Trump’s ‘mindless’ battle with the GOP is actually quite shrewd

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At first glance, Donald Trump’s apparently self-destructive war on the Republican establishment would seem to be driven by pure primal instinct, with no thought or strategy behind it. But I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. In fact, it looks to be the product of true shrewdness.

As part of a fascinating Politico interview with Trump biographers, author Wayne Barrett takes us back to the early ’90s, when Trump’s Atlantic City casinos were tanking and he faced almost a billion dollars in unpaid personal debt. At the time, Trump responded to those setbacks in much the same fashion as he responds to setbacks today: He played the victim card, he accepted none of the fault, and he claimed the system had been rigged against him.

But something else in Barrett’s account also caught my eye. At the time, Trump had borrowed a total of $4 billion from a consortium of more than 70 banks, including the almost $1 billion in personal debt. But instead of seeing that debt as a liability or weakness, Trump used it as a thermonuclear weapon. He warned the banks that if they didn’t play ball and reduce the debt that he owed, he’d walk away from the whole thing and leave them with nothing.

He probably wouldn’t have done taken that step, because doing so would have forced him into personal bankruptcy. But as Trump recounts it in his book “The Art of the Comeback,” his threat worked: “The banks more than capitulated – they enthusiastically agreed to my proposal.” Among other concessions, Trump claimed, the banks forgave much of his personal debt and even gave him another $65 million to keep the casinos afloat.

Alan Pomerantz, a real-estate attorney who negotiated with Trump on behalf of the banks, told CNN that the deal was nowhere near as favorable as Trump claims. However, he also acknowledges that tradeoffs had to be made. “We made the decision that he would be worth more alive to us than dead, dead meaning in bankruptcy. We don’t want him to be in bankruptcy. We want him out in the world selling these assets for us. … We kept him alive to help us.”

If you think about it, that’s exactly the blackmail model that Trump is following now in the political realm, this time with Reince Priebus and the GOP establishment cast in the role of the banks. Trump’s Twitter rants and bluster against Paul Ryan, John McCain and the party structure are intended as a reminder that if they get too outspoken in their criticism or try to separate the GOP’s fate too publicly from his own, Trump has the power to make things much, much worse for them. Already, at least four Republicans who announced over the weekend that they were done with Trump have decided that they were better off returning to the USS Trump-tanic.

It’s easy to see why: In terms of negotiating power, the GOP is in much worse position than Trump’s lenders had been. The banks at least had the threat of personal bankruptcy to use against Trump, but the GOP has no  equivalent. Trump has nothing to lose, which makes him strong, while the GOP still hopes to salvage a House majority and the remnants of a post-election political party. That makes them weak.

So … crude but shrewd. And also effective.

Reader Comments 0

867 comments
Binderlady2016
Binderlady2016

Donald Trump thinks he’s a god and even worse, his supporters agree.The appeal of Drumpfism is its similarity to Christianity, the predominant religion among American conservatives. While Trump himself doesn’t appear to be a sincere Christian for example, he once mispronounced “2 Corinthians” before an audience at Liberty University, a new religious system of sorts has grown around his “cult of personality,” According to Trumps followers Trump is the messiah that America needs to restore our greatness after eight years of a black president who Trump has repeatedly claimed was born in Kenya. Not only is Trump authoritarian and omnipotent, though, he also presents himself as omniscient, or all-knowing and with this they sing his praise.

Peachs
Peachs

The Republican Party didn't get here by random fate. They were the insurance salesman who wanted to stop the meeting for a prayer, who turned into the Republican, because the Democrats allowed equal representation at their convention and you had to set next to a black person who claimed he also loved God ,which offended you. 


You jump the fence and filter into the weak Republican, moderate party and turn it into a temple of money changers, and now you act like this happen by accident.  


Tell you what, leave the Republican Party and joint the Libertarian Party, and pretend you are part of this white uneducated revolution that is the only move you got left. 

gadem
gadem

Jay should stop writing stories, because at this rate he can not keep up with Trump Train Wreck.

honested
honested

Another day.

Another outrageous revelation about the fool at the top of the republiklan ticket.

Another tranche of Electoral Votes for President Clinton.


And now the down ballot is looking really, really good!

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Question to follow.

Just as Donald has an insatiable need for attention, is it possible all these women appearing years after the alleged incidents are experiencing the same need?

They should have taken action at the time.

Why?

Peachs
Peachs

@FIGMO2 Question, if you took the transgressions out of the equation, which you can't, would you vote for this thug?

ByteMe
ByteMe

@FIGMO2 My theory is because Trump point-blank said he never did it.  And now they feel like it's time to stand up for themselves in a way they couldn't when he was pushing them up against a wall.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@FIGMO2  Have you ever spent any time around a beauty pageant contestants?  The need for attention is at the top of the list for most.

gadem
gadem

@FIGMO2 same with Bill Cosby. He has been accused/sued prior, but usually victims come out because they feel stronger/safer to do so.

Peachs
Peachs

@ByteMe @FIGMO2 and he has threaten to use this as a campaign issue, along with jailing Hillary, and thinks he gets a pardon for his life of obvious lies and low bars of morality. He is a natural born leader to thugs! 

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

@FIGMO2

Because they knew that he would do to them what he does to everyone who crosses him - work to destroy them.

