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Trump Triangulates

If it is not enough to watch 2 hours of Republican wannabes debating, we also watched one hour of Donald Trump speaking to auto workers in Michigan. Does this kind of sacrifice for the greater good maybe make us eligible for a Nobel Prize, or something like that?

As you might expect, the speech was an hour of meandering, disconnected thoughts from the mind of The Donald. Some of them had to do with the auto industry, some of them did not. We don't watch all that many Trump campaign events, because they're all the same, but we would swear he's gotten even more unhinged/stream-of-consciousness than he used to be. He also spoke unusually quickly and rocked around for much of the first part of the speech. We doubt he scored some Bolivian marching powder from Don Jr., but if you told us he was taking Adderall, we'd believe it.

Anyhow, we actually think there are only two interesting things here to talk about. The first is that the general election campaign basically started yesterday. Trump always aims some withering fire at Joe Biden, during pretty much any rally/TV appearance/media interview/trip to the bathroom. Now, however, Biden is firing back. The President marched with striking UAW workers on Tuesday, of course. Not coincidentally, Biden 2024 released its first anti-Trump ad yesterday:

The White House also weighed in on Trump's speech, calling it "incoherent." They're not wrong.

The second interesting thing is that Trump the politician once flew by the seat of his pants, and primarily trusted his gut. These days, he's being much more obviously calculating. When it comes to the UAW strikes, Trump and the Republicans want to be pro-business, because businesses donate lots of money, but they also want to be pro-labor, because they hope blue-collar workers are the Party's future.

Consequent to this, it certainly appears that the Trump campaign worked to muddy the waters, so that his speech appeared to be a pro-strike/pro-union event, but... only very slightly. We got it wrong in writing Trump would appear at a union shop, and we were far from the only ones. In fact, it was a non-union plant, and the majority of the people who were in attendance are not UAW members. In total, only a handful of workers on strike were there for the speech.

In other words, Trump is trying to have it both ways (he's trying to do the same with abortion). Whether he can do so remains to be seen; our guess is that the UAW rank and file can tell the difference between a president who walks the actual picket lines and a former president who puts on a veneer of being pro-union, but puts in an appearance at a non-union facility. Also, we wonder if the new, more calculating Trump will prove to be a turnoff to some of his followers, who were first attracted to him by his authenticity and his willingness to take action based on impulse. (Z)

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