Trump Is Redefining Newton’s Laws of Motion

Remember physics class, either in high school or college? Calculators or slide rules, depending on your age. And Newton’s laws of motion. All stemming from a fortuitous apple falling from a tree.

What does physics have to do with Donald Trump? He may talk about knowing more than his generals, but I’ve not heard him brag about any prowess in physics. Newton’s laws of motion are based on repeated and reproducible observations and are accepted as scientific truth. They could easily be applied to Washington, DC and President Trump.

Motion simply applies to the movement of objects. In Newton’s day, these were everyday objects; a ball, a wagon, a large stone. Motion can also be applied to Trump. Constant motion. Six campaign events in a single day. A slew of executive orders during the first weeks of his presidency. Long days, not on the golf course, but in the Oval Office, implementing all that he promised during the campaign.

Newton’s first law describes inertia, meaning that an object maintains its current state, either in motion or sitting still, until or unless it is forced to change due to the application of some outside force. The inertia can be to remain still or to keep going in the same direction at approximately the same speed.

How does inertia apply to Washington, DC? Barack Obama was elected in 2008, offering “hope and change”, a new and outside force changing the inertia of the eight-year Bush presidency. The Democrats controlled the White House and Congress, providing a powerful force to move an object that appeared stuck and not moving, healthcare delivery. Hence Obamacare.

After two years, America didn’t like the new direction of the country and the Democrat inertia which controlled almost all the levers of power. A new force was applied, specifically the Tea Party, to alter the existing inertia. The Democrat agenda was certainly slowed, but not stopped.

Other items remained standing still, despite this new external force of a Republican-controlled Congress. Obamacare repeal, tax relief, suffocating regulations, open borders, reckless immigration, politicized federal agencies, and so on.

Finally, the voters said enough and applied a much stronger force for two purposes. To change the direction of what the Democrats put in motion and to start moving things that were stuck. Positive inertia. The new force was Donald Trump. Without him, policies in motion would continue moving in the same direction and policies not moving at all would continue to collect dust.

Newton’s second law of motion states that when a force acts on an object the object will accelerate. Apply the same pushing force to a wagon and it will go from standing still to moving, the speed increasing as long as the push continues.

Eight years of Obama illustrated this. He pushed with a constant force. Over the years his policies and priorities accelerated. First there was politicization of the Department of Justice with Fast and Furious. Next was the IRS targeting conservative groups. Soon the FBI joined the movement with a failure to indict Hillary Clinton despite her illegal mishandling of national security information. Finally, the intelligence community joined the party attempting to undermine Trump’s presidency over unsubstantiated accusations of Russian election hacking.

If Mrs. Clinton had been elected, this force would have continued, accelerating the politicization and weaponization of the federal government against political opponents and ordinary Americans.

Friction is an opposite force resisting those forces of motion, slowing objects down. Under the Constitution, friction is the checks and balances of the three branches of government on each other. Where was this friction? In the absence of friction, an object will continue moving indefinitely once the initial force is applied, like an object moving through the vacuum of space.

Congress failed to apply much in the way of friction. The Supreme Court wouldn’t apply any friction either, with Chief Justice John Roberts twisting himself and the law into a pretzel to declare ObamaCare as constitutional. Friction, if properly applied, might have slowed or stopped the Obama agenda. Rather it was left to the voters to apply a huge amount of friction on November 8.

Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This should apply to Washington, DC. If President Obama oversteps his constitutional authority via executive orders or other actions, there should be commensurate pushback from Congress. Unfortunately, that rarely happened. Again, it was left to the “we the people” to apply the equal and opposite reaction in terms of a President Trump.

Newton’s third law also applies to how Trump handles the media and his detractors. Hit him and he hits back. Sometimes in an “equal and opposite” manner, sometimes much harder. Ask Marco Rubio how Newton’s Third Law hit him in the nose after he commented on Trump’s hands. Trump’s small hands morphed into Rubio’s new nickname, “Little Marco”. John Lewis, calling President Trump an “illegitimate president” got an equal and opposite reaction from Trump via Twitter, calling him out on the state of his congressional district.

Distill it down further. Trump is the Newtonian equal and opposite reaction to eight years of Obama’s far-left agenda.

The media should know Newton’s Third Law well by now, being called out by Trump over “fake news”, whether over Russian election hacking, inauguration crowd size, or what was said in private conversations with world leaders.

Once again we learn from history. In this case from one of the greatest scientists of all time, Isaac Newton. We can gain insights from applying his laws to the rough and tumble world of politics. The laws of motion apply not only to large objects, but also egos, policies, and ideas. The laws of physics are just as relevant in the maelstrom of Washington, DC as they are in physics classrooms.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter

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