It’s pretty simple; he is not stupid, he is venal.

Any discussion of what he wants to do for the rest of us is wasted air. He has no interest whatsoever in “the rest of us”. One need only look at his preferred response to people who cross him. They are “disloyal”. Ponder that.

He is a mob boss who stays closer to the boundary of legality than say John Gotti (both of them shared the spotlight in 80s NYC, bringing to mind the great Shakespeare wars of the 19th Century the way they vied to be the headliner on Page Six.)

One of the ways to stay really relevant to other people is to owe them a lot of money. He was good at that.

He completely inhabit the idea that the best part of being rich is to never have to pay your bills.

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The claim President Trump is stupid never washed -- he's had outsized success in at least three largely independent fields (media, real estate development/branding, and politics), and his first- and second-degree relatives have (by inference) high IQ's (e.g., federal judge, MIT professor of physics, etc.).

And to be sure, as you point out, Trump often used the tactic of letting the media's yen to "correct" him drive coverage. Thus, for example, he'd often inflate some statistic the media was ignoring so that they'd offer the correct one, etc. Very effective tactic!

What's more, his move into politics (essentially adopting the Buchanan platform, which is funny since he disparaged Buchanan) had many of the marks of brilliance.

(That said, while he may have the warrior knack of a modern King David slaying the GOP/uniparty Goliath, he lacked the administrative zest of a Solomon to follow it up -- he may be able to, say, draw attention to Spygate, or election improprieties, but hasn't the follow-through nor the personnel selection skills to rectify matters.)

Returning to the main point, my read on Trump is that he has an "executive" personality type -- highly disciplined if not OCD, high energy, high intelligence, but also with a low boredom threshold (ADD-ish). And he has always coded as "blue collar" (or at least, non-prestigious) -- even back in the 80s, he was a "stubby fingered vulgarian" per Graydon Carter. It was thus inevitable that he'd be cast as an idiot by the popular press when he ran as a Republican.

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When I click on the Karan link, it brings me back here. That is an error or I am deeply confused.


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This is great. I live in Trump country, and if you're ever near Buffalo NY, come on out to Strykersville, and I'll buy you a beer and food at the Flip Side where I work, and you can meet (my?) people. In general everyone is a pretty nice person to know. The USA is a pretty dang good place to live, IMHO. People are all in some sense controlled by the media they consume. (And media's first goal is to have you come back tomorrow.) (I've stopped watching the news.)

I think I had TDS for a year of so, but then I realized that Trump was a political, tribal genius. I picked Trump over Desantis 2:1* in Scott A's 2023 perdition post But that's all based on my local knowledge. I really hate the all tribalism, but I'm not sure what to do. Have you read "The Goodness Paradox"? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Goodness_Paradox

It keeps reframing all my thinking. (I'm an old fart, 64y)

*all the media's interest in Desantis, is wishful thinking... at least that's my current model, we'll know more when votes are cast.

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Bolsonaro, former President of Brazil is a "developing country copycat" of Trump. It seems they will be together in a CIPAC in March!

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I take your point, but one side is now defining itself by prejudice towards trans people. That's pretty hard to stomach.

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