As we pass the halfway point of President Trump’s first 100 days in office we see an administration that seems to be besieged on all sides, or at least this is the narrative that the mainstream media and Democrats would like for us to buy. They want more than anything for the administration to be seen as in disarray and chaotic. The continuous drumbeat of “Trump Bad” allows the Left to take a victory lap with every little stumble. While it appears that recent polls show Mr. Trump’s popularity is rising one would have to wonder why the Left would pursue a strategy that at its core seems to embrace divisiveness and is essentially bad for America. If you view the Trump Presidency and the Left’s stratagems for dealing with him through the periscope of Saul Allisky’s 1971 book Rules for Radicals then the picture is quite clear. Allisky’s work is a how to guide on how “Have-Notes” can gain power which describes the current Democratic party, without power. It is a collection of rules for sowing discontent, distrust and chaos and using these factors to rise to power. It is also the playbook that Democrats are using instead of legitimate ideas and policies.
Rules for Radicals
“Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood.
It seems we cannot go 10 minutes in a given news cycle without some reporting on a protest somewhere. Many of the organizations that are putting together these “spontaneous” protests are well funded political action groups. The media narrative that accompanies these protests is these are uprisings on a grand scale and it is done to trick the public into believing that the Left is the one holding the power because the people are with them. The truth is the people who are actually going out and protesting are a very tiny percentage of the population. Recent poll numbers show President Trump’s popularity is rising and that a majorities agree with the President’s policy positions.
“Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.
See my points on Rule #3.
“Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.
Rules 2 & 3 go hand in hand. It is all about appearing to be the expert and embarrassing your opposition. While the Democrats have no real shot of stopping any of Trump’s cabinet appointments there is a very real strategy behind the continuous delaying tactic that they have been using in the Senate to drag out these hearings as long as possible. The President is many things, but they cannot be a policy expert in all things. The policy experts are those individuals that they appoint to cabinet and deputy cabinet positions. These are the people that the President relies on to execute their vision and the longer they can keep the president separated from having a team he can rely on the better the chance that he will make a misstep. Since these experts do not want to publically rock the boat while undergoing confirmation hearings they will often not be sent out to speak on behalf of the President until after confirmation. This has created a perfect opportunity for the Left to engage in policy debate while the President’s experts are still sitting on the bench.
“Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.
This one requires the complicity of the media to be completely effective. We have a perfect example if we look at recent events surrounding #ObamaGate. For months it has been perfectly acceptable for left leaning media outlets to report anonymous sourced rumor and innuendo of Trump Campaign / Russian collusion. When the President unleashed a recent accusation of executive overreach by the previous administration using the very same reporting done in those articles used to attack his credibility, all of a sudden there are issues with using unnamed sources as evidence to make a claim. The worse kind of abuse of power is the double standard because one side forces their opponents to labor under a set of rules that they themselves clearly flout publicly. President Trump’s recent twitter acquisition was the “put up or shut up” heard round the world and left many mainstream media outlets tripping over themselves in an effort to distance themselves from their previous reporting.
“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.
Watch an hour of CNN or MSNBC… Pick up The New York Times… visit sites like BuzzFeed, Slate or Vox… spend some time on FaceBook or Twitter. All of these media outlets are filled with ridicule for the President, Republicans and Conservatives. It is continuous and nonstop and designed for only two purposes… create division and shame anyone supporting the right into silence. The problem I believe is that this hand has been overplayed and the character assassination attacks are losing their effectiveness. As the effectiveness of the shame attack decreases we will see a significant trend upwards of the violent attack in order to use fear to silence opposition.
“A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.
It appears when they let their leftist acolytes do their own thing they turn to violent oppression of free speech and rioting. I think this one is backfiring on the left because with social media they cannot hide the horrible behavior of those on the Left and most Americans seemed to be put off by those who saying their defending against Fascism who turn around and act just like Fascists. At this point it is going to be a long 4-8 years of protests, whining and crying.
“A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news.
This is the one area where the Left so far has been unsuccessful. This is primarily because many of the negative narratives that the Left has thrown against President Trump have failed to stick. The current media cycle has generally gone Trump makes a claim, Media denounces his claim as completely false, after fact checking turns out Trump is right or at least partially correct, Media returns to Russian collusion story. The problem is you can only run so many Russian conspiracy theories before the public begins to demand actual proof.
“Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.
It is the understatement of the year to say the President and mainstream media do not see eye to eye. In fact many would describe it more as an all-out war. The Daily Caller reports that 88% of coverage over the first 30 days of the presidency has been negative. They are continuously setting themselves as the adversary of the President in order to keep the pressure on and try to force errors on which they can write headlines. While this has been successful to a degree in keeping the anger of the base primed it has been showing signs that it is backfiring among moderate Democrats and Independents. The recent Rachel Maddow release of the Trump tax returns shows how deep their hatred of Trump is and how far they will go to bring him down. Despite the tax returns showing exactly what many suspected that Trump was rich, paid his taxes and there was no nefarious Russian plot they still tried to use it as a lever.
“The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist.
The Leftist love to go on about how Trump is destroying America. The second you begin to press them on specifics they simply retreat to the Racist, Sexist, Homophobe ect mantra. It is all about screaming loudly on how he is going to take away a person rights, but not providing the specifics because the person listening will simply fill in those details based upon their fears. The left’s strategy here is pure emotion not facts.
“The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.” It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.
It is the world’s worst kept secret that President Obama is not going to ride off into the sunset a la President Bush just because the American people gave a resounding NO to a continuation of his policies under Clinton. In fact as President Trump prepares to rip out by the roots anything resembling Obama’s legacy and it does not appear that he is willing to allow this to happen. Already reports are leaking of Obama Loyalist setting up Anti-Trump groups and web sites and his most loyal adviser Valeria Jarret has moved into his Washington D.C. home that many speculate will become the nerve center for a prolonged guerrilla campaign against the new President. This is all about creating the unceasing pressure that helps build the narrative that Trump is evil and try to force a mistake that would pull the support of his base in order to bring him down. Very Presidential of Obama to respect the will of the people.
“If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.
I think part of the reason why the Left has been silent in their condemnation of the violence we have seen from Leftist protesters is they are waiting for the Right protesters to get to a point where enough is enough. At that point when the Right strikes back they can then make a full throated condemnation of violence from the right while they conveniently forget that it has been happening for months from the other side.
“The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem.
This rule they used against Republicans as a whole. For 8 years the Republicans have been attacking ObamaCare. While the Republicans have several plans they do not have a consensus plan. This lack of ability to rally around a single plan allows Democrats to play each of the Republican factions off each other to score points because Republicans do not have a completed solution to the problem. We have some very vocal critics of the Ryan healthcare plan and while they have some very good ideas that need to be incorporated into whatever plan moves forward do not have a full plan to offer in its place. While Republican continue to fight over the details this allows Democrats to go out and resell Obamacare to America using apocalyptic language to turn them against Repeal efforts.
“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.
Look at who the Democrats viciously attack on a continuous basis. General Flynn, Senator Sessions, Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway. These are the non-establishment voices who influence his policies the most. Being non-establishment they are also the most likely to not act like traditional Republicans and cower from a media onslaught, but stand tall. These are the ones that if they removed would hurt President Trump the most, because he depends on them. While they have already managed one resignation and one recusal these character assassinations will not stop until President Trump is surrounded by establishment globalist that will fully endorse the status quo.