May 2, 2016

Trump’s Alinskyites

Or: Rise of the Trumpanzees

I recently visited a conservative blogsite. Now, I accepted that site is populated by Trump supporters, yet was appalled by much of the anti-Cruz commentary. There were complaints about the sound of Senator Cruz’s voice, and mockery of his physical appearance -- much as those which have come from Trump himself.

Perhaps most distressing though were the attacks on Cruz supporters, including accusations those not on the T-Rump train were drug-addled layabouts, and welfare cheats. In response, I submitted the following comment.

Have we fallen so far as to come to a point where denigration of Senator Cruz supporters, and personal attacks on the candidate are the ‘new normal’ in political discourse? I thought that was the realm occupied by progressives and those who follow the Alinsky playbook.

My comment never made it onto the thread. Instead, it was immediately relegated to the cyber trash bin. That confirmed my apprehensions about many Trump followers. 

It would appear that many Trump supporters have adopted the methods of the left in their desire to push him across the finish line. Their tactics are straight from the progressive playbook -- Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.

Here is a quick checklist of those tactics which are readily apparent as the T-Rump train rolls on.

RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” -- ✔
(Trump constantly touts his wealth, implying his billions alone make him unstoppable.)

RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” -- ✔
(Trump makes grandiose speeches, filled with superlatives, but lacking any specificity on how his grand plans would come to fruition. However, that is ample enough to charge up his followers.)

RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” -- Pending
(This has been a weak spot for Trump. He has been neither willing, nor able, to articulate what he would actually do if successful in his bid for the Presidency. Even his ‘specifics’ are mere generalities. There is no ‘there’ there.)

RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” -- ✔
(The commentary from Trump, and his supporters, concerning other candidates is evidence enough to prove they are more than willing to wallow in the mud of personal politics.)

RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” -- ✔
(The more outlandish a Trump claim or attack, the greater the fervor among those at his rallies.)

RULE 7: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” -- ✔
(Trump has been a master of changing horses mid-stream to divert attention away from his lack of actual credentials. First it was the wall to stem illegal immigration, then it was banning Muslims from entry to the U.S., , claims about a “rigged” system, alternating with tangential remarks on “low energy” Jeb, “that face” Fiorina, “lying” Ted, and that infamous “blood coming out of her wherever” comment about Megyn Kelly -- Rinse. Repeat. Start the cycle again.)

RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” -- ✔
(Even when admonished by his spouse and advisers to tone down his personal attacks, Trump continues to go after personality instead of position.)

RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” -- ✔
(There is already much talk of a ‘revolution’ should Trump not get the GOP nomination. This entails everything from sitting out the election, to actual physical violence against those not in the Trump camp.)

RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive." -- ✔
(One need not look further than how Trump turned blowback on his Kelly comments into a positive by branding those who found it offensive as being in the tank with FOX News and GOP establishment.)

RULE 11: “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” -- Partial ✔
(Trump’s only real point to date: He is not Hillary Clinton, for whatever that is worth.)

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” -- ✔
(This has been the hallmark of the Trump campaign.)

I return to my original thought -- Have we really fallen so far?

Dennis P. O’Neil

Addendum: My original comment was eventually released from Trumpurgatory, after an admittedly snide secondary comment about the censoring proving my point on Alinskyite tactics. Squeaky wheels do sometimes get oiled.