1. President Trump did more than take on Rep. Elijah Cummings today with his tweets about Baltimore and his retweeting of videos showing the garbage and squalor in Cummings' district. He also led the Democrats into a pre-prepared trap, and now he's inside the walls, so to speak, of the Democratic inner-city fortress.

2. The selective provision and withholding of city services has always been a weapon in the hands of corrupt politicians, especially in the largest cities where dependence on city services is at its highest.

At the retail level, politicians can let services slide a bit, then bring in the city workers to ostentatiously fix the problems right before each election, thus looking effective and locking in votes.

3. At the wholesale level, corrupt politicians drive down property values by withholding city services, allowing politically connected investors to buy up the land for cheap. Then, when the time is right, they pull the trigger, clean up and repave the streets, tear down the abandoned buildings, go after the gangs, and pave the way for gentrification and urban renewal with TIF grants and other financial incentives.

4. The dialing up and down of city services is a powerful and jealously guarded tool in the hands of corrupt politicians, and the indignation on the part of Cummings is real. How dare Donald Trump usurp his political power!

5. Elijah Cummings now has two choices. All he has to do is make a call to the mayor, ask that city services go into "election mode", and swarms of garbage trucks will spread out over his district cleaning up all the garbage in those videos. He's loathe to do that though, because if he does, Cummings' constituents will correctly credit President Trump. Trump will have done them a solid, and they just might remember that in November.

6. Cummings' other choice is to defend his power to withhold city services, and basically tell Trump to screw off. This appears to be what he plans to do, but it comes with an bigger cost.

7. Trump has helpfully provided a moment of clarity to Cummings' constituents. If Cummings does nothing, then Trump will have given Cummings' constituents a powerful and bitter lesson. If the President of the United States cannot make Rep. Cummings pay attention to their problems, what chance do they have? What do they have to lose by voting for someone else?

8. But that's not the trap. The trap was laid when Trump said, of the Squad:

"Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how ... it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough."

9. The press deliberately misquoted the President as having told those four representatives to go back to the COUNTRIES they came from, but he never said that. He said the PLACES where they came, and the places where they came from are their respective districts.

10. The misquote on the part of the press was quite deliberate, and the press thought themselves quite clever. The reason for misquoting Trump was to apply their "racist" frame to his tweet. But look what Trump did. He just told another Congressman to go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which HE came.

11. Except that this Congressman isn't an immigrant. He's an inner-city municipal slumlord, and his constituents agree in their hearts with the President. They want their problems fixed. Everyone does.

12. The Democrats immediately fell into the trap. Pelosi couldn't get in front of the microphone fast enough to declare that Trump's tweets were racist. That's a tough pill for inner city rank and file Democrats to swallow. The idea that the President actually legitimately calling out blight, crime and corruption in their communities for real and using his bully pulpit to demand that those problems be fixed, is racist.

13. Trump just dropped a cognitive dissonance bomb on Democrats. For Cummings' constituents to accept the premise that it is racist to fight against their being forced to live in squalor is to give up hope forever. Trump just placed himself between Cummings and his constituents, and the issue he chose is about as far from theoretical as you can get. Actual garbage in the streets and actual rat infestations.

14. The residents of Cummings district now have a choice. They can either side with Cummings and his garbage and rats, or they can begin the process of breaking up with the Democratic party because they want something better. And in case the choice wasn't clear enough to Cummings' constituents, Pelosi and Cummings confirmed that this really is the stark choice when they framed Trump's intervention as racist.

15. Sundance on The Last Refuge has defined what he calls the Trump Doctrine for foreign policy: "A geopolitical strategy based on accurately assigned ownership, economics, leverage and self-interest." This is a great example of Trump applying this doctrine to domestic politics.

16. The opposite approach would be to address the symptoms of the problems. Easily corruptable Federal dollars for blight mitigation, block grants for community improvements. The usual.

17. But instead of doing those things, Trump is calling out the people causing the problems and assigning responsibility for fixing problems to them. It isn't the job of the President to get the garbage cleaned up in Baltimore. It's the job of the local government and local Congressmen to work together to get the job done.

19. The longer this goes on, the more likely people are to notice that Trump never actually told the Squad to leave the country. The more likely they are to notice that what Trump actually said to the Squad was to FIX THE PROBLEMS IN THEIR DISTRICTS, which, of course, is what he meant all along when he used his tweets to accurately assign ownership of inner city problems to the Representatives of those districts.

20. And that's the Democrats' nightmare, because what Trump is doing is a direct attack on the assumed prerogative of city politicians to selectively impoverish and enrich their districts for their own personal and political profit.

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@Johnschulien You know what else is happening here? Trump is giving a huge civics lesson — he’s reminding all of the folks in these districts that their Congressman’s JOB is to REPRESENT THEM — not to endlessly posture on the national stage. That’s the whole point of elected representatives, isn’t it?


It will require Baltimore to explain how they spent any monies they acquired through Federal funding from urban renewal grants. This can be part of the spotlight being directed at them.

What our President and his family has had to endure at the hands of the Democrats for 2.5 yrs.

I hope the bombs drop every single day of the 45 days of summer recess. I hope every corrupt, self-serving member of Congress wakes up with a tight throat and loose bowels.

I hope they spend their vacation in damage control mode and are penning their resignations, preparing to tender if a bargain is on the table.

No mercy. The tentacles of the Kraken will meet the sword.

Great thread John, truly impressive. It will be hilarious to watch our President destroy these long serving Congressman in districts like this as the people actually wake up and decide to try a different course for help.

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