Trump’s a Bully: 2018:Jan:14 for Open Forum, Denver Post, we'll see, tho long
A fairly classic bully. I’m not so much name-calling as analyzing and strategizing. Bullies aren’t racist, sexist, etc. but use divisive accusations and insults to see what makes others flinch. Ned Price, Sunday on Iranian protesters says, “...human rights is a mere cudgel to use against political adversaries when convenient.” Paul Waldman observes, “It depends what day you catch him on and who spoke to him last.”
Bullies want to be popular, but anyone with good social skills can tell him No. So, bullies respect a firm, friendly, calm: No. Less intense and you’re weak, though pandering can get you a job. More intense and the bully must also escalate, which we see can go nuclear. Calmly match a bully’s threat or insult intensity.
A good follow up is what will make him popular. Bullies don’t like the work of analysis, but focus on what would be popular. Politicians and analysts may need to hear why, but don’t let his mind wander once you have his attention. .
Journalists and commentators take note. And not to say Conservatives won’t continue their Bully Parent policies. More at civicsatisfaction.org/17bullies.htm
Bullies Can be Guided: 2017:Jan:13 for friend who felt threatened
Trump is a classic bully, so think about how you handle bullies. Mostly you meet their threats fairly exactly. Too little and you’re a wimp, easy prey, like running from a dog instincts. Too much and you’re escalating, so they must escalate more. So general strategies like blocking every appointment or initiative are mostly feel good for the participants. Rather, meet each, fairly exactly.
Dual strategies work in school, alert authorities and gather friends. Likewise with Trump, legal action combines with our vast friends and allies. This is a time for the Left and Right to get loud, and organize, just as the Powell memo and Koch Brothers organization got Trump in. Bullies want to be popular, so popular and well socialized folks can deal with them. Bullies urge for the attention that popular and well socialized have built, means we often have to ignore attention getting, attend good actions and turn taking, and we’ll have to stop them. Trump gave enough of the Right, enough of what they wanted to believe in him. All the rallies, phone calls, polls and petitions are attention, but we sometimes have to remind him to pay attention to what will make him popular. Especially when we can bring in, say fiscal conservatives, we can hold his attention and behavior for a little while.
We know we need to act, this is the time to network. Follow your heart toward your favorite issues, organize others, and network with all our allies. We are concerned about this loose cannon and know we’ll have to guide him toward the stands that will make him popular, in spite of himself. Earth is our garden, but the 2nd half is corporate bad actors and Move to Amend is very right that corporations are not people and money is not speech, Social Justice, women’s and health issues are good for the economy, also very popular, and with more greedy actors. Like life, all the issues are intertwined and we need to meet each challenge unified, and fairly exactly. We aren’t escalating, we’re showing what is popular.
Press & Bullies: 2017:March:3 for Common Cause at Press Club, former engagement
You know Trump is a bully, actually he’s a classic bully. You remember junior high or middle school, when bullies would toss out accusations to see if a vulnerable kid flinched, then mock, berate or threaten. Much of what Trump says is to see if we flinch. In school shy kids had two potential advocates to get protection, teachers and more social or popular kids. Make like the popular (and almost Saturday Night Live), address him directly and say that he knows better, or he’s fishing, which is truth. If you want to goad him into something more stupid, laugh at him.
More generally, be specific with a bully, not general. Most pols understand generalities well, but bullies don’t want to think through and apply a generality to themselves. Bullies want it quick and easy. Similarly they don’t follow conversational turn taking, interrupt and go for quick, small points or try to put others off stride. So relax and be cool.
Understand that bullies want to be popular, though power will suffice. If you have a serious moment, address what will make him popular, even with the thousands in the streets, petitioning, etc. Remind him that he does have their plans at his fingertips to easily make him popular.
More social and popular kids know to meet a threat exactly. Too weak and you’re the wimp to be attacked. Too strong and he has to escalate more. Match a threat and you’re cool.
Stand Together Against Bullies: 2016:Dec:2 for Open Forum, Denver Post, unpublished but numbers count
When Trump targets your lab, office, group, its time to party, and make sure no one has to drive home. Like a teenager, organize against bullies and contact authorities. Just standing together may be enough. You might set up an independent operation and contract your work, perhaps at ten times the price. You could decide to move to academia or competitors, en masse or pick your favorite locales. Write each other recommendations. Don't forget janitors, spouses and bosses. Unions, Congress folk, budget offices are authorities to connect with, and more recommendations. So are colleagues outside your group.
Trump parrots against waste, likes to see fear and quick wins. He wants to make you as ineffective as he says you are. Its the bankruptcy game, gut and cash-in. Partnership culture trumps Dominator culture. 'Too good for Trump' may be bittersweet pride and a leg up.
Back to Top