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In his lifetime Donald J. Trump has worn many hats, but his primary philosophy of life is derived from the realm of business. Above all the president of the United States is a world-class wheeler-dealer. He self-describes as one who “negotiates.” And he does his best negotiating by using a simple mathematical principle developed in the 3rd century by Archimedes. It is called leverage. Leverage is a practical and not very complicated concept but one that seems to be entirely missing from the leftist mindset and lexicon.
Figurately speaking, leverage is the “power or ability to act or to influence people, events or decisions.” But its literal meaning stems from a simple machine – in this case, a “rigid bar that pivots” on one point to cause another object to be moved by force. We use levers all time in the form of scissors, nutcrackers or pliers. When you sat on the see-saw in the playground at school, you were using a lever. This simple machine which has been used for centuries has three main parts: the fulcrum, effort, and resistance.
Donald Trump is the Fulcrum
A lever does not work unless you have a fulcrum — also known as a pivot point. While this fulcrum can be moved to almost any location under the rigid bar, a lever will not work without this pivot point. Trump knows this instinctively and uses it all the time. He is using this leverage in the form of tariffs right now to force other countries to negotiate trade deals that are more advantageous for the U.S.
As one of our commenters on Liberty Nation recently pointed out, “In today’s economy the U.S. is the only country participating in free trade, all others take advantage of that.” Tariffs are a means to an end, and that means trade wars in the short term, to negotiate trade deals down the road when the countries that have cheated feel the pinch honesty brings.
Trump also used this idea of leverage to bring Kim Jong Un to the table:
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018
The president used the power and military strength of our country as leverage to get what he wanted. Thus, he was able to accomplish what no other Commander-in-Chief was able to, merely by forcing Kim to see the reality of the situation. “My button is bigger than yours,” was the lever that moved Kim to exactly where Trump wanted him.
This is why President Trump is often viewed as the chess player while others are playing checkers. In using the lever, he is able to influence people into doing what he wants through applied force.
Not Rocket Science
Again, this is a simple mechanism that is very useful in moving people or objects into making a more favorable decision or at the very least bringing them to the point of negotiation: and once President Trump has them in a room to negotiate he is in a very advantageous position due to his decades of deal-making. That is, he has utter confidence in his ability to win once at the table, so the lever is only necessary to get these folks to the place where they are willing to sit down and negotiate.
Another classic case in point is The Wall. At a rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania this weekend Mr. Trump spoke of using applied leverage with Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto. While discussing the sticky point of who will pay for The Wall, Nieto insisted that Trump categorically back off his statement that Mexico would foot the bill. Trump then told Nieto absolutely not – he would not walk back that statement. Period. But then he used leverage (and a little guile) by telling Nieto not to worry – that the cost of The Wall will be buried so deep in their NAFTA negotiations that you’d have to look down into the footnotes to find out who was actually funding it. Thus, the Mexican president saves face with his countrymen, and Trump only has to find a way for Mexico to pay the piper in a subtle, less public way.
Why This is Lost on the Left
Those on the left are unable to understand the art of leverage because they have cornered themselves into an all or nothing mindset. They see tweets like the one Trump used on the North Korean leader as nothing more than dangerous bluster. They see tariffs as raising the price of BMW’s rather than a methodology to bring other countries to the table to even out the trade market. And unless they see an invoice stamped with “Paid in Full by Mexico” they will never believe Mexico paid the tab for The Wall.
This leftist way of thinking is a rather shallow and one-dimensional mindset that does not yield results. It lacks nuance by taking everything literally in mindless micro-pictures that have little meaning. Sure, it provides plenty of “heat” for the chattering class on the tube, but it provides no real “light” for the American public.
“Resist and impeach” is not a method by which anything can be accomplished. It provides no tangible ideas with which to negotiate. This is precisely why the president does one of two things with the left: he either ignores them or backs them into an untenable corner where they are forced to say and do ludicrous things.
He backed the left up against the wall with his DACA proposal to the point where Dreamers started to heckle people like Nancy Pelosi. And he forced her into a corner on Tax legislation to the point where she felt the need to impudently call a thousand dollars “crumbs.”
So-called progressives need to take a science lesson from our president and begin to understand concepts such as leverage. Otherwise, they will be doomed to looking as unwise and foolish as they sound so long as he inhabits the Oval Office.
A widely published columnist, Leesa previously worked in the broadcast news industry as a television news anchor, reporter, and producer at NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates in Charlotte, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC.She is the author of "Free At Last: A Life-Changing Journey through the Gospel of Luke."