Monday, December 04, 2017

The Simple Model of GOP-Trump relationship

I have a simple model of the GOP-Trump relationship. I think it captures most of the transactional aspects. There are a few key assumptions:

1) Together the GOP & Trump are a rent seeking entity. Any stakeholders outside this GOP+Trump universe must pay "rent" to the combined system in order to keep what they have (ex. a viable business model, tax breaks they enjoy, environmental free-lunches, faith based status etc...).

2) Any "rent" that is so paid travels differently inside the GOP+Trump system depending on whose hands it falls into and what specific action is demanded. You can pay the GOP not to harass Trump, you can pay Trump not to pick fights with the GOP etc

3) The GOP & Trump are mutually antagonistic in that they each want a larger fraction of the "rent". Whatever you are paying to keep your share of the pie, they want a bigger piece of it for themselves.

In terms of the current patch of internal dynamics.

The GOP wants a tax cut so that its leaders can pocket some cash for what they assume are difficult times ahead. Clearly if the "demographic collapse" that so many social thinkers posit actually happens, the GOPers are going to need much cash to pay lawyers, hire security guards, build secure bunkers in Whitefish etc... to fend off the maelstrom of public disapproval that is soon to come. Older GOPers have simply decided not to run again and put up a show of opposing Trump. Younger GOPers seem to be trying to decide if they should avoid running or tie up with RIS and have the Russians "throw" them the election. Political retirement or "outsourcing" GOTV or antiGOTV to the RIS costs money - so they need the money.

Trump always is short of money. He's made too many promises to too many people and he knows he can't even make the minimum payment due to most of them. Take Putin for example. He was promised an end to sanctions, instead he has been given a "look the other way" as he spikes the stock market and then painfully slowly transfers wealth over the BTC + Offshore route. He was hoping to make billions in a day, now he make a few thousand here and there. Putin's not happy having to fight challenges inside the Grand Duchy of Moscow - but that is what you get when you put faith in Trump. As long as the sanctions stay in place - Putin is reduced to begging Trump to do his bidding. That suits Trump fine - but it doesn't suit Putin for very long. I wouldn't be surprised if Putin starts leaking out stuff about his interactions with Trump. What holds for Putin holds for others that Trump made promises to. This Russia investigation is every Trump creditor's way of putting pressure on him to pay up.

The Russia investigation places pressure on the Trump end of the GOP-Trump balloon, if the GOP doesn't vent the pressure - the balloon bursts. The GOP has to keep signing a "get-out-of-jail-free" card for Trump. In order to do this, the GOP demands payment (i.e. passage of *their* tax cuts). However as with any outside stakeholders, Trump can't accede to the GOP demand, if he does - they will have their tax cut and hang him out to dry. The GOP doesn't need Trump, Pence could do as good a job of acting as a foil (and probably charge much less). Heck they'd probably be okay with Ivanka too. (poor Donald - that would really hurt bad). So somehow Trump has to leverage any motion of the Tax Cuts (such as implementation, Presidential veto, etc) to ensure that GOP relieves the Russia investigation pressures. Essentially IMHO Trump can only sign off on/let the GOP actually have its the tax cuts if the GOP agrees to shut down Mueller and end the impeachment issue.

Trump's belief in the GOP's ability to give him a permanent "get-out-of-jail-free" card appears to be rooted in the assumption that GOP has the ability to actually do such a thing (Hint - it does not).

The GOP's belief that they can leverage Trump and get this ridiculous pay-off (i.e. Tax Cut) is rooted in the belief that there is no real accountability for their actions. (essentially that they can either "retire" from politics or they can pay RIS to hack the next elex for them). Again this reflects a lack of real thinking in the GOP echo chamber more than a deep understanding of how the electorate reacts. (Hint - you can't fool people forever.)

Obviously this model is a slightly re-worked version of my model of the Pakistani "Civil Military" relationship. There are similar "dyad" models that people have constructed for the regimes in Burma etc... these are easier to analyse than a triad or tetrad (or n-ad) models. I feel I am almost at the point where I can say the entire post 2014 India event cycle has been a dyad model of Modi+Shah v/s RSS Main in Nagpur.

I think the key thing here is that a dyad model with two extremely large centers of political gravity is very prone to instability as neither element of such a dyad is capable of sustaining itself for any length of time.

The additional caveat here is that the US is much much bigger than Pakistan so there is an "inertia" effect. Small fluctuations are damped out to some degree but should a fluctuation grow beyond a certain size - it will couple to massive shifts. Once something big gets going - it is hard to get it to stop.


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