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Trump’s sly Mojo-Moto DACA strategy

| Friday, September 8, 2017

Barely seven months into his presidency, Donald J. Trump has shown that his modus operandi is one of constant motion, confounding all with his political strategy that a moving target is rarely hit. In just a handful of days this week, Trump demonstrated that his love-hate personality centers on achieving his priorities. At week’s start, Trump horrified his critics with another reversal of an Obama-era policy when he terminated through a six-month phase-out timetable the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that shields from deportation nearly 800,000 young, unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Citing constitutional questions about Obama’s authority, Trump threw the matter to congress with optimism that congress would show compassion and properly memorialize the measure through a law. However, that evening Trump cleverly expressed doubts when he tweeted: “Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!”

Nationwide, compassionate Americans decried the DACA phase-out. Just as their backlash of protests amassed against Trump’s DACA abandonment, the president deserted an astounded congressional Republican leadership group of supposedly party allies by leaping into an agreement with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling, fund the government until December and provide $8 billion of relief for Hurricane Harvey victims. It is evident that the Trump Mojo (Magic) Moto (Motivated Hard Charger) may consistently delight his supporter base, but baffles both his casual supporters as well as his critics. To them, they only see a crate of fast moving contradictions.

Trump Mojo-Moto (TM-M) stands on four sly pillars — in all ways be anti-Obama, fulfill campaign promises, ingrain “us versus them” nationalistic values throughout government and maintain that the persona of Trump is always a winner. Loyalty plays a role within this TM-M balancing act only to the extent that others must remain loyal to Trump, because for Trump to be a winner at all times, he must betray others oftentimes. The TM-M playbook prioritizes action in this order: anti-Obama, campaign promise, America first and Trump always wins.

Thus far in the White House, the TM-M pillars have cast aside loyalists like farmers in Iowa and North Carolina, when Trump fulfilled his campaign promise to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), allowing 27 separate negotiations from other countries to undercut American pork exports. Trump signed an executive order withdrawing from the TPP on his first full day in office, calling the action a “great thing for the American worker.”

For Iowans who voted for Trump by 51-42 percent, farmers viewed the Asia-Pacific region as their next prime market. Asia’s expanding middle class increasingly demands higher-quality protein through an enormous demand for meat. American pork producers can sell just about every cut of a hog carcass — from the highest-priced loin to the cheaper organs that are difficult to sell to American consumers. The TPP would also erase punishing tariffs that restricted the United States from selling to the Far East.

In Wright County, Iowa, that voted by a 2-1 margin for Trump, farmers also expected $10 billion in agricultural output over 15 years, based on estimates by Obama’s International Trade Commission. Their new processing plant in Eagle Grove will not only lose that $10 billion bump, but it can no longer be a partner in the sprawling 12-nation TPP that encompasses 40 percent of the world’s economy.

In another Rust Belt state, Michigan — again fulfilling a campaign promise to be tough on immigration — in June the federal government started detaining Chaldean Christians from the Detroit area after Iraq began cooperating with the U.S. and issued deportation travel documents it had resisted issuing previously. Some Chaldeans, here for decades and in their mid-60s, were swept up due to criminal records nearly 30 years old. Chaldean Christians are ethnic Assyrians from Iraq who are consistent supporters of the Republican Party. They voted heavily for Trump when he won Michigan by fewer than 11,000 votes.

The most disturbing potential betrayal may yet to come affecting DACA registrants and transgender service members — both groups volunteered discovery and information to the Obama government with the assurance of privacy and without fear of retaliation. Questions remain whether the Trump government will use this confidential government-sought information to prosecute them. Court suits have already been filed to prohibit such action in the future. However, the TM-M seems to thus far been able to twist around and duck obstacles while wreaking havoc upon those in the path of its goals.

TM-M has pitted congressional Democrats against Republicans, not to mention GOP segments against others factions of the Republican Party. In many ways those are the political system’s best moments when it gives and takes without any side monopolizing the agenda. But for Trump to use his Magic Mojo based on four absolutes that are unforgiving and not malleable enough to establish good public policy portends of future disaster. To egregiously race his Moto Charger through governmental institutions is emblematic of a political novice. Perhaps in six months the fate of DACA recipients will be clarified as well as how well Mojo and Moto have served Trump and the nation.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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