Skip to main content

Machiavelli's Advice to the President

Yes, predictions are indeed hard, especially about the future. Still, it is that time of year. I predict that Trump will become a lame duck president in early November of 2018, and a one term president after that.

These predictions are not based on how much I like or dislike him. I am simply thinking like Machiavelli -- that is, non-morally -- and trying to guess how things will play out. If you were a highly paid political consultant, what would be your advice to Trump?

But first, consider a vivid memory of the day after the election in 2016. I was in a parking lot in Nevada, which is now a Blue State, with all its refugees from California. An old and very noisy pickup went blasting through the parking lot at high speeds. He had an American flag attached to the cargo bed of the truck. It is as if he were saying gloating, "Take that, you bleeping Hillary voters -- and why don't you move back to California!" 

Presumably he had guns and Bibles in the front seat of the truck. He certainly was representative of the rural blockheads, Rapture Christians, and military worshipers in Flyover America.

Your advice to Trump is: you have done well to suck up to Israel by acknowledging Jerusalem as its capital. This will solidify your base with a large segment of the Republican party.

And it might behoove you to do some noisy sabre-rattling against Iran, too. But would it help Trump to start bombing Iran in September or October? 

Conventional wisdom says that nothing is better for an embattled president than starting a war. Rally 'round the Flag! Rally 'round the president! Just ask presidents Polk, Lincoln, McKinley, Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson, and the more recent ones.  Of course he must be careful to make it look like the Other Guys fired the first shot.

But here is what really interests me: will this classic trick still work in a country of Permanent War? If a country is always at war, will the peasant masses rally 'round the president just because one more war is threatened. Is a new war even interesting news, anymore?

If ye olde trick no longer works, how will politics change? Some new crisis or emergency will have to be trotted out for embattled politicians to rally the masses behind their leaders.


Ed said…
I think you could be right on all accounts. Especially the "start a war" to engender support for a president seeking a second term. I don't think that dog hunts anymore. How will politics change - perhaps the next president will be elected on a platform of surrender?
Sondra said…
The old cliche "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out." comes to mind very fast, but in his case I hope it does hit him. And my second piece of advice to him is Lawyer Up, his businesses dealing with be under the scrutiny of the NY AG even more than they ever were. My Prediction after your prediction come to fruition is he will lose his fortune as the World turns it back on him. Just my bleeding heart liberal viewpoint.
I am beginning to think that reacting to the latest financial crisis will be the modern replacement to "Remember the Maine."
Remember, this post is not about being pro-Trump or anti-Trump. It IS about what kind of Machiavellian advice you would give to him to keep his orange ass in the White House. The standard trick is to "let no crisis go to waste," and if there ain't no crisis handy, create one.
Anonymous said…
Not sure that it's possible. The American people are fickle. The pendulum will swing.
Anonymous said…
Would that your prediction in the first paragraph comes true. In the meantime Trump’s Republican stable mates will sanction and allow Machiavellian tenets to influence him for political means and gains, but not for any specious events. Of course Trump could never understand what a Machiavellian tenet is.