I’ve made it clear that I don’t like the President, nor do I like mainstream media. These are not mutually exclusive biases; just because they’re opposed to each other doesn’t mean I have to pick a side in general. I support the President’s attacks on mainstream media when they’re righteous and I support the media when they point out the President’s mistakes. Usually, I don’t support either.
One particular piece by Chris Cillizza on CNN struck me. The title was clever – Donald Trump is playing zero-dimensional chess on the government shutdown – and while I don’t agree with all of it, much made perfect sense. One line in particular was profound and actually explains a lot:
“As a businessman, Trump liked to let the world come to him and react to it. That’s the exact same philosophy he’s brought to the White House.”
That pretty much sums it up.
What explains Trump’s decision to provoke Pelosi and Schumer in advance of the meeting? Some of Trump’s allies will insist that he is playing a strategic game that people like me are just too dumb to see. That by forcing Democrats to walk away from the table, Trump will improve his party’s leverage. Or something.
But, the simpler explanation is that Trump is playing — and has always been playing — zero-dimensional chess. There is no grand strategy. There is no broad blueprint. There is just impulse, reaction and then reaction to the reaction.