Streetwise Professor

July 15, 2019

President Pavlov and His Tweets, AKA The Matador

Filed under: Politics — cpirrong @ 7:44 pm

About 6AM this morning I emailed a friend saying that Trump tweeted at AOC, Ilhan Omar, et al to “go back” whence they came (hell?) in order to “force all the Dems to embrace these clowns after they had been trying to get them into line. ”

But very few figured this out. They were too intent on being outraged and outrageously demonstrating their outrageous outrage to consider whether there was method behind what they perceived as yet more Trump madness.

Gradually, a few got clued in. Notably David Axelrod:

Is it just me, or is there some grudging admiration there? Axelrod, after all is a master at cold, hard strategy, e.g., getting Obama’s Senate election opponents’ divorce records unsealed.

But some, notably those on the right, remained stubbornly clueless:

Yo! Moron! That was exactly the point! He forced the Democrats to unify behind four lunatic leftists who are as popular among the general populace as root canals or the clap, at the very moment–the precise moment–that Pelosi and others who pass for adults in the Democratic Party were trying to yank them from center stage in order to present a more moderate face to the public, precisely because they realized that “the Squad” is electoral poison outside of Wokistan.

To the astonishment of many, Trump doubled down this afternoon, and rather than kowtow to the outrage, stoked it by saying that Omar et al hate America, and if so, they should leave.

But then Trump had to spoil it all, and announce to the world (via Twitter) that getting the Democrats and the media to rush to the defense of AOC and Omar and Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley was precisely what he intended all along:


Suckas. You done got played. Again. When are you ever going to learn? That’s right–nevah.

Trump is like Dr. Pavlov, ringing the bell for his dogs, except that Trump uses Twitter rather than a bell. His foes are so conditioned to respond with sputtering, drooling, foaming outrage to his tweets that they don’t stop to think. To think about how he has played them in the past. About how they reacted viscerally, only to find that their reaction was exactly what he had intended. To consider whether he might be baiting them into doing exactly what he intends.

Another metaphor: Trump is the matador who gets the enraged bulls to rush the red cape, only to see him step aside and plunge another blade into their backs.

Trump is undoubtedly an narcissist, and perhaps that is why he is able to read and manipulate his adversaries so well. For they are narcissists too, convinced of their own superiority and his utter inferiority and depravity. This makes them an easy mark for his provocations.

No doubt Trump is behaviorally conditioned as well. He gets positive reinforcement from the extreme negative reaction his tweets elicit from his enemies. Which means that he will continue this until said enemies wise up and stop rising up to take the bait. Which means he will continue it for the foreseeable future, for they will never wise up. They revel in their outrage, even though it is counterproductive.

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6 Comments »

  1. Always fun to read your commentary style! I will unabashedly steal some of the adjectives for use later in discussion. I will point out that the lefties have also shown that the contra is also true about the Rep side. The liberal elite are salivating over various Republicans to either stand with, or dismiss Trump. Many of them in swing districts are being stuck between Scylla and Charbdis, with no alternate way to proceed, except to hide in their office until the break and hope someone takes Trump’s phone away. The upside is that as we go through this back and forth, Trump is always in the lead. He is the Pavlov to the Dem dogs.

    Brings me back to one of my favorite quotes from the political arena; ‘If you want to have a friend in Washington, get a dog’.

    Comment by doc — July 16, 2019 @ 3:05 pm

  2. I think it is rather short-sighted to under-estimate the political acumen of someone who wins the US presidency. Doing so takes some skill. It isn’t just an accident that lands a person in the Oval Office. That said, I think it is too soon to know what the reaction to President Trump’s tweets will be. They were certainly not racist and I suspect that the vast majority of Americans will have nodded in agreement when they read what he wrote. The four clowns he was criticising deserved what he said and, although only one was born abroad, I also thought OC and the Palestinian woman were both born elsewhere given the things that they have said since arriving in Congress. So, the issue is what level of disgust those four and the craven leadership of the Democratic Party will create among the Great Silent Majority. I hope it is considerable. The political Left and the Democratic Party have gone completely loopy since 2016 and their victory in 2020 will not be kind to the future of the USA.

    Comment by Ben — July 16, 2019 @ 6:05 pm

  3. Once again I think you give Trump far too much credit for his actions. I mean, who actually writes his Tweets? It sure as hell isn’t him, unless he’s taken remedial spelling & grammar lessons.

    Twitter has becoming Trump’s team’s platform of choice for ‘his’ messaging, not so much because of the outrage it manufactures amongst it’s user base, more the fact the MSM slavishly pick up and report pretty much each and every Tweet. Madness.

    Personally I think the Dems best strategy for 2020 would be to use the funds they raise to buy Twitter and shut Trump’s account down, or persuade a sympathetic billionaire to do likewise.

    Comment by David Mercer — July 17, 2019 @ 1:12 am

  4. I have close family members who have immigrated to the US. This tweet gives a carte-blanche for any lunatic idiot to say ‘Go back to where you came from’.

    Tweets may be very clever politically but all of this has real consequences for ordinary people.

    Comment by Dhruv — July 17, 2019 @ 11:03 am

  5. @Dhruv-You omitted a crucial part of what Trump said, as have most who have bloviated on this issue. He said if you hate the US go back to where you came from. Kind of makes a difference. Do your close family members hate the US? If so, it would be somewhat puzzling that they would choose to come here.

    Further, sticks and stones. If your relatives can’t take the venting of a mouth-breather, they need to grow a thicker skin.

    Comment by cpirrong — July 17, 2019 @ 11:27 am

  6. “they need to grow a thicker skin”

    The problem is that, in the USA, they might also need to grow some Kevlar…

    Comment by HibernoFrog — July 18, 2019 @ 10:45 am

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