Donald Dossier: The World Series of Trump
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because both Trump and the Washington Nationals know a little something about comebacks.
By Daniel Malloy
It might be politically helpful one day, but nobody likes being booed. You could see President Donald Trump’s face shift from grin to scowl as he was jeered during Game 5 of the World Series in Washington last weekend. On Saturday night, he was booed again at a UFC fight in New York City.
Trump didn’t go to Nationals Park for games 3 or 4, seemingly choosing Sunday to ride the coattails of a successful mission to take out ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The swamp denizens booed him anyway, sparking a predictably dumb internet fight about civility. But baseball is a game played for the long haul. How you handle failure is paramount to success.
The Nationals lost that night but earned the franchise’s first World Series with a stunning comeback on Wednesday — notably the same night viewers nationwide were treated to an ad for Trump’s reelection. The pricey show of financial force more than a year out from Election Day 2020 illustrates a message you’ll hear again and again as the soon-to-be impeached president also tries for a comeback.
For Trump, taking on al-Baghdadi, impeachment-minded Democrats and, yes, the boobirds inside the Beltway is how he can win this thing. You might not love him, but he’s got all the right enemies.
Washington continues to be transfixed by impeachment. On Thursday, the House voted on party lines to set rules around the proceedings. On Friday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said to expect open hearings this month, as closed-door testimony builds a brick-by-brick case that the president and those around him wanted to squeeze assistance out of Ukraine for his reelection, in exchange for security funding and other diplomatic favors.
As polls show the country essentially split 50-50 on impeachment and removal, the same way they are around approval of Trump, the grievance machine is cranking up. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is saying the GOP base in his state is pissed off enough about impeachment that it could help him win reelection on Tuesday, despite his dismal approval ratings.
For Democrats, it’s more complicated. They’re eager for as much damaging information about Trump to come out as possible, but candidates like Pete Buttigieg are saying it’s far better to simply beat Trump at the ballot box.
As ugly as it sometimes looks for Trump, that won’t be easy. The World Series ad showed why: He’s smashing fundraising records to power a reelection campaign that is a sophisticated machine, especially when compared with the operation held together by duct tape in 2016. Trump and the Republican National Committee together raised $125 million in the third quarter of this year; the leading Democrat, Bernie Sanders, took in $25 million. And the Dems will be spending all their money fighting one another well into the spring. Their eventual nominee will be at a substantial disadvantage in terms of money and infrastructure.
Of course, Trump won’t be as disciplined as his troops, but that’s part of the appeal. Every outrage produces an equal and opposite reaction, whether he intends it to or not.
He’s a man who does not suffer indignities well. So while he should shrug it off if several of the victorious Nationals don’t show for the traditional Trump fast-food jamboree at the White House on Monday, when they’re scheduled to be honored, he’ll probably let loose a bitter tweet or seven.
And perhaps his less-than-triumphant visit to the ballpark means Trump just won’t return to potentially unfriendly places. He’s already changed his official residence from New York to Florida, it was revealed Thursday, with Trump saying he had been “treated very badly” by the Empire State — and this was before he was booed at Madison Square Garden.
Both the climate and the politics are more welcoming down south. Trump will save a lot on taxes and maybe get a slight bump in a swing state that looks to be tipping ever more red. For a man with his eye always on the bottom line, it’s a home run.
- Daniel Malloy