We’re all Trumpologists now. Like the Kremlinologists of the Cold War, monitoring the line-ups at missile parades to see who was in or out of the Politburo, we track the president’s Twitter twitches and off-the-cuff quips, then guess which way he’s going to go next.
The Soviets were rational actors, and so was Donald Trump when he responded to the midterms. He called the split Congress a ‘beautiful, bipartisan-type situation’ — beautiful because the situation places Trump at the fulcrum of power, bi-partisan because no legislature will pass without both sides on board.
Trump is the president who spent his first few days in the White House annulling Barack Obama’s executive orders. He knows that his Democratic successor will get out the presidential Sharpie and do the same to any Trump legacies that aren’t secured in Congress. He also knows that if they come, you have to build it, or something vaguely like it. The American public invested in Trump in 2016, and in a Republican Senate last week. Factor out the diversions and fictions, and his response to the midterms was a pitch for posterity:
‘Now we have a much easier path, because the Democrats will come to us with a plan for infrastructure, a plan for health care, a plan for whatever they’re looking at, and we’ll negotiate.’