An intriguing analogy:
President Trump’s just-concluded international tour filled his hand for a political “Three-Card Monte” con job.
(Wikipedia: Three-card Monte: ” … a confidence game in which the victim, or ‘mark’, is tricked into betting a sum of money [trillions, in this case] on the assumption they can find the ‘money’ card … same as shell game except cards are used instead of shells”.)
The “America First” foreign policy card originally had broad appeal across the Trump voter base. The promise of more jobs, minimal business regulation and muscular dialogues abroad resonated.
This card was turned over last week during Trump’s trip abroad. It revealed a historic reversal of America’s global leadership profile. Trump’s policies are sure to undermine our longstanding commitments in national security, international trade and the global environment. His on-site reluctance to re-commit to NATO’s doctrine of collective defense and, later, to the Paris Climate Pact — the latter despite support for the Pact by many hundreds of US business leaders and investors as well as over 60% of US citizens — created an international tremor. His boorishness throughout the meetings in Europe didn’t help.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel reluctantly had to conclude that, “The times in which we could fully rely on others [i.e. America] they are somewhat over. This is what I experienced in the last few days.”
With his second card, Trump has, in shocking fashion, conned his hardcore base voters, many of whom need and merit genuine support and progress. In West Virginia, Senator Joe Manchin has offered this reaction to Trump’s proposed budget: “Look at all the categories that get hit the hardest WIC [“helps you help your family”], Medicaid (which is totally annihilated) the Appalachian Regional Commission — you name it because so much of this affects every part of the state.”\
More generally, Trump’s key policies have been judged a betrayal of his core base by the editors of Newsday: “The fact that Donald Trump’s healthcare plan, budget blueprint and tax reform agenda are unworkable for the country is worrisome and frustrating. But the fact that all three are crushing blows to the voters who helped him win the office is a brazen betrayal.”
In this dispiriting real life “House of Cards” the final card has actually been face-up for some time. Throughout his campaign and administration this president has been consistent. His many lies, threats, failures and attempts at diversion will continue. We can expect nothing different in the remainder of his term, no matter how long or short that may be.
The con is on.