Trump is a master of manipulation. It really is amazing how good he is at it. It’s easy to overlook, because the only way anyone notices it is because he does the same thing again and again, and any one example looks like the ranting of a crazy person. And they all may in fact be, but his success rate is so good that it’s very dangerous to disregard him as a lunatic, as Hillary Clinton recently found out. We may not be able to see into his mind, but by examining his techniques, we may get a few hints.
The most recent example is his remarks on healthcare reform. Currently, the republican congress is busy dismantling the democrats’ signature accomplishments. Anyone who benefitted from those reforms should be busy hiding under their bed in fear. 20 million people have health insurance now. And we all benefit from those people getting timely medical care, rather than waiting till they’re on their death bed, or going to the emergency room for a flu. For my part, I imagine this is how a rape victim feels. I knew it was coming, but I hoped I was wrong, and now all I can do is wait for it to end, and try to pick up the pieces afterwards. But then here comes Trump. Just this morning every news source I read said that Trump was going to make sure that everyone had health insurance. And it would be cheaper and better.
This is so deceptively brilliant. It’s so easy to write this off as the rantings of a crazy person, but look what it accomplishes. First off, we already have a governmental example of health insurance for all. It’s called Medicare. And it’s pretty popular. So, to a guy like me, it looks like Trump just endorsed the idea of Medicare for all. An idea I can get behind. Second it set a bar for the republican party to hit. If they can’t create a plan that actually accomplishes this, they will look like failures, but Trump will walk away with clean hands. Third, it distracts from the republican’s years of utter failure to offer a plan that can compete with Obamacare’s successes. So in a few statements that appear to be off the cuff, Trump gives hope to all the people who voted against him. He set up his own future success, regardless of what Congress actually accomplishes. And he completely reframed the conversation about Obamacare’s removal.
The other thing to realize here is that Trump’s words, while they absolutely change how we all see reality, don’t actually change reality itself. It’s entirely possible, even likely, that Trump hasn’t even spoken to congressional leaders about what plans will come out. And that he has no idea of what Obamacare even does, let alone how to replace it. He’s been wrong many, many times before. But he changes the conversation for today, and that appears to be his goal. What that means for how he actually thinks is a subject for another post.