Why Does Trump Keep Doing This?

Does Trump understand democracy? I’m really asking.

His approach to politics is combative — kill-or-be-killed. If you hit him, he will hit you back harder, no matter what the rules of the game are.

That might be a great strategy in a WWE ring. It’s less good in life.

Trump gives demeaning and sometimes racist (“Pocahontas”) nicknames to political opponents. He never apologizes, even when he has been caught admitting to sexual misconduct with women (and been accused of plenty more by a host of women) or making fun of a disabled person.

He appears to believe you are either the winner or the loser, and he must be the winner. His only strategy has been brute force. And he doesn’t seek out solutions in which all parties win.

This approach has been very destructive on the policy front. But it’s not clear whether it’s going to work for him in the long term.

He kicked off his reign with a host of executive orders attempting to strong-arm the government into bending to his will while bypassing Congress. He silences climate scientists. He appointed Betsey DeVos.

After being investigated for collusion with Russia, he appears to have attempted to pressure Ukraine into digging up dirt on his political opponent in the next election.

And now we find out that he pressured the prime minister of Australia to help his attorney general, William Barr,discredit the Mueller investigation.

Does he not understand how the government works? He seems to be missing some key lessons about the Constitution, Congress, and oversight.

I am not suggesting that it would be better if he enacted his platform of climate denial and opposing immigration through more shrewd, yet Constitutional means. I would like to see more compromise, moderation, and humaneness in how this administration operates.

I don’t wish for him to be more competent at achieving an agenda I believe is harmful. However, I am somewhat baffled at why the sitting president of the United States repeatedly attempts to circumvent democracy even after getting politically dragged for it.

Perhaps that’s because, up to a certain point, it’s working. The man’s still president. He’s getting at least some of his agenda accomplished, even if it’s only in the form of stalling progress on fighting climate change and other forms of throwing wrenches into anything he doesn’t like.

And he gets to meet world leaders and feel very important. (Reportedly the clever ones have figured that making him feel important is a useful tactic for manipulating him.)

He still gets crowds of adoring fans at rallies — even if the host city’s government simultaneously publishes a statement opposing him.

Donald Trump’s presidency feels like a test to push the limits of our Constitution, to find its weaknesses, and see if it truly protects the liberties and principles it was designed to protect.

Personally, I’m ready to be done waiting with baited breath to see if the Constitution holds up to these assaults. It would be less exhausting to trust that we had a leader who believed in it.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
November 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Meet Ukraine: America’s Newest “Strategic Ally”
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Frankenstein Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Ukraine in the Membrane
Jonathan Steele
The OPCW and Douma: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Accused of Evidence-Tampering by Its Own Inspectors
Kathleen Wallace
A Gangster for Capitalism: Next Up, Bolivia
Andrew Levine
Get Trump First, But Then…
Thomas Knapp
Trump’s Democratic Critics Want it Both Ways on Biden, Clinton
Ipek S. Burnett
The United States Needs Citizens Like You, Dreamer
Michael Welton
Fundamentalism as Speechlessness
David Rosen
A Century of Prohibition
Nino Pagliccia
Morales: Bolivia Suffers an Assault on the Power of the People
Dave Lindorff
When an Elected Government Falls in South America, as in Bolivia, Look For a US Role
John Grant
Drones, Guns and Abject Heroes in America
Clark T. Scott
Bolivia and the Loud Silence
Manuel García, Jr.
The Truthiest Reality of Global Warming
Ramzy Baroud
A Lesson for the Palestinian Leadership: Real Reasons behind Israel’s Arrest and Release of Labadi, Mi’ri
Charles McKelvey
The USA “Defends” Its Blockade, and Cuba Responds
Louis Proyect
Noel Ignatiev: Remembering a Comrade and a Friend
John W. Whitehead
Casualties of War: Military Veterans Have Become America’s Walking Wounded
Patrick Bond
As Brazil’s ex-President Lula is Set Free and BRICS Leaders Summit, What Lessons From the Workers Party for Fighting Global Neoliberalism?
Alexandra Early
Labor Opponents of Single Payer Don’t  Speak For Low Wage Union Members
Pete Dolack
Resisting Misleading Narratives About Pacifica Radio
Edward Hunt
It’s Still Not Too Late for Rojava
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Why Aren’t Americans Rising up Like the People of Chile and Lebanon?
Nicolas Lalaguna
Voting on the Future of Life on Earth
Jill Richardson
The EPA’s War on Science Continues
Lawrence Davidson
The Problem of Localized Ethics
Richard Hardigan
Europe’s Shameful Treatment of Refugees: Fire in Greek Camp Highlights Appalling Conditions
Judith Deutsch
Permanent War: the Drive to Emasculate
David Swanson
Why War Deaths Increase After Wars
Raouf Halaby
94 Well-Lived Years and the $27 Traffic Fine
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Coups-for-Green-Energy Added to Wars-For-Oil
Andrea Flynn
What Breast Cancer Taught Me About Health Care
Negin Owliaei
Time for a Billionaire Ban
Binoy Kampmark
Business as Usual: Evo Morales and the Coup Condition
Bernard Marszalek
Toward a Counterculture of Rebellion
Brian Horejsi
The Benefits of Environmental Citizenship
Brian Cloughley
All That Gunsmoke
Graham Peebles
Why is there so Much Wrong in Our Society?
Jonah Raskin
Black, Blue, Jazzy and Beat Down to His Bones: Being Bob Kaufman
John Kendall Hawkins
Treason as a Lifestyle: I’ll Drink to That
Manuel García, Jr.
Heartrending Antiwar Songs
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Poetry and Political Struggle: The Dialectics of Rhyme
Ben Terrall
The Rise of Silicon Valley
David Yearsley
Performance Anxiety