The Internet is abuzz with rumors (or delusions) that Donald Trump is either contemplating dropping out of the presidential race or is under pressure from powers greater than he to do so.
What if all of this is part of Trump’s real “Art of the Deal?” What if this has all been one big ruse or one big scheme to make a lot of money? If it allows for the humiliation of particularly rich or powerful people, all the better!
What if Trump’s enfant terrible act has been scripted, all pre-designed (or premeditated) to embarrass, discredit, ultimately coerce, and extort a huge going-away package? What if this is nothing more than a form of alimony, except that it’s in a political context and the beneficiary is a man?
Certainly, such strategies are used in the rarefied world of corporate mergers and acquisitions. In short, an enterprising group decides it wants to get a big payday. It doesn’t really want to buy, run, or own its target; it wants to pretend to do so as a way to get a payment to “go away.” This is what is called greenmail. The green being the payment.
The method is recognizable: pretend to have one strategy in order to get your “mark” to agree to your real strategy. Payday.
This scenario is plausible. It explains the inexplicable, based on the narrow parameters of the American political paradigm, governing presidential politics which has been gradually eroded this election cycle. It explains Trump’s devil-may-care attitude. It explains his apparent indifference towards campaign mechanics, and his refusal to devote personal resources or deploy resources donated or made available by others.
It certainly explains Trump’s otherwise perplexing refusal to attack Democrats, and perhaps even more perplexing eagerness to blast Republicans like Paul Ryan and Ted Cruz.
Former Florida governor and onetime presumptive nominee, Jeb Bush, nailed it when he called Trump the “chaos candidate.” Except, the chaos was intended to be within the party and the actual destruction of the GOP was the primary objective, not some unintended collateral damage.
Once we start accepting the previously unthinkable and surrender the assumptions to which we have become accustomed over decades, we can more easily see how events are unfolding. We can see they are not accidental, but quite by design. We can see the endgame and even assess the motives.
Donald Trump is clearly a very bright man. A shrewd man. And perhaps most importantly, he may not care about anything else but getting his deal, his terms, and his outcome. It’s time observers stopped deriding him – disrespecting him – for his supposedly out-of-control behavior. He is very much in control, and he has the country responding to his every move, every comment, and every tweet.
This is how he is going to get the deal of a lifetime. The deal that would cap a career and cement a legacy.
Now that would be YUGE.