Trump’s young administration is probably the leakiest I can imagine. Every move he makes is leaked days in advance. The text of calls between heads of state is made public. The details of his first combat death are public knowledge. I follow a few twitter accounts that claim to be rogue staff, and their tweets have made some predictions that turned out to be very accurate, such as the name of the Supreme Court nominee, or that he is planning on signing another executive order that will reduce the rights of LGBTQ people. What do we make of this?
From time to time, I find myself listening to conspiracy theorists. Not for the data, or to gawk, but to look at a side of human psychology that isn’t always on display. People get into conspiracies for a lot of reasons, but the biggest one is probably a desire for there to be some plan behind the apparent randomness of our world. And the only thing better than there being a plan is being one of the few people who see it. In the words of Gotham’s most famous criminal, “As long as there’s a plan, nobody panics.” What does this have to do with Trump’s leaky ship?
I can see two reasons for all the leaks. The first is that the administration is incompetent. Maybe it’s because it’s built entirely on governmental newbies. Maybe they just don’t care. Maybe they are actually as dumb as they’ve been saying they are. But if that’s the case then leaks make sense. The administration simply can’t stop them. But the other reason is that it’s part of a master plan to accomplish something else entirely. The end-goal is unclear. Maybe it’s to turn the US into a fascist state. Maybe it’s to maneuver the US into strong negotiating positions. Who knows. But in both cases, there is reason for optimism.
If the administration is incompetent, that’s bad news in the short term, but good news in the longer term. Making such obviously bad decisions will make the correct decisions more obvious. But if these leaks are the part of a larger plan, it means that there is a plan. I don’t think that Trump actually wants to bring about the end of days. So if he has a plan, and these leaks are a part of it, then there’s a chance this chaos will lead to some kind of new stability. The conspiracy theorists may be right.
It isn’t hard to find theories about both options all over the place. And the general attitude, especially among Trump detractors, is that of despair. But in either case, after this storm passes we will thrive. That doesn’t make this storm any easier to bare, but it does change our perspective slightly, and I take some solace from that.