Trump Versus the Blue Wall in Washington
Much of what Donald Trump said during the 2016 campaign seemed to be braggadocio, bombast, and on occasion, a kind of non-specific cranial buzz. Still, if you listened carefully, and ignored the ambient noise, there was always a message in most of his rhetoric -- signals that were usually lost or ignored by a smug and hostile Fourth Estate.
Immigration is a problem. The left coast and Hollywood, ironically, might fall into the sea without cheap labor and drugs from Mexico. The East Coast is little better. Washington, DC is corrupt, a haven for patronizing, condescending, elite apparatchiks, right and left.
The DNC was trying to cook the Democratic Party primaries and general election. The press, broadcast networks, CPB, and the Intelligence Community get honorable mention as sous chefs.
The Clintons are shameless frauds. Hillary is the most corrupt person ever to run for high office. Her loss is the country’s gain.
The Pentagon along with the Intelligence Community are not sacred cows; bovine, expensive, and proliferate, maybe, but not sacred.
The EU and NATO, like Swedish hippy communes, might be globalist or Utopian experiments gone horribly wrong. Allies who will not pay or play should not stay. All coalitions, like sausage, have a sell-by date.
America needs to rethink foreign policy: towards Israel, towards Europe, towards Russia, and towards an irredentist Muslim world. Ideology and culture matter.
Russian alarm about NATO expansion is justified. Demonizing Russia, or isolating it from Europe, is strategic madness.
Recent trade deals favor foreigners. America has swapped jobs, core industrial skills, agricultural and industrial safety for a pocket full of domestic mumbles.
Obama’s only real claims to legacy are a failed health care boondoggle, a Muslim world in flames, and a touch of melanin, the latter a glass half-full at best.
American media, and the Intelligence Community, are not objective reporters anymore, if they ever were. Fake partisan news and propaganda are now joint ventures. The US State Department, for example, is now, by law, the official host to an American “Ministry of Truth” funded by defense appropriations.
Trump is correct also about the Washington, DC swamp. It needs to be drained.
Sooner is better.
Signals and Noise
During the 2016 primaries and election campaign, party elites and a sycophantic media engineered a gauntlet for Trump that ran from ridicule, to contempt, to hostility, to vindictiveness. All of which are now reduced to childish tantrums. Ironically, Michelle Obama claims that the White House needs “adult” (sic) leadership. Surely, given the post-election behavior of camp Clinton/Obama and the American left, she cannot be thinking of her husband, his spokesmen, his cabinet, or the Democraticb Party.
How is the eleventh hour vote against Israel at the UN anything but juvenile or petulant rage? How is the 11th hour expulsion of Russian diplomats anything but adolescent sour grapes?
In any campaign, data and statistics are manipulated for advantage. The 2016 election might be a case study. Hard to believe that all that polling and all those statistical forecasts could have been so universally wrong without someone cooking the books.
Faint signals from the real world since the Trump victory provide anecdotal hints of a cultural sea change. Disparate icons such as Clint Eastwood and Henry Kissinger may not have been all in for Trump but both have made sober, if not optimistic, assessments of the next administration.
We know what Eastwood thinks after decades of millennial political correctness. And Dr. Kissinger says that Donald Trump represents an “extraordinary opportunity.”
The great failing of statistical analysis is that it seldom accommodates relevant factors that cannot be conveniently quantified. Such analysis will often ignore inconvenient truths, too, arithmetic that might not support expected outcomes.
Trump campaign rallies were an example. Big Trump numbers were largely ignored whilst Mrs. Clinton’s often-anemic attendance figures were seldom revealed. One day in Florida, a couple of Tim Kaine rallies had to be cancelled due to an interest deficit while a Trump rally a few miles away was drawing thousands.
The national TV networks could not believe their lying eyes. Minor anti-Trump protests might make the evening news, but huge enthusiasm gaps were seldom covered in any detail. Every good spin master knows that books are cooked with two sets of numbers, select facts and facts that are ignored altogether.
The old saw that claims “figures don’t lie, but liars still figure” comes to mind. Just as the Fourth Estate missed or misconstrued numbers and facts in the campaign, there are now some significant signals in post-election statistics, numbers that team Trump ignore at their peril.
Blue Wall Moves To Washington
The District of Columbia and surrounding bedroom communities in Virginia and Maryland supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 by wide margins. This is the federal government demographic: bureaucrats, contractors, and a host of camp followers living off the taxpayer dime.
The socialist heart of the left is still beating in Big Brother’s crib. Neither Pennsylvania Avenue nor the District of Columbia and suburbs are Trump country.
Mythology runs neck-to-neck with fake news in Washington. The non-partisan myth is the most pervasive, the shibboleth that suggests that the civil service, Foreign Service, the Intelligence Community, or defense officials are impartial, political eunuchs. In fact, the size of the federal behemoth, deficit spending and debt, is a function of entrenched socialist illusions, a bond that unites both political parties.
Bigger is always better inside the Beltway. Few souls get to, or thrive in, any federal office by arguing for less of anything.
District of Columbia voting habits are probative. Over 90 percent of the presidential vote in 2016 went to Democrats. Less than one in ten supported Trump. The District is half white and half black, yet both liberal demographics preferred Hillary Clinton. When Trump comes to town, the Beltway will be the new blue wall of active/passive political aggressors; a blue wall of press, politicians, apparatchiks, non-profits, lobbies, and associated contractors.
The DC civil service cohort and associated camp followers are many things. Good loser isn’t one of them. Trump has his work cut out in the capital and it begins with bureaucratic hostility and inertia.
Still, the president elect has the edge coming in. His critics continue to underestimate or misconstrue Trump and his game. Trump plays politics like the Patriots play football.
The best defense is good offensive -- and stout leadership.
Trump’s early appointments are significantly offensive! The generals have landed. No accident that Marines are leading the charge. Battles to breach the new blue wall, the DC Beltway, and “make America great again,” will require more than a little hand-to-hand street fighting.
A new year indeed! Whether or not 2017 is “happy,” remains to be seen.
Nevertheless, America says God speed to the Trump beachhead and Semper Fidelis to those valiant centurions on point in DC.
Take no prisoners!
G. Murphy Donovan is a former military Intelligence officer who writes about the politics of national security.