Donald Trump is playing five-dimensional chess, so he has brainwashed his base into believing. He is playing a game, albeit more akin to Tic-tac-toe. But even children’s games have a strategy.
In spite of Russian assistance in 2016, Trump lost the popular vote, but through the outdated auspices of the Electoral College, he became America’s 45th president. Inexperienced and lacking the political and social acumen of his predecessors, the former reality TV host had gambled and won. Since that day his authoritarian approach to democracy continues to ride roughshod over political and social norms, so reminiscent of that foulmouthed uncle at the family gathering who believes Mexicans are taking American jobs, and who rants about “Sh_t house countries”. It’s these same rants and the lies that garnered Trump the presidency, and herein lies this King’s Gambit—if the base elected him based on rhetoric rather than fact, Trump is confident his base will again.
Understanding Trump’s endgame may help to explain his obsession with building a wall that the majority of American’s do not want. Factually speaking, the wall remains an antiquated approach to a complex immigration issue. For those who have listened to Trump of late, let me be clear: rapists, terrorists, and drugs are not flowing through the U.S.-Mexican border, only Trump’s lies. The wall for which he has demanded $5 billion dollars is not vital to national security but rather to Trump’s agenda, and as long as he continues to push this rhetorical pawn, he will be celebrated, if only by his base.
The government is already one week into its partial shutdown over the issue. Yesterday, in yet another angry tweet, Trump threatened to close down the entire southern border, an empty threat to anyone speculating on the potential of lost revenue resulting from such an action. According to Business Insider, two-way trade across the border totals $1.4 billion per day and takes place at 25 major ports of land entry between the US and Mexico.
As usual, the only relevant issue to Trump is that he be seen by his base to be their man playing five-dimensional chess. He is their Bobby Fischer in the White House. In reality, Trump has never been more politically desperate as he continues to play a game more akin to Tic-tac-toe. Earlier this month Pelosi and Schumer built a trap for him in the Oval Office, and on live TV, Trump face planted into it. Trump admittedly owns what is now known as the “Trump Shutdown”.
Without a doubt, border wall funding and his threat to close down the U.S.- Mexican border is Trump’s biggest gambit to date. From his point of view, it’s still a win-win, as he has nothing else left to lose.
k.g. Sambrano is a Canadian writer known for his works of literary fiction and poetry, and is an occasional freelance political writer. His latest book, Trump- the First 365 Days: America’s Fight for America was released on February 20, 2018.