Peachs
Peachs

@FIGMO2 @ByteMe it may not be for you, but if not I suggest you do some soul searching to see who you really are. 

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@FIGMO2 

It's possible, I suppose, but if that were true, they likely would have mentioned it before now.

Peachs
Peachs

@DownInAlbany @FIGMO2 and why is a presidential candidate walking in a dressing room with naked teenage girls or even involved. 

Binderlady2016
Binderlady2016

Not all sexual assault survivors find it necessary to report the assault to the criminal justice system in order to move forward from their experience. In fact, some feel that the criminal justice system re-victimizes them in its process. Just look at your 1970's comments.

honested
honested

@Peachs @ByteMe @FIGMO2 

And of course, he is using the method he has used for decades to keep things quiet, "threaten to sue".

Peachs
Peachs

@gadem @Peachs @DownInAlbany @FIGMO2 I had a college room mate, who wanted to work for the FBI. He like pornography, but didn't want his name on some list, so he order the junk in my name and his PO box, without me knowing. When I graduated they forwarded my mail and one day I see my dear mother stopped at the mail box, studying my mail...

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Peachs @FIGMO2 @ByteMe

I'm a woman who dealt with it at the time it was attempted or shortly thereafter. Once legally and the other times without legal action.

I am a woman who forewarned them it was NOT going to happen with threats of legal action.

I am a woman who forewarned other women to avoid being in an elevator or a room alone with certain men.

Many of the women took my advice while others not only welcomed the attention but went out of their way to draw the mens' attention.

Binderlady2016
Binderlady2016

@Peachs @DownInAlbany @gadem  Peachs, Down is only here just to troll Jay's blogs and jump on any comments that we make regarding Donald Trump. Trump can never do any wrong in their eyes.

Peachs
Peachs

@FIGMO2 @Peachs @ByteMe I have no dealt in this confusing world that gold digging women exist, but for us pretending that is the path to respectability which old rich fat guys would love you to believe is comical if not so stupid it makes me sick. 

Peachs
Peachs

@Binderlady2016 @Peachs @FIGMO2 @ByteMe I go to the 21 Club in NY on business, and it is common to see really old men with very young women.  They make you face each other in a table arrangement and it is almost modern art looking at the decadence. 

Binderlady2016
Binderlady2016

@Peachs @DownInAlbany @FIGMO2  He thinks that he can do this because he told Howard Stern he owns the pageant and that he's done it before.  How can he keep denying everything when we heard him on tape and so did many of his followers.

Peachs
Peachs

@Binderlady2016 @Peachs @DownInAlbany @FIGMO2 worse why do guys like Downs buy his stories yet can't believe the results of impeachment, congressional hearing, FBI investigation, but if FOX brands you, you are branded for life. 

honested
honested

@FIGMO2 

I've wondered that often about many people, like for instance, that brodderick woman.

Peachs
Peachs

@honested @FIGMO2 a lot like the Catholic Church stuff, it must be very hard to direct reality against the mob's fury. 

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

There's an awful lot of you proggies spiking the football this morning!  By the looks of some of them, it's the first time you've ever made it to the end zone.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@gadem @DownInAlbany  Sure, I see it.  I don't roll around in glee about, either, though.  The problem I see with you is you are seemingly everything that you claim to disdain.

Peachs
Peachs

@DownInAlbany And Downs he is mixing God in the flames too.  Disguised as a religious candidate, and even still carries the evangelistic endorsement of many.  Like a drunk at closing time, and he actually goes home with somebody..

gadem
gadem

@DownInAlbany no spiking of the football, because we have a lot of healing to do in our country. There are no winners here. Divisive politics makes us all losers.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@gadem And it ain't over yet.  Trump can still do more damage to our country before this ends.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

Burn baby burn. Donald is burning the GOP down. Smoldering embers will be all that is left. Could not happen to a more deserving people. I suppose you developed an allergy to divisive politics in the last 15 minutes or so?

gadem
gadem

@DownInAlbany nope, do you not agree that is what Donald is doing? He is in it for self and self only. The GOP hitched its wagon to a demagogue. He invited in racists. Forced the Evangelicals to support him. He knew what he was doing, and the GOP leadership allowed it to happen. Had many chances to get rid of him, but bowed under pressure.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

@DownInAlbany

Nonsense.  Pretty much every liberal here has expressed the opinion that we need a strong, but sane, conservative party.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@CherokeeCounty @DownInAlbany  Pay attention.  The first part of my post is a direct quote from your buddy, gadem.  The guy that liked your comment but doesnt' have the fortitude to say, hey I said that...typical.

TBS
TBS

Few weeks ago someone posted a poll (LA Times) that was mentioned in a certain rw site

Poll had Trump up by six or so

Give you one guess who posted that poll

One guess the site that was posted.If you know who posted it then you know the site

I think the accompanying comment was something like up up up or how high will it go

Yes YOU and breitbart were ball spiking ta little early

Time to take some of your own medicine

Enjoy

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@TBS  I think you are badly mistaken, but, IF you have evidence to the contrary, now would be a good time to state your case, I suppose.

TBS
TBS

I'm pretty sure it was you

I will attempt to locate the comment

My apologies if it was not you but ....

Peachs
Peachs

@DownInAlbany @CherokeeCounty the Republican Party is Trump, it was Palin, you fruitcakes need to reset your party, and own your misdirected destructive mess and get it fixed before you take us all down.