Okay, I know I promised bunch of reasons why Trump can’t be president, and that will eventually happen, but first I want to address what appears to be the first problem of the Trump Administration:

Trump doesn’t know how political capital works.

In case you readers don’t, if it’s something you’ve barely heard mentioned, you might think ‘Well, good. That’s a stupid political thing, and Trump isn’t a politician.’

So let me explain what political capital is. It’s a concept that translates to, roughly, ‘how much change can the president make without getting the population angry at him’. This is metaphorical and somewhat vague currency, but it does have a real effect.

To explain some of this, there is a fun game called Democracy 3 (And presumably the previous version, but I do not know) where political capital actually is a currency. Each month, depending on your popularity, you accrue more political capital, and you can spend it. The more unpopular the decision, the more capital it takes. Whereas decisions everyone likes take almost trivial amounts. But that is merely a gameplay mechanic.

In real world, instead of Democracy 3, things works a bit differently. First, political capital is not something that magically shows up generated from popularity. It is, in a sense, *popularity itself*. Spending it (by doing non-popular things) costs popularity itself.

But still, who cares, right? Politicians can do things even when they are very unpopular, you think. At least, as long as they don’t care if they’re re-elected. Right?

No.

Because politics is not just a single actor. Politics has other actors in it. And it’s not just re-election for them. It’s a whole host of other concerns, including party loyalty, personal opinion among their peers, etc. But that’s the non-provable end. It all gets very vague when trying to look at, exactly, why politicians get support for certain positions.

Instead, let’s just just look at the basic laws of physics that explain this: The more popular a politician is, the more popular any policy they attempt to put forward will be. The more popular both the politician and the policy are, the more needed support they can get to clear the rest of the political system.

With me so far? Seriously, pause and make sure you understand this concept.


Okay, that was the general background explanation of political capital. Let’s talk about how it’s gone off the rails right now:

When a president is first elected, they generally immediately pivot. They spend two months trying to play nice.

The media likes to talk about the president honeymoon, and how the president’s first 100 days are important, and how a lot can get done, but more of the time they don’t make the connection: The reason the president can get a lot done in the first 100 days is that he is extremely popular (As he has spent two months becoming popular) and has a lot of political capital to spend.

Trump, obviously, hasn’t done this. In fact, I will argue that he is incapable of doing this in a later post. But right now, let’s just stick with ‘totally failed to play nice’.

This means he’s entering office with record-low popularity. And thus with record-low political capital.

This is because Trump literally does not understand he needs political capital.


Other people, interestingly, do. In fact, it’s causing a bit of panic right now.

You can, if you look around, find a lot of articles online about how people need to ‘give Trump a chance’.

What those people are saying (Even if they don’t realize it) is that Trump should be given the same amount of political capital that president normally are given. They (unlike Trump) realize that without Trump having popularity, he cannot get anything done.

When it’s framed like that, the request to ‘give him a chance’ ends up looking a little silly. We don’t need to give Trump permission to do anything, he already can do it. What they are really asking is for people to…like Trump more than they do. So it’s a request asking us to like a third party who is not, in any way, nice to us, and has done a lot of stuff we probably don’t approve of.

This is a weird request. I’m not sure that asking people to ‘like that jerk over there a little bit more’ has ever worked. A sympathy ploy, or a hardship claim, or ‘he’s really trying to be nice’, maybe, but…none of those things apply to Trump.

And Trump, of course, has not asked for people to like him, at least not in any serious way that would include apologizing for the behavior that made people dislike him in the first place. This is, of course, because Trump is blithely unconcerned with his political capital. It seems entirely likely he will continue to burn his without even realizing it, and his popularity will only continue to drop.

I will address why he’s unconcerned later. For now, I will merely state it’s not some clever political ploy. He simply doesn’t understand how it works.

This is not going to end well for Trump. It puts him in an extremely weak position, and Trump has all sorts of actual problems that currently exist. Not just hypothetical scandals in the future, but things that Congress could make an issue over right now.

It is theoretically possible that Trump will eventually figure this out and make some sort of actual effort to fix this, but a) I’m not sure the problem will be fixable at that point, I suspect it’s not even fixable now, and b) it will be well after his lack-of-honeymoon and him burning all his political capital early, so he might be so low it doesn’t matter, and c) no, no he won’t. Trump has a personality disorder, a topci I will get into at a later date.

I am not sure on what grounds Trump will be impeached, but the actual reason he will be impeached is that he is completely unconcerned with having anyone like him.

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