It’s blatantly clear what Trump is doing to appear to be a “winner”.
He has used the same plays from the same propaganda playbook over and over.
Here’s how it goes:
1. He makes grand, hyped-up statements on topics as if nobody has ever thought of them before…only he is smart enough to recognize the problems. (illegal immigration, the wall, North Korea, Obamacare, NATO spending, biased media, etc.) Usually these statements are a wild mix of a small element of fact, massive inaccuracies, and a strong helping of utter nonsense and BS.
2. He raises the ante on the statements by making absurd, controversial statements and tweets in order to raise the level of media attention on them.
3. He gets his propaganda minions to rile up the supporters about the issue (Fox News, Rush, Hannity, etc.).
4. Once the “remedy” has been completed (a new law, a meeting, an executive order, a nomination, etc), no matter how it turns out, he frames it as a huge, historic action that vindicates his entire absurd, controversial comments and claims victory that nobody but him could achieve.
5. His supporters lap it up.
Let’s take a look at the NATO summit as an example of this.
1. Trump has been blustering about how the United States has been taken advantage of by the other NATO members for years, essentially paying way more than our fair share. He states over and over that most NATO members have not been paying their NATO bills and now owe the United States for back payments. See my editorial from yesterday for the reality of the situation.
2. At the start of the NATO summit, he specifically and pointedly attacked Germany (and accused them of being a captive of Russia) and demanded that all NATO members increase their spending to at least 2% of GDP immediately (and suggested increasing that to 4%), rather than by 2024 as previously agreed upon. This hyped up the rhetoric and received the increased media attention that he desires.
3. On cue, his minions in the media bolstered and validated all of his claims, so that his supporters were all aboard his crazy train.
4. The meeting was completed and Trump claimed to have single-handedly convinced the other NATO members to do exactly as he demanded (immediately increase their defense spending) and he claimed victory in his position and his methods. Of course, only he was able to get these NATO members to do something that all previous Presidents have failed to do.
5. His supporters cheer and notch it up as another great Trump win.
But there is a big problem in this narrative. In reality, Trump changed absolutely nothing. The only thing the other NATO members agreed to at the meeting was that they would continue to increase their spending to reach the goal of 2% of GDP by 2024…the exact same agreement they had made 4 years ago in 2014, and exactly what they have been doing since then. They did not agree to a stated increase in the timeline, and they did not agree to increase the 2% goal to 4%.
In other words, nothing changed.
But that doesn’t stop Trump from boisterously and arrogantly claiming that he (and only he) was able to fix things at NATO and he is so very pleased that the other NATO members agreed to his demands (they did not).
The exact same thing happened with North Korea, with Obamacare, with the wall, with taxes and spending, with the economy, and with just about every other claimed victory from Trump.
It’s all hyped-up BS. Nothing has real substance.
He’s all hyped-up BS. He has no real substance.
Every one of those other NATO members know this. North Korea knows this. And Putin knows this. Heck, even his own staff knows this.
Yet his supporters just can’t seem to grasp it. It’s an amazing phenomenon to witness.
The bottom line is that the President of the United States stood up in front of the world and lied about what transpired at the NATO meeting. His supporters either believe those lies or do not care about them, and I don’t know which is worse.