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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 2/5/18

Trump's Divide-and-Conquer Strategy

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From Robert Reich Blog


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If Robert Mueller finds that Trump colluded with Russia to fix the 2016 election, or even if Trump fires Mueller before he makes such a finding, Trump's supporters will protect Trump from any political fallout.

Trump's base will stand by him not because they believe Trump is on their side, but because they define themselves as being on his side.

Trump has intentionally cleaved America into two warring camps: pro-Trump and anti-Trump. And he has convinced the pro-Trumps that his enemy is their enemy.

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Most Americans are not passionate conservatives or liberals, Republicans or Democrats. But they have become impassioned Trump supporters or Trump haters.

Polls say 37 percent of Americans approve of him, and most disapprove. These numbers are the tips of two vast icebergs of intensity.

Trump has forced all of us to take sides, and to despise those on the other. There's no middle ground.

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The Republican Party used to stand for fiscal responsibility, state's rights, free trade, and a hard line against Russian aggression. Now it just stands for Trump.

Pro-Trump Republicans remain the majority in the GOP. As long as Trump can keep them riled up, and as long as Republicans remain in control of at least one chamber of Congress, he's safe.

"Try to impeach him, just try it," Roger Stone, Trump's former campaign adviser, warned last summer. "You will have a spasm of violence in this country, an insurrection like you've never seen."

That's probably an exaggeration, but Trump (with the assistance of his enablers in Congress) has convinced his followers that the Russian investigation is part of a giant conspiracy to unseat him, and that his enemies want to replace him with someone who will allow dangerous forces to overrun America.

Sure, this paranoia is based on the same racism and xenophobia that has smoldered in America since its inception. Trump's strategy is to stoke it daily.

Sure, American politics had polarized before Trump. Trump's strategy is to exploit and enlarge these divisions.

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A few months ago I traveled to Kentucky and talked with a number of Trump supporters.

They looked and sounded nothing like traditional conservative Republicans. Most were working class. Several were members of labor unions. All were passionate about Trump.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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