Wittingly or Not, Trump is Setting Up a Sept. 29 Rope-a-Dope for a GOP Dream Ticket — and It Could Work

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Trump is acting in a way that could lead to a GOP Presidential victory -- but without him.

Trump is acting in a way that could lead to a GOP Presidential victory — but without him.

Something doesn’t make sense about the recent Trump campaign, even by the Trump campaign’s own meager standards.  That makes me suspicious that a scenario that I first raised on June 11 could be coming true.  Call this the “Trump as Muhammad and Jesus” hypothesis.  (You’ll see what I mean in a few minutes; it’s probably not what you think.)  Put these facts together and see where you go.

  1. With 14 Weeks Left Until the Election, Trump is Acting Increasingly Bizarre

    The key word here is “increasingly.”  It’s true that much of what Donald Trump accused of saying recently has been willfully misconstrued by his critics in both parties and the press [Footnote 1].  That’s ok with him; it bolstering his anti-elite persecution complex that he can use to turn out the anti-Establishment vote.  But his attack on the Khan family is both unnecessary (he doesn’t need to gin up the anti-Muslim vote more; he’s already got it) and bizarre (he’s going to lose pro-military votes attacking a Gold Star family, and the more that comes out about the amazing and courageous Captain Humayun Khan, the worse he’s going to look.)

  2. His Antics are Leading the Clinton Campaign and Other Critics to Focus on His Personality, Not Policies

    It certainly feels like campaigning against Trump is shooting a fish in a barrel, doesn’t it?  That’s because there are plenty of great attacks on him for the asking — but by far most of those attacks are fundamentally personal.  He’s a boor, he’s a sociopath, he’s an ass.  In other words: as this fight goes on, he seems increasingly vulnerable.  He can’t respond cogently to his critics.  They are starting to get overconfident.  In boxing, this pretty much describes the famous “rope-a-dope” strategy of Muhammad Ali — that’s the Muhammad referenced in the hypothesis — where he let his opponent punch away against him ineffectively for round after round while he conserved his strength until he could come back full-strength at the end and knock out his fatigued opponent who, people usually don’t think to add, had frittered away his time.  [Footnote 2]

  3. The Personal Attacks on Trump Would Not Transfer to Mike Pence, Who Clearly Dislikes Trump’s Antics

    I’m not the first to note that Hillary is really going hard against Trump on character issues.  She’s putting pretty much all of her eggs in that basket, blurring the distinctions on issues enough to where the Democrats in Philadelphia looked like a traditional Republican Party convention in their over-the-top expressions of patriotism and admiration and deference for the military.  But those character attacks would not likely transfer to Mike Pence, who has had such a sickly half-smile as he’s gently distanced himself from them that it’s difficult not to empathize with him for getting himself into this position.  And Democrats are simply not going to “out-patriot” Mike Pence, if that were to be the battleground in this election.  Go watch his speech again — or for the first time, if you haven’t.  This was pure red meat for the red party.  He’s good at this sort of thing.  Too bad for the GOP that he’s being pretty much ignored by the party and media Trump critics right now!  Ted Cruz even drank his milkshake on his own featured night!  He’s out of the limelight, campaigning away, protected from intense focus on his own (quite vulnerable to anyone who looks hard enough) record, ingratiating himself to Republicans in the hopeless cause of electing Trump.  Right?  Because in the final rounds, it will Trump in the ring fighting for the championship, not him.  Right?

  4. If Trump Dropped Out of the Race and Off the Ticket on About September 29, Hillary Would Be Caught Flat-Footed

    Hillary’s whole campaign — including the September 26 debate that some expect Trump to duck — depends on Trump staying in the race.  All she has to be is better than him.  By debate night, she’ll have her strategies for the final six weeks signed and sealed — and even the slips of the TV ads for that final onslaught will probably have been delivered.  Much or all that money advantage she has will have been put into them.  She’s got a good field operation, but the content of the literature and mailers would take a week or more to change and distribute.  Luckily, Trump’s ego is too big for him to drop out of the race, right?  Even if she destroyed him, he wouldn’t believe it or acknowledge it if he did.  There’s no way that he would drop out of the race.

    Even if, perhaps after popping a bunch of niacin to get his blood flowing real good, he turned beet red in response to some real or imagined affront of hers against him — and then staggered and dropped to the floor, Melania and his children frantically running up onto the stage — while Hillary staring at him with an expression that, whether it was confused or calm or angry or frightened or sympathetic or God forbid an eyeroll, would be roundly criticized as having been totally Wrong WRONG WRONG for the moment (because she’s Hillary and she’s vulnerable to that) — and a hush came over the crowd while the anchors’ heads exploded and nobody could talk about what had happened before then, and omigod is he dead?, and no, it looks like he just moved his hand, and someone finds Mike Pence and asks him for a comment and he only utters a shattered prayer, and Eric and Donald Jr. take their massive father whose arms are thrown over their shoulders and drag him into the wings, and there’s no definitive word for a day, two days, with discussion of cardiac and stroke and it’s the freaking Kennedy Assassination times 9/11 all over again, and there’s nothing right that Hillary can say and every social media comment wishing Trump ill ever is trotted out across the TV screens and monitors and Google watches and Times Square, and word comes that condition upgraded to “guarded” and “weak but responsive” and “able to communicate” and “Reince Priebus and Michael Pence will be visiting him this morning” and he’s staying in the race and he’s dropping out of the race and we’re frankly not sure if he’s staying in or getting out of the race and — well, it’s just great for Hillary that Donald Trump is too selfish and egotistical ever to even consider pulling his chestnuts out of the fire that way, right?  Right?

