Yesterday, one of the many political talking heads asked if there was a story line emerging on the left to delegitimize Trump’s Presidency. You know something similar to Obama’s birth certificate that could be used to whip up a frenzy of Trump opposition.
Shockingly no one gave the obvious, blaring, glaring answer – Putin’s Puppet.
Trump is Putin’s Puppet narratives can be found from the far right to the far left and everywhere in between. The narrative is a rich tapestry that includes Russian election related hacking, Trump’s business ties (including the Kremlin and criminals tied to Putin) to Russia, accented by Trump’s failure to disclose his income tax returns with Trump’s ties to ordinary, everyday American mobsters like Joey “No Socks” Cinque thrown in for good measure.
Trump surrogates like Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer are trying their hardest to portray these insinuations as something equivalent to Area 51 and invading space aliens. Trump is attempting to help with his tweets praising Putin, deriding US intelligence agencies and leaked threats to “slim down” our intelligence agencies because they have become “overtly political”.
Trump’s strategy is not working so well. Why? Basically, the gentleman doth protest too much. Trump and his team are failing to recognize the uphill battle they are fighting. Obama could successfully(for the most part) argue birthers were nuts because he had supporting documents including his actual birth certificate and a newspaper birth announcement from 1961.
Trump on the other hand does not have conclusive documentation proving the Russians didn’t try to influence his election or that he doesn’t have an association with Putin and a host of shady financiers and criminals. In fact it’s quite the opposite, Trump is facing a host of documents and evidence that help validate the Putin’s Puppet narrative.
The intelligence community and private cyber security agencies have consistently, before and after the election, said Russia was attempting to interfere with the US election.
Compounding Trump’s problem is information contained in the trove of legal documents, court cases, news articles and information contained in the Panama Papers that goes back decades. These documents provide compelling support of Trump’s history with shady financiers, Russia, Putin associates and glimpses that link Trump directly to Putin.
Trump and his team’s protests are only making many ordinary Americans look harder at Trump and his colorful life both past and present. This is the area where Trump’s strategy is incredibly successful, in reverse. It is bringing together #NeverTrump Republicans, Democrats, Green Partiers, Libertarians, Independents and ordinary Americans who question Trump’s fitness for office.
Unless Trump does something to address this quickly and effectively, the Putin’s Puppet narrative will dog him for at least the next 4 years. How he addresses Putin’s Puppet is not entirely clear though. Trump can’t destroy the damaging documents. There is not a political opponent, like Clinton, that can be used as a deflector shield. Trump’s unpopularity with the American people will also work against him. Trump denies it but Americans just don’t like him very much or have much confidence in his ability to be President.
In Trump’s favor is his ability, so far, to get companies like Carrier, Ford, Boeing and Sprint to toe his line and the strong economy he is inheriting. The main stream media’s tendency to create positive Trump headlines while glossing over unflattering details also help Trump tremendously. Trump can also count on Americans having notoriously short memories and being fairly forgiving as long as they get a steady dose of good news.
Trump is no dummy though. You can bet his team is acutely aware that no amount of good economic news shielded Obama and the Democrats from a steady drip of bad news and public relations on Obamacare, foreign policy, terrorism and many other issues. This is why Trump finds it is necessary to delegitimize and co-opt the main stream media and vilify any Trump antagonist.
There are signs that it may be too late for Trump’s strategy to succeed. Trump as Putin’s Puppet is a very appealing label. With each new Trump tweet attacking our intelligence community or piece of information tying Trump to Russia, Putin’s Puppet becomes a label that fits Trump just a little bit better and tighter.
And Putin’s Puppet becomes a stronger rallying cry that unites Americans from across the political spectrum against Trump.