other hand, it confuses his opponents. They don't know where to direct their outrage. Should you protest against the pipelines, or the Mexico wall, or the abortion funding ban, or the Obamacare repeal?
2. Then he does something that is purposely designed to cause particularly strong emotional outrage, while keeping another campaign promise: Banning immigration from certain Muslim countries (fun side fact: The Trump administration didn't come up with the specific list of countries. It was established by the DHS under Obama).
This is of course hitting many people on a deeply emotional level (including myself -- I'm an immigrant too), and it has the additional media-friendly advantage of automatically coming with sad, personal stories about individuals who got affected by this ban. Perfect fodder for TV, wonderfully distracting.
The effect: Remember the pipeline outrage from a few days ago? No, probably not, because now there's something much stronger (emotionally) to get outraged about. Over time this will lead to outrage fatigue and people will only get angry about the most radical actions, if even that.
3. The travel ban as well as several of the other actions are designed to be particularly strong opening statements in a negotiation. That's unlike what politicians normally do, but it's very much what Trump the business man is used to: Anchor really high, then accommodate the other side a bit, and in the end you will get much more than if you had proposed a reasonable compromise from the beginning. Presidents try to be at least somewhat inclusive, real estate moguls try to get whatever they can. Spoiler: Trump is the latter.
So we shouldn't be too surprised if Trump would backpedal a bit on several of these issues quite soon (he already has in some cases, as in who is going to pay for the wall). This does two things: His own side will believe that he got for them whatever was politically possible, and he will look strong in the process (they like strong). His opponents will feel they got at least a bit of a victory, which will lull them into complacency in the long run -- look, he's not that bad after all!
4. While all of this confusion is going on, he can get through with structural changes that would normally get a red light. For example, he just kicked the Director of National Intelligence (the intelligence community Trump supposedly likes so much) and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (you know, the military) off the National Security Council, replacing them with his political appointees, including Steve Bannon. Under normal circumstances this would cause outrage, but now we're too busy watching sad reports about Iraqi refugees stranded at JFK.
The bottom line is that Trump is playing an entirely different game than his opponents. That's how he won the election and that's how he's now cementing his power.
What's the solution? Not the usual political game. People who are professional politicians and depend on their elected office for their livelihood and ego are not going to be able to confront Trump sufficiently. The only effective action has to come from outside of the political realm, specifically from top business leaders. But Trump isn't dumb. Why is he constantly inviting captains of industry to talk to him, outlining an economic plan that they apparently like? We shouldn't be surprised that most statements from business leaders have been quite weak. It remains to be seen if this group can muster the motivation to not just talk, but come up with the big, symbolic actions that are necessary to counter Trump's game.
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