Flat White

Trump’s temper might just make him a great president

28 January 2017

6:42 PM

28 January 2017

6:42 PM

US-POLITICS-TRUMP-HOMELAND SECURITYThe hope of last resort amongst the chattering classes was that having won the election, Donald Trump would relax into the pomp of the ceremony. He would shift his positions to those of the establishment; he would kiss the feet of Xi Jinping and hand over his twitter feed to some faceless staffer who could begin pumping out dull bromides that function as odes to his voter base.

Well, now we know. As of last week, Donald J Trump is the president of the United States. He hasn’t changed his mind, he hasn’t bowed down, and he certainly hasn’t handed over his twitter. In fact, if anything the boost to self-esteem that comes from being President has turbocharged his twitter.

Look at his Tweets taking on the protestors taking part in the ‘Women’s March’ on the day of his inauguration. He notes that the marches were in defiance of an election result that was fairly won, and then recognises their right to disagree with him and protest.snip20170126_18


Trump was far too kind to these people. In reality, these marches weren’t Women’s marches at all, they were Right Kind of Women marches. Any protest that has the President of Planned Parenthood as a keynote speaker is guaranteed to turn off a good portion of the population, perhaps even irritating some women! Luckily, the march organisers got around this problem by banning pro-life groups from marching.

I’m no Trump fan. But you have to admit that in this instance he’s completely right. This march is the anguished scream of people who never thought Trump could actually win, and who are looking to make up for their inaction after the fact. And Trump understands that; why didn’t these people vote? And if they did vote, why didn’t they do more? If you have the time to take a Monday off to go protest a president who’s already been elected, surely you would have had the time to make a few phone calls or knock on a few doors. Unfortunately, posting images doctored by the DNC to Facebook has never swung a vote, but actually, working has. But, crucially, you need to do the work before the election in order to win it.

Returning to Trump, the interesting thing is the way he chooses to be magnanimous. He tweets twice; the first with the red meat and then with the appeal to higher principles. It’s almost like you can see his ego and id fighting in real time, with his desire to pander fighting his desire to feel statesmanlike. There is a chance that this mental conflict brings out the worst in Trump, with his ego congealing into authoritarianism and his desire for greatness sated by the pomp of the office.

But there’s also the chance that it could push him to be great. Huge slabs of the population felt ignored; that’s why he won. He seems to have a strong grasp of what matters to people and seems to get how to talk to them. It could be that his desire for their affection pushes him to knuckle down and work out what would make their lives better.

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