(Editor’s Note: This is another in our ongoing series of guest columns on current events. Rudyard “Duke” Milhaus of the Sports Desk is well-known for his passionate commitment to objective journalism. Unfortunately, due to his exhausting schedule of hands-on research into America’s prisons and substance abuse problems, this is the only picture of him we can find.)
Have you ever tried to bargain with someone? To dicker? You know, tried to get the best deal on a car, or something else that’s flexible in price? How you do it is, you start out with an extreme offer, then slowly work your way to a price that’s more in the middle ground, somewhere between what they want to get and what you want to pay.
Our current president does just that. His speeches are about the extreme offer, and then his actual policies and proposals are more towards the middle ground. It’s pretty ingenious in its own way, but not surprising coming from a businessman. His critics see a softening of tone, one they can begrudgingly accept, while his advocates see him as being reasonable and trying to work with the other team. It’s a win-win for him — and hopefully for our country as a whole.
Let’s take for instance his policy on illegal immigrants. He started by stating he wanted to deport all of them. He’s now wanting to deport the criminal elements while trying to get a path to citizenship for the law-abiding ones. What can the opposition say? No, they don’t want a path to citizenship for law-abiding people? That they want to keep criminal elements within our borders, people who have no right to be here under current law? They are backed into a corner with no real choice; it’s either accept the offer or look foolish. It’s a genius play on a volatile topic.
The other thing is, he’s staying in bounds through all this; he’s keeping inside the rules. A court struck down his one order, and yes he complained about it, but his next step was to write a new order that follows the court’s limits. It’s all about give and take.
Trump’s done this plenty of times, and I’m pretty sure you’re aware of it. My point is, how many times are we gonna hear something like, “He’s an asshole that cares nothing about others!” only to find out later that he was just negotiating? Now I freely admit he’s not perfect, not at all warm and fuzzy, and I don’t think everything he says and does is Great, but ya got to admit, he does a few things very well. Like negotiating policy.
Another thing he does is manipulating a topic to drive the national conversation. He says and does outrageous things to get a feel for the atmosphere surrounding the topic. Then, when everything’s out there, he works toward a plan that’s best suited to be effective as well as to please as many people as possible. We all know you can’t please everyone, but by having so many voice their opinions he can do what’s best for the majority.
He gets people to engage, even those who have never done so before, by doing what he does best: Driving the conversation. Sit back, watch the over-the-top quarterback sneak, then the Hail Mary play to put his policy over the goal line. Even a rookie player can see this, but it gets everyone fired up and engaged. This is what we need — more voices, and better still, with good reason to believe they’re being heard.
Very few presidents have heard the voices of our people. As a result, voters have felt ignored, uncared for, left to flounder on their own. What President Trump is doing is, he’s showing he hears us. Now, let’s all hope he calls the right plays to set things straight.
(Image credit Garry Trudeau and Amazon.com, where you can buy Doonesbury books like this one. Which you should, though maybe not in the pristine yet expensive hardcover edition. Your call. In any event, I should mention that Garry Trudeau did not write this article under a pseudonym.)