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    Friday, August 25, 2017

    The Increasing Isolation Of Donald Trump

    I'm back from a brief hiatus in which lots happened. Steve Bannon got canned while Trump went all in on white nationalism and adopted his version of the Clinton triangulation strategy, which amounts to distancing himself from Republicans in Congress while refusing to even talk with Democrats. It's hard to see how all of this accomplishes anything more than leaving Trump even weaker and further isolated than he already is now.

    On the flip side, as Trump's approval sinks even further, Congressional Republicans seem even more determined to move on without him. And Republicans vulnerable in the 2018 election, such as Jeff Flake and Leonard Lance, are starting to distance themselves from Trump as much as they can. (By the way, has anyone tried to pin down Flake on where he stands on the possible pardon of Sheriff Arpaio?) That trend will only increase as next year's election draws closer.

    With regard to Bannon, I guess I always thought that he was the one pushing Trump on the racist white nationalism. It now seems more likely that Bannon's position reinforced what Trump already believed and was thinking. But pushing Bannon out and aggravating the Mercers poses real risks for Trump and, again, further isolates him from another part of his base that had significant resources to support him.

    To a lesser extent, the news that Kelly is trying to control the flow of information to the President will also make him even more reliant on that coterie of "friends" that Trump is in constant contact with by phone. And it will also make it more likely that Trump will do more and more rallies in order to break the isolation that he feels closing in on him in the White House.

    I would also venture that Jared Kushner is taking his lawyers' advice pretty seriously as the investigation into Kushner's actions during and after the campaign as well as the various transactions of the Kushner Cos. become more and more intense. This makes every conversation Jared has with the President a minefield with potential obstruction of justice charges all around. That's not the kind of environment that leads to frank and open exchanges.

    On all fronts, Trump is coming more and more isolated and, in his usual way, he simply lashes out. That just continues the cycle all over again as more people in his circle find it prudent to keep their distance. Trump is already dangerous enough as is, but an isolated and angry Trump is particularly scary.

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