President Trump sees our society like a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG). Set aside the fact that Trump probably has no idea what an MMO is (even though I hear Barron Trump is so good with Minecraft). That doesn’t matter, because MMORPGs are designed to be like the real world. Every move made and situation encountered affect the character for the rest of its life.
When players enter an MMO they have a lot of freedom to decide how they want to play, and are invited to create a character. All characters are created equal. They are endowed by their programmer with certain inalienable rights, that among these are the right to spawn, explore, and collect resources.
Of course, not all characters have the same skill sets. Some characters might be better suited for one task or another because of skills the player chose when creating them, or developed through gameplay. Some characters might even be able to skip ahead and develop faster than others because they have enough credits to buy advanced equipment or training programs thanks to an abundance of wealth, but all have the opportunity to keep grinding or completing advanced tasks to level up.
Look at the ways Trump has built his business brand around his personal identity. He made big moves whenever he could. He broke into the New York real estate market and unlocked the Trump Tower achievement thanks to a combination of family money, diligent deal-making, and unabashed moxie. He furthered his brand recognition and embedded his name in New York politics by taking over the Wollman Rink renovation in 1986. He got into Atlantic City gambling when it was profitable, and made sure to set up the casinos so that when they failed he wouldn’t risk much in financial assets.
Trump Wasn’t Interested in Chess
This could have been a good time for Trump the player to just focus on high-level missions that would advance his character in a carefully controlled way. If Trump were playing his life as if it were a game of chess (be it traditional or four-dimensional), this would be a prudent course. Protect your assets, don’t sacrifice pawns unless you have to, think ahead, and move carefully. But it should be obvious that Trump wasn’t interested in the “prudent” course.
In fact, Trump wasn’t interested in playing chess at all. Trump wanted to keep playing the game his way, like an MMO, and move up to higher realms. From his base in New York City, Trump started grinding. He appeared in cameos for any TV show or movie that would take him, helping chronically lost Kevin McCallister find the lobby of the Plaza Hotel in “Home Alone 2.”
He became a hero/villain in the World Wrestling Entertainment soap opera as a foil to owner Vince McMahon. He made regular appearances on Howard Stern’s radio show to display his peacock persona and engage in “locker-room talk.” He eventually built up his character enough to become host of “The Apprentice,” where he was presented to the world as the avatar of elite corporate wealth and meritocracy for more than a decade.
Grinding is hard work, which is exactly why most players don’t want to do it (or hire Chinese gold farmers to collect resources and do the power leveling for them). But in life, when your name is your brand, you can’t farm out the dirty work. The path Trump took in character development gave him a very particular skill set that he has effectively used to his advantage. He is able to engage the media and attract attention at will and has developed instinctual abilities to mitigate the damage of any head-on attacks that come his way.
How Trump’s Character Development Paid Off
Trump’s choices in character development have paid off. When Trump decided he wanted the ultimate respect, to be regarded by the world as a national deal-maker, he decided to enter politics. The first step was to choose a guild. The Republican guild had many skilled players, but they had a key weakness for head-on attacks. Low-level guild members were angry at the guild leaders, because every time they sent someone up to the National Arena, it seemed like the mob from the Democrat Guild tore them apart in a resounding defeat.
Trump, on the other hand, is a tank. A tank is player who is heavily armored or otherwise impervious to enemy attacks. As a tank, he goes out and taunts the enemy. Trump has drawn the attention of the media, elites, and progressive grassroots so they direct all their aggro on him. While a tank keeps the enemy busy and distracted, the less-armored skilled players can get into position to work for the glory of the guild.
People are upset about this because the highest office-holders aren’t supposed to be engaged in overt warfare, let alone act as the tank. Party leaders, particularly presidents, are supposed to be above such things and instead offer an official position of unification. The culture war is supposed to be fought in the trenches by disposable characters.
Normally, right-leaning provocateurs would serve as tanks for small raiding parties that are not officially endorsed by the Republican leadership. They engage in “dirty fighting” border skirmishes with progressives. On the other side, you see progressives were offended by the owners of Memories Pizza, who when asked a hypothetical question about a service they do not offer said they wouldn’t feel comfortable catering a gay wedding. In response, the Left sent a zerg rush of anonymous Internet trolls to wage an online war and call in death threats to the business owners.
While things like the Memories Pizza incident happened, Democrat leaders were careful to stay out of the way. Only occasionally would they engage in a little gloating after the fact, like when President Obama made a dig about what he assumed Memories Pizza’s policies might be during the 2015 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Sure, Obama had not overseen, planned, or even overtly encouraged the action. But that made little difference to people on the Right who felt that they were under personal attack, and thus became willing to dispense with their values of public chivalry. They don’t care if Trump only delivers on 10 percent of what he has promised, they just want to see their enemies punished and leftward progress stopped.
Trump Takes the Hits, His Team Advances
Let’s look again at the aggro Trump has drawn in the past month. One of the first actions of his administration was to engage the media in an argument about the crowd size at his inauguration. Yes, this was an asinine argument, but I don’t think it represented any expenditure of political capital. While the media and the grumpy dwarf who serves as guild press secretary bantered back and forth about crowd sizes, it took valuable air time and headline space away from the progressive “Women’s Marches” around the country and other policy issues.
Another key action Trump took just a week after his inauguration was to suspend admission of foreign nationals from seven countries the Obama administration listed as threats to American security. The reaction from the Democrat Guild was apoplectic, with massive protests and aggro directed his way. But again, while Trump absorbed these blows his skilled players were getting into position. With the Left busy mis-characterizing the policy as a Muslim ban and protesting on the streets and at airports, look at what happened for Republicans.
The Senate just confirmed Trump’s pick for Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt. Betsy DeVos, a school-choice advocate with no education administration experience, was confirmed as secretary of Education. Rick Perry, who was laughed out of the Republican primary four years ago for not being able to remember the name of the Department of Energy as a cabinet-level department he’d like to eliminate, is going to become its new head. Former Sen. Jeff Sessions is now the attorney general. And the new secretary of State just got done running the world’s largest oil company.
Democrats consider all of these individuals unacceptable for cabinet positions. None of their confirmations would have been possible without a tank clearing the way for them.
Trump doesn’t need to play 4D chess or think 15 moves ahead to win his game. We see how well thinking three moves ahead helped George W. Bush’s plans for democracy in the Middle East once we overthrew Saddam Hussein and helped Iraq to their feet. Heck, even Hillary Clinton is probably regretting the fireworks display she bought for election night and never used. If you want to make God laugh, they say, tell him your plans — especially if they involve multiple steps.
As always, the only question left to ask is if it will work. Trump could go down as one of the most innovative politicians of our time, serving as a turning point in American politics when the rural working class finally migrated to the Republican Party. Or he may lead the Republican Guild to a defeat more epic than the time Leeroy Jenkins stirred up all the monsters in Blackrock Mountain to slaughter his entire party. Only time will tell.