    Of course, it wouldn’t have to be that dramatic — or even that pre-planned.  But Trump would eventually figure out, if he hadn’t already, that his political illness was nothing that a grave medical diagnosis couldn’t cure.  The rest is details.

  5. Maybe Trump is Less Selfish Than We Think

    But let’s go back to the scenario.  Imagine: on Thursday, Sept. 29 at noon Eastern Time, Reince Priebus comes to the microphone in a hastily assembled (but delayed enough to let everybody get there) press conference at the nearest and grandest Trump Hotel and announces that the RNC Executive Committee has accepted a compromise proposal that Donald Trump Jr. conveyed to him and Pence in his father’s hospital bed, with his father ashen but able to whisper into Junior’s ear and alert enough to give the thumb’s up when the visitors’ eyes focus on him to confirm whether it is true.  “He’s willing to drop out of the race — but he’d want Ivanka to be VP” was the message, and Priebus chortles inwardly without showing it and says “we can do that” without even asking Pence, who has no choice but to agree, and who immediately sees the wisdom in having let Trump twist his arm to the benefit of his loving, lovely, loved, and much more competent and interested in governing daughter.  His daughter turns 35 in October and will have been eligible to become President for half a month before Election Day.  Because nobody would believe that Trump, if he’s well enough to attend the inauguration (as he would be), would have given away the chance to be President without making sure that there was something big in it for him.  And there would be.  He would not get creamed by Hillary.  He would have saved his (sort-of) party.  The fruit of his loins would be in the White House.  And his family name would be celebrated, especially when Ivanka herself would become the first woman President before age 45.

    And so, by intensifying the pain that he personally experiences — the humiliation of these unfair press attacks! It’s like being crucified, really! — Trump takes the sins of his party and its voters onto himself and just dies (politically) making him into what is in his opinion a modern version of Jesus — aping his final moments: “I’ve suffered so much!  But I forgive you!  You know not what you do!”  He’s willing to make the ultimate sacrifice (giving up the Presidency, that is) for the greater glory of … himself.  And Ivanka.

  6. Could Pence Win With Ivanka on the Ticket?  And How Could We Prevent This?

    Well, what’s Pence missing as a top-of-the-ticket candidate?  He’s really really conservative.  Ivanka isn’t — but she’d still benefit from her father’s cachet — where that matters.  He’s a white, male, handsome (in his way) Christian.  She’s white, female, attractive — and don’t forget Jewish!  She’d be the youngest person on either ticket by over 20 years; easily relatable for youth voters.  She’s been through the problems of a woman in the workplace — her sexual harassment history just now came up for some reason — and the problems of dealing with a dopey sexist and two chips off of the old blockhead as her brothers.  Relatable?  Sure.  Could get up to speed to become President if necessary?  Well — more so than her father!  And she’s a quick study and a good speaker.  She’d balance the ticket well.  And no one could complaint TOO loudly because, of course, this was Trump’s deathbed wish (although he did later recover.)  With months of lead time, the Clinton campaign could come up with a way to tarnish her.  But: less than six weeks, with everyone flying around in a state of confusion and the inability to truly lay waste to someone who almost just lost her father, for God’s sake! — I think that she’d have serious trouble.

    How could we prevent this?  I don’t know.  Hillary won’t step down, that’s for sure.  But our being prepared for disaster would be a start.  And I’m putting it out here partly to make it less likely than it will happen — because that would be plagiarism!

  7. Do I Think Trump is Implementing This Intentionally?

    No.  but he doesn’t need to.  He’s lucky.

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[Footnote 1]

  • His “solicitation” to the Russians to hack Hillary’s (long closed down) home-based server was not “treason”; he was using the fact that Russia might have the “missing” emails as a way to keep alive the story that Hillary was irresponsible
  • He did not assert that Hillary is actually “the Devil,” but only placed her in that position within the bounds of the metaphor “made a deal with the Devil”

[Footnote 2]

  • In his “Rumble in the Jungle” fight in Zaire against George Foreman, Ali lay helplessly against the ropes with his arms in front of him, sacrificing his arms to block every Foreman punch against his stomach, chest, and head.  This made the substantially older (in boxing terms) Ali look incredibly weak and was actually embarrassing to watch .  That is, until Ali shook off his stupor and suddenly burst off the ropes against the tiring Foreman — Ali could feel the pace and strength of Foreman’s punches weakening — at close to full strength, knocking him out.  Looking like he was losing was part of Ali’s strategy.
  • Now, the analogy between boxing and a Presidential election is weak, because Ali had to finish off the fight himself to take the championship.  There was no “tag team” opportunity like in pro wrestling — with which Trump was long involved as a celebrity.  But what if the match had been a tag-team fight?

 


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)