(My Eastern New Mexico News column from June 21, 2017- posted in its entirety now that the paper's exclusivity has expired)
Besides being an experienced negotiator, I'm beginning to suspect President Trump might be an excellent magician. Or, at least an expert in misdirection.
He gets observers to focus on one hand's flamboyant flourishes, while doing the work he wants to accomplish with the hand they aren't paying attention to.
If you don't believe this, notice how he says and does trivial, even silly, things which get all the attention. While people are laughing at him, he is doing things which could impact the future, for better or worse, mostly under the radar. Perhaps he doesn't do this on purpose, but I wouldn't bet on it.
His self-created caricature has become the focus of attention, probably just as he wishes it to be. After all, if no one takes you seriously, they won't pay attention to everything you're up to. If you can get them to worry about the wrong things-- things they have been tricked into worrying about-- you can get away with almost anything.
His posts on Twitter are a case in point. Not just the "covfefe" brier patch his opponents threw him in, but all the rest as well. People focus so much on the pointless things he writes there that he is able to work on his real agenda pretty much unseen by the population. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on the particular bullies you prefer to have trying to run your life.
Those of us who prefer to keep all the bullies at bay, regardless of the particular flavor of their bullying, are a tiny minority.
He also manages to entice his enemies into doing things which show them in the worst possible light. Just by fanning the flames of their hatred, and by not being the president they had been assured they were going to be blessed with. To get your opponents to humiliate themselves without you having to lift a finger is almost a superpower. I wish I could do the same; it would save so much time and effort!
Maybe none of this is intentional on his part. Maybe he is just lucky. Maybe his opponents are simply incompetent. It's not beyond the realm of possibility.
For me, sitting outside this "Red State vs. Blue State" civil war, it's an interesting show. It's like watching all those who want to destroy your liberty tangling themselves in barbed wire while fighting amongst themselves. There is something very satisfying about it.