The Trump Strategy: Changing the way politics is conducted forever

It was different this last time, when President Trump visited the Warren County Fairgrounds to deliver a speech in favor of several GOP candidates that were on the ballot for November 2018’s midterms. I’ve seen Trump in person a few times since he had been elected president in 2016 but this campaign rally at the very unusual building on the fairgrounds site provided an almost cinematic appeal as if some Hollywood production designer had brought all these strange elements together for the benefit of the story than just happenstance. It was a Friday night in the historic town of Lebanon, Ohio and it was lightly raining, with a snow mix falling with the raindrops and President Trump was stoking the minds of thousands of people who had packed into every available spot to listen to him give essentially the same speech over and over again. But nobody cared, they were happy to be there and didn’t seem to ever want the event to end. For this particular venue I had a really fantastic seat, one just outside the television cameras and on a high perch so I could see everything that was going on. I could even see the president arrive and leave from behind the show’s façade and for me it was perfect because it facilitated my high thoughts on the matter with great conductivity.

In the short run the threat was real, Republican voters needed to hit the voting booths and support the candidates that Trump was speaking for. But from my perspective a lot had changed since the last rally I attended at U.S. Bank Arena in October of 2016 and this one in Lebanon in October of 2018. For the first time in my lifetime Republicans had a good, positive brand and they had a President who could sell it. Trump has actually changed the way campaigns work—he has changed the rules of the game itself into something that Democrats will not be able to follow. They don’t have the energy or the message leaving Trump in command of the political process for what will turn out to be the first half of the 21st Century.

I think it’s quite amazing that Donald Trump is willing to attend so many rallies across the country in order to build a team that he can work with in 2019 on the legislative side. He’s almost acting like a college coach recruiting star athletes for a football team. The tireless work he has been willing to put into the effort is truly stunning for anybody. And that effort showed in the event organization and even the crowd. There was a lot to complain about. During the speech some people actually passed out and needed medical help. But the show went on as the medical staff gathered up the sick and took them away to be cared for. And nobody complained. The Secret Service didn’t overact. The crowd wasn’t overly dramatic, and Trump never even paused. The show just went on and everyone was focused on the success of the evening.

There is no way for the two sides of politics, the liberal view and the conservative view to work out differences between each other for a sustainable republic. The two sides are not equal, they do not have shared values to build a foundation of friendship from. In the Republican Party that has been the problem from the beginning, if there were any compromises that had to be made it was always from the Republicans because they were always the only side functioning from value to barter with. Liberals were all for the abandonment of values, so they never gave anything up and that left Republican supporters always feeling shortchanged. But now there some wins under Trump’s belt and there was more to this rally because the foundations of success were there to talk about, as opposed to just a bunch of theories from two years prior. Now there was a track record and the obvious view of many more things that could be accomplished. And the Democrats had nothing to offer but complaints and emotional desires to be considered equally important. Trump’s Republican Party was willing to stick its head up out of the ground and to actually emerge into the light of day unafraid and be pace setters and that is something you don’t see every day.

Yet the show itself was very slick, the volunteers were enthusiastic and the base of support was willing to do their part and show up at each of these rallies a whole day before just to get a good place in line. While people waited volunteers handed out swag to the audience all of it well-managed and constructed. The sheer logistics to pull off one of these shows by the support staff is quite staggering. What was involved for just the Lebanon event was enough to impress, but the very next night Trump was in Richmond, Kentucky doing nearly the same thing with a lightly modified speech. Trump had done several rallies during that week in different parts of the country all of them just as complex and with similar people willing to brave the elements and waiting times to attend. In the case of Lebanon, I noticed later that the local media markets were very happy with the Trump visit, they gave him great coverage for at least two days before and after. Trump’s changes to campaigning gave local media the two things they always wanted, so the coverage turned out to be fair and positive. First were the traffic shutdowns, the news loves to talk about traffic jams and the President’s motorcade shut down traffic during rush hour all the way from downtown Cincinnati to Lebanon, Ohio over 30 miles to the north. Then the second things were the feel-good stories about how the positive rallies made people feel to be near a sitting president. I could see a brilliance in Trump’s strategy that was always there for anybody to attempt, but now Trump has made it a Republican method.

And that brought the whole thing to a kind of grand fortissimo, the difference between Republicans and Democrats fundamentally. Democrats were essentially seeking to ride the Vico cycle into the future, the endless cycle of human endeavor going from theocracy, to aristocracy, to democracy then to anarchy only to return over and over again to the beginning. Republicans however are the opposite, they are about human pro-growth and continued expansion into the future. Democrats are the hippies of Woodstock while the Republicans are the scientists trying to expand mankind’s reach to the moon. The vision from each party is not conducive and are at odds with each other and a choice has to be made. We can’t have it both ways. For me personally, I’ve always been a pro-growth guy. It makes me very sad to think that all the work we’ve done through art, literature and engineering would be tossed away only to dig at the ground like a pathetic primitive and not understand the complexities of the universe. But until Trump, Republicans didn’t know how to sell a pro-growth agenda, so the plight of the primitives dominated politics leaving Republicans to chase after. But now those roles have been reversed and it looks like a great opportunity is unfolding in front of us, and at the center of it is the remarkable Manhattan builder himself who has a pro-growth message that people can finally relate to. And the effect is obvious, and lasting. It’s a very exciting time indeed.

Rich Hoffman

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