The president’s impertinent display of self-confidence during the state of the union address continues to have only one goal: To spur outrage on the left, rally his base and keep the populist anger alive. It’s a political combination that he believes is paving his way to reelection later this year. The way such a strategy is countered by Trump’s opponents shows that many still don’t understand the power he wields. The president remains popular in large swaths of the American public, because irrespective of his personal misconduct, he has delivered on the original promise of his election — namely, heaping abuse on Washington insiders, embracing political chaos, antagonizing political opponents and caring little about norms, expertise and legalities. It’s a populist playbook that few know better than Trump. And it is particularly successful when combined with low trust in the problem-solving capacity of democratic institutions.
For The Hill, Dr. Mathew Burrows, Director of the Atlantic Council’s Foresight, Strategy and Risks Initiative, and Atlantic Council Resident Fellow Julian Mueller-Kaler explain why trying to beat Trump in the race for cheap publicity is most certainly the wrong strategy for winning back the White House in November.