Trumpism without Trump By Caleb Onyeabor

Newsie Events: #Opinion

Any rational supporter of Donald Trump must admit that despite the historic achievements of his administration particularly in the areas of the economy, the doggedness and tenacity and genius of the man, his rhetoric, arrogance, and poor diplomatic/politicking skills are his biggest weaknesses.

Although his victory in 2016 earned him staunch and implacable enemies, he failed to crack the code of making these enemies his friends or reducing the hatred they have for his administration. Instead, he achieved the opposite. Trump is a one-sided genius. Any genius who can turn the economy around but can’t successfully contain his opposition is a bad politician. You could be a good manager/administrator who can get things done or turn things around but if you are a bad politician, you will fail in politics.

Again, Trump came in as a new guy in the system, some of his actions were unnecessary for a supposed “newcomer”. One of Robert Greene’s laws of power states that you shouldn’t change too much at a time. Trump was trying to change an entire order in 4 years against all odds, that’s politically wrong. He was even strong or perhaps, if you ask me, lucky enough to survive to the end of the 4 years. Another instance is the “Drain the Swamp” thing. You just came into the Political limelight and you want to expose and get rid of all the politicians and bureaucrats running things in the U.S for decades? That was an inexperienced show. Where he had to be cunny, he was arrogant. When he had to tread carefully, he was supercilious. Where he had to step on toes gently, patiently, and tactfully, he was so full of himself. Where he had to wait, he urged on. Where he had to stop, he continued, where he had to sound politically correct, he didn’t care. He sure knows how to produce results but he is a bad politician.

As a new guy in the system, who had gathered enormous hatred from the opposition in the course of his campaign, his most important task was to build bridges, make more allies, turn enemies to friends even if it meant making compromises and concessions. From day 1, the opposition had harassed and tried to frustrate the man …but isn’t this why politics is a game? Instead of making efforts to cool down the hatred and weaken the stiff resistance, the man decided to burn bridges. First, he failed to realise that he was a new guy in the system who ought to tread carefully. While the opposition was not giving up, he was on the other side responding with an eye for an eye forgetting that he ought to be President of all including those who didn’t like him. Again, in his quest to fight the stiff resistance, he forgot that the resistance had more power than he did. They controlled the media, they have in big tech, a strong ally, and a host of other powerful institutional allies. With his rhetoric, he created more enemies for himself.

A lot of persons have come to hate and oppose Trump simply for his bad rhetoric. The great Roman, Cicero was not bluffing when he said Politics is all of rhetoric. I remember when he refused to shake Nancy Pelosi’s hand on national TV. No matter what Nancy Pelosi has done to him, he was wrong to ignore her hand. In my study of American politics, Trump’s not the most hated President, he didn’t face a quarter of what Abraham Lincoln faced. Lincoln was so hated that his emergence as President led to a civil war. Yet he was diplomatic in his actions and most importantly in his speeches, he reached out to the opposition. Even when they won the war, he refused to entertain the idea of executing the leaders of the rebellion. By the time he assumed power, Lincoln was surrounded by moles in the white house, surrounded by enemies in his cabinet, hated by the media because of his decision to end slavery in America, and of course, hated by the south. By the time he died, he had become the most loved President, with some of the greatest speeches in American Political History, and earned a place as America’s greatest President. This is how to deal with an implacable opposition, not this Trump’s strategy. In fact, Trump pushed some of the allies he had away. He was hated in 2016 by these guys and 4 years after, he has earned more enemies for himself.

When the opposition brought forth someone who has been in the system for over 40 years, it gave the system an opportunity to put back one of their own. It’s all simple politics. If this has taught any lesson, it should be that civility has a role in politics, making allies especially powerful institutional allies is more important than achieving Campaign promises. Bush didn’t do half of what Trump achieved but he wasn’t opposed as Trump despite being a Republican. The media is very powerful, you will be committing political suicide to continually be at war with them. Unless you live in a non-democratic setting, in politics, you have to make compromises, concessions, and build bridges.

Republicans frustrated the Obama administration but he didn’t act like Trump. In fact, he kept extending his hand to them over and over again. He made concessions, he let them have their way sometimes and a lot more. This is why politics is a game. You lost the media, you lost the courts, you lost the support of states whose governors are your party members, it is obvious you are a bad politician.

Well, aside his failure to manage the hatred and opposition set up against him, I am still a big fan of what the Trump administration achieved in the last 4 years. Aside his rhetoric, I am a fan of the conservative and nationalist policies implemented by Trump’s administration. I think the best leaders for any country are those who will implement such kind of nationalistic policies without talking like Trump, displaying Trump’s arrogance, or perhaps with better Political skills to manage and contain fierce opposition that may come up. Going forward, that Is my idea of Trumpism without Trump.

Caleb Onyeabor is a Nigerian intellectual, an avid advocate for political justice, social justice, and economic justice. Author of Diary of a Messed Up country. Follow him on Twitter via